We are living in the era of innovation, where more and more people are realizing their potential to be an innovator. The best part about being alive in these times is the way we are witnessing the expanding and evolving definition of innovation. It is a term no longer limited to the area of science or technology. It has become a term with boarder meaning and an even broader application. The concept and idea of social innovation is a testimony to this truth.
Social innovation involves creating or introducing an idea or concept that is bound to have a positive impact on the society. It is usually an initiative that ultimately raises the standard of living not just for an individual but for a certain community or the whole world. These are the ideas conceived and implemented by people concerned about the greater good.
Despite being a derivative term, social innovation itself has a broad definition and application. From an app that allows self-learning to homes with zero carbon emission, to the app you use to keep track of your daily tasks, all such projects come under the definition of social innovation. However, the most appropriate definition of social innovation is ideas that enhance society’s capability to improve or to empower it to resolve its problems.
In one form or another, social innovation has remained a strong force in changing societies for centuries. No matter which definition you go by, even industrialization is a huge example of social innovation. However, innovation today doesn’t occur on a scale as big as revolutions, reforms, and movements. Yet, it has the capability of spreading on a much faster pace. One thing that has remained the same, however, is the process of how it happens.
Social innovations are always sparked when a person or a group of person realize the need for a change. There is always a need that remains unmet just because nothing has been done about it, or there could be a need that is met but the current solution is not efficient or sustainable enough. For instance, if the current education system is able to educate 10 children, there can be a way to educate 30 within the same time and resources.
Education, healthcare, fair trade, and sustainable housing are just some of the areas where social innovation is making its mark. Since it takes deep understanding of the problem and the shortcomings of existing solution to come up with an effective alternate, there is a dire need to empower people living in societies that need innovation and enable them to be social innovators.