Archive for the ‘Social innovation’ Category
A couple of days ago, the European Commission chose the ten finalists of the second Social Innovation Competition, a contest launched last year in memory of Portuguese computer scientist and politician Diogo Vasconcelos. The contest was set up to encourage and reward social innovations that have a real impact on helping unemployed people get jobs or create new opportunities for work across the Union. The ten project were selected among over 1,200 proposals. Though not strictly “technological”, most of these projects have some tech in them, mainly in the use of the Internet as a social interaction platform, and, in some cases, in the development of innovative recycling processes to produce new stuff from waste. See below a quick summary of the proposals.
The Internet and Social Media change our way of decision-making. We are no longer the independent decision makers we used to be. Instead, we have become networked minds, social decision-makers, more than ever before. This has several fundamental implications. First of all, our economic theories must change, and second, our economic institutions must be adapted to support the social decision-maker, the “homo socialis“, rather than tailored to the perfect egoist, known as “homo economicus“.
The financial, economic and public debt crisis has seriously damaged our trust in mainstream economic theory. Can it really offer an adequate description of economic reality? Laboratory experiments keep questioning one of the main pillars of economic theory, the “homo economicus“. They show that the perfectly self-regarding decision-maker is not the rule, but rather the exception. And they show that markets, as they are organized today, are undermining ethical behavior.
A swarm organization is a decentralized, collaborative effort of volunteers that looks like a hierarchical, traditional organization from the outside. It is built by a small core of people that construct a scaffolding of go-to people, enabling a large number of volunteers to cooperate on a common goal in quantities of people not possible before the net was available.
Working with a swarm requires you to do a lot of things completely opposite from what you learn at an archetypal business school. You need to release the control of your brand and its messages. You need to delegate authority to the point where anybody can make almost any decision for the entire organization. You need to accept and embrace that people in the organization will do exactly as they please, and the only way to lead is to inspire them to want to go where you want the organization as a whole to go.
It is only as you release that control, the kind of control that organizations and managers have held close to heart for centuries, that you can reap the benefits of the swarm: the same cost-efficiency advantage and execution-speed advantage against the competition that the Swedish Pirate Party enjoyed. This book will teach you those methods, from the initial forming of the swarm to its growth and ongoing maintenance and delivery. It will not teach you the underlying theory of psychology and sociology — merely share experiences and methods that have been proven to work in practice.
The Solution Revolution: How Business, Government, and Social Enterprises Are Teaming Up to Solve Society’s Toughest Problems
We’re at a critical juncture in our global economy, with the siloed ways of the past (public vs. private) quickly fading. Instead, we are witnessing a step change in how society deals with its own problems, in which government acts as just one player among many, and entrepreneurship and innovation range freely across all sectors. Deloitte’s William Eggers and Paul Macmillan illustrate this new operating model in the forthcoming book, The Solution Revolution.
The authors show that over the past decade, a variety of new and important players have entered the societal problem solving arena, operating within what they call a “Solution Economy.” These innovators are closing the widening gap between what governments provide and what citizens need, an approach that promises better results, lower costs, and the best hope we have for public innovation in an era of fiscal constraints and unmet needs.
We’re still in the early stages of the solution economy’s development, but Eggers and Macmillan compellingly lay out the contours of the phenomenon, as well as its primary features, dynamics, and players. They provide advice to business, government, and the social sector on what they can do to strengthen and spread the larger revolution, both locally and globally. The Solution Revolution provides a fascinating preview of our economic future, a system where choice, sustainability, and more adaptive ecosystems offer all of us the ability to collaborate towards better solutions.
In complex systems there is a lot to pay attention to. Mindfulness and contemplative inquiry built into the organization can be a way to deal with complexity and help detect the weak signals that will make it thrive and be resilient in the face of challenges.
Creating an organizational culture where open sharing, questioning, experimentation, and attention to the adjacent possibles that come from the data and experiences from operations is the foundation for a mindful organization. This means slowing down, valuing non-doing instead of the constant push to action, cultivating contemplative inquiry and reflection, while also being clear about the directions that matter. Thus, strategy in this case is not divorced from mindfulness, rather it gently frames a directionality of effort. In doing so, it creates possibilities for innovation, attention to quality, and a mechanism for building resiliency within organizations and those working with them and within them. In creating these mindful systems we move closer to making sense of complexity and better prepare ourselves for social innovation.
For Deleuze, social innovation takes place through windows of opportunity for social creativity (ie. along lines of flight) which emerge as challenges to institutional legitimacy. Innovation often emerges from conflict. Opportunity spaces often are at micro-levels which make possible creative strategies at macro-levels.
The aim is …to find the conditions under which something new is produced … how are the production and appearance of something new possible. The new … calls forth forces in thought that are not the forces of recognition, today or tomorrow, but the powers of a completely other model, from an unrecognised and unrecognisable terra incognita.
What might forces of social innovation look like? Forces would include discourse, materialities, power, subjectivations, codings/territorialisations, ie. a robust theoretical combination of Deleuzean axes and Foucauldian dispositif.
The Centre for Social Innovation provides its members with the spaces, relationships and knowledge they need to translate ideas to impact. We’re part coworking space, part community center and part incubator for people and organizations that are changing the world. More importantly, the Centre for Social Innovation is a place of possibility. We know that society is facing complex economic, environmental, social and cultural challenges. We also know that new innovations are the key to turning these challenges into opportunities to improve our lives, our communities and our planet. All around the world, people are striving to prove that another way forward is possible. They know—as we do—that it’s up to us to create the world we want to live in. We’re inviting New York City’s social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, creatives and innovators to help us build CSI Starrett-Lehigh into a nexus of innovation and transformation. Together, we’ll catalyze new ideas for a better world.
Presentation by Professor Frances Westley during the 2011 Nobel Laureate Symposium in Stockholm.
Designers have traditionally focused on enhancing the look and functionality of products. Recently, they have begun using design techniques to tackle more complex problems, such as finding ways to provide low-cost healthcare throughout the world. Businesses were the first to embrace this new approach—called design thinking—and nonprofits are beginning to adopt it too.
One of the biggest impediments to adopting design thinking is simply fear of failure. The notion that there is nothing wrong with experimentation or failure, as long as they happen early and act as a source of learning, can be difficult to accept. But a vibrant design thinking culture will encourage prototyping—quick, cheap, and dirty—as part of the creative process and not just as a way of validating finished ideas.
This report points out that there are structuralistic as well as subjective conceptions of self-organisation. The first stress the self-reproduction of social structures, the second aspects of participation, direct democracy, co-operation, respect, solidarity, responsibility and tolerance. Arguments in favour of a dialectical conception of social self-organisation that both incorporates systemic and subjective aspects are put forward. Social systems theory is mainly focused on functionalist aspects and stands in the tradition of Niklas Luhmann. This tradition lacks aspects of the role of human actors and cannot consistently explain the relationship of social structures and actors. The report shows that social systems theory should be grounded in conceiving the relationship of system and subject dialectically as has been done in some works of modern sociology like the ones of Pierre Bourdieu and Anthony Giddens.