Towards a practical process of social innovation

February 18, 2016

The aim of this paper is to contribute to a coherent understanding within public policy of social innovation, social enterprise and social entrepreneurship.  These are terms that are used regularly but are contested, in that, there is no single agreed definition of their meanings.  However, this is not such a major issue for policy as there is only a requirement to understand how these mechanisms can be used.  A key message is to focus on the key social issues and challenges being addressed, not on the mechanism being used to address them.  Social innovation and social enterprise are not an end in themselves, they are a means to an end.  It is easy to be distracted by the technical terms and new phenomenon but they are mechanisms to be used to achieve a goal; in this case addressing the social challenge identified.

The paper goes on to outline a practical process for social innovation.  It recognises the integration of the innovation process and mainstreaming/commercialisation process.  It outlines the practical steps that can be taken at the community level to develop new solutions.   There is a need for greater social innovation infrastructure to facilitate the development of this sector.  The development of social innovation hubs and philanthropic trusts based in the community, not just in third-level institutions, is needed.

To download the full paper please click here



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