In a middle school English class I saw a quote by Mary Oliver that read “I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world”. This idea changed my outlook and, unknowingly, it made social innovation an integral aspect of my life.
Social innovation, in my eyes, is the ability to create meaningful changes that are better than existing solutions. In general, this tends to be tied to entrepreneurial efforts that prioritize a certain community. Social innovation typically has a multitude of definitions though, which leads to different actions with varying goals. Undoubtedly, social innovation requires the collaboration of the government, citizens, and nonprofits and is thus the most rewarding yet challenging form of innovation. The required coercion of three parties with differing intentions and viewpoints constantly blockades meaningful change. This large flaw, in my eyes, results from the inability to develop pragmatic, implementable solutions.
Social innovation, even with its challenges, allows for endless possibilities for impact. It can restore communities, give power to the powerless, and help bring about a more ideal world. Right now, I see social innovation as the main path forward to normalcy. Following the pandemic, stories of hurt are going to be pervasive. To heal, social innovation will be relied upon to help bring about more equity than we have been used to in a long time.
Ultimately, social innovation is a convoluted term, but to me, it involves using creativity to fix systemic problems. It is the best path to leaving the world better than you found it.