Social innovation is the process of creatively and specifically addressing social issues and developing and implementing solutions to improve society. I believe that social innovation relies on an in-depth understanding of the challenges presented, coupled with empathy and a desire to improve the world around us, not just for the issue or group at hand, but for society as a whole. While businesses create things to improve lives, social innovation is driven by a genuine passion to improve lives for the sake of improving lives and bettering our society. In many ways, I see social innovation as a way to align funds with personal values with the ultimate goal of creating new approaches to solve problems and strengthen society.
Social innovation can happen in many ways, large and small, and can happen anywhere. At its core, social innovation addresses some of society’s most important and complex problems. On a small scale, I engaged in social innovation throughout my life through small initiatives with school clubs and organizations in my local community, seeing impacts first hand and in some instances immediately. I have also engaged with groups looking to make more wide-scale change. On a larger scale, social innovation relies on the collaboration of individuals, nonprofits, and the government. It’s citizens and systems coming together to passionately and creatively create mission driven solutions to some of our world’s most complex challenges and issues.
Though there are many ways to define social innovation, and my own definition and how I engage with it has changed throughout my life, to me social innovation is a way to leave each community I engage with a little better than I found it, and that is why social innovation is so important to me.