Social Innovation and Social Responsibility

Social innovation is a new point of view that, according to Huddart (2010), may be used for [solving] complex problems. Social innovation does not just mean new ideas, but new ways of seeing, thinking, and working, which reframes a problem and realigns resources to address the problem more effectively. Social innovation is not only a role and exercise for only one sector, social innovation can and must come from all sectors, so business organizations also have a role, interest and responsibility to it.

Social innovations are new ideas, institutions, or ways of working that meet social needs more effectively than existing approaches. Our days, across the world, millions of people are creating better ways to answer the most challenging social problems, [such as] climate change, chronic disease, social exclusion, and material poverty for example (Social Innovation Europe, 2012). Win-win situations can be recognized already because social innovation is a business and societal opportunity. The most important sectors for growth in the next decades are linked to the development of human and social capital which can be already proved because in most countries today health already represents a large share of GDP and the social economy.

Another important note, according to The Open Book of Social Innovation (2010), is that systemic change is the ultimate goal in the process of social innovation. This step usually involves the interaction of many elements and generally involves new frameworks or architectures made up of many smaller innovations. Social innovations commonly come up against the barriers and hostility of an old order. Pioneers may sidestep these barriers, but the extent to which they can grow will often depend on the creation of new conditions to make the innovations economically viable. These conditions include new technologies, supply chains, institutional forms, skills, and regulatory and fiscal frameworks. Systemic innovation commonly involves changes in the public sector, private sector, grant economy and household sector, and usually [take place] over long periods of time (Murray, Caulier-Grice, & Mulgan, 2010, p.15).

Mulgan, Tucker, Ali, & Sanders (2007) list the general understanding about how social innovation is likely to happen. The following, right background conditions should be present:

For social movements – basic legal protections and status, open media and the web.

In business – it can be led by the competition, opened culture, available capital.

In politics and government – competing partners, think tanks; innovation funds, contestable markets, and plentiful pilots.

In social organizations – practitioner networks, allies in politics, strong civic organizations, progressive foundations, and philanthropists.

Global links – making it easier to share the new ideas

Some potential barriers are explored too in connection with the achievement of social innovation. The barriers are as follows:

Efficiency – people generally wait for advantages in the short run, which in general do not exist at the beginning. Sometimes, impatience is a barrier in the new, good ideas – this is called ’the innovators dilemma’.

Peoples’ interest – the risk of change sometimes compared to the benefits.

Minds – every social system comes to be solidified within peoples’ minds in the form of assumptions, values, and norms.

Relationships – because relationships between people is stronger than formal relations and these can strengthen the changes, but also can fail the radical ones.

Nevertheless, even when successful interventions are found for complex social problems, adaptation usually spreads very gradually, if at all. The parallel phenomenon of collective impact, however, the process and results are emergent rather than predetermined. As such, collective impact is not just a new process that supports the same social sector solutions; rather, we have in it, a strong commitment to creating systems that support continuous learning. Therefore, collective impact will be studied in later blogs.


__Harazin, P., & Kósi, K. (2013). Social challenges: Social innovation through social responsibility. Periodica Polytechnica.Social and Management Sciences, 21(1), 27-38.

__Huddart, S. (2010). Patterns, principles, and practices in social innovation. The Philanthropist, 13(3).

__Kreitzer, M. J., Monsen, K. A., Nandram, S., & De Blok, J. (2015). Buurtzorg nederland: a global model of social innovation, change, and whole-systems healing. ‘Global Advances in Health and Medicine,’ 4(1), 40-44.

__Mulgan G., Tucker S., Ali R., Sanders B., (2007). Social Innovation: What is it, why it matters and how it can be accelerated. The Basingstoke Press, The Young Foundation, 

__Murray R., Caulier-Grice J., Mulgan G., (2010). The Open Book of Social Innovation, The Young Foundation, The LAB, Nesta. Retreived from

__Social Innovation Europe. (2012). Financing Social Impact; Funding social innovation in Europe – mapping the way forward. European Commission. Retrieved from

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