Five (Plus One) Good Ideas About Social Innovation

Five-Good-Ideas-Cover-193x300The Maytree Foundation runs a marvellous lunch and learn series titled Five Good Ideas. They cover just about everything and are worth having a look at. Fortunately they have released a compilation of their first years called not surprisingly Five Good Ideas – Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success. You can download an excerpt here.

I was asked to speak on the topic of Social Innovation earlier this year. I chose to make the following points.

Social Innovation:

  1. Starts With Passionate Amateurs
  2. Is A Marriage of the Past and Future
  3. Does Not Have a Dress Code
  4. Is Hard to do with Friends and Colleagues Let Alone Opponents and Strangers
  5. Has Negative Side Effects

You can access the video of my talk here.

During a subsequent session at the University of Waterloo's Masters Diploma Program in Social Innovation I added a sixth point:

6. What You Can't See Is Most Important.  More about this one in Subsequent posts.

I also offered Five Good Resources

  1. Anything by Frances Westley. The best introduction to her work is Getting to Maybe: How the World Has Changed (Random House, 2006), co-authored with Brenda Zimmerman and Michael Quinn Patton.
  2. John Elkington and his team at Volans are at the leading edge of thinking about social innovation. Check out their website and their recent report Future Quotient.
  3. Ezio Manzini is a leading European thinker about design, social innovation and sustainability. Check out his blog. Here is a link to a long but inspiring video of a recent presentation in Australia. 
  4. Adam Kahane has practical insights and proven strategies to improve
    our ability to work with allies and colleagues as well as strangers and
    opponents. His latest book, Power and Love: a theory and practice of social change (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2010). Read his approach to change-labs.
  5. The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide a counterpoint to today’s
    accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common. Their
    most majestic project is the Clock of the Long Now – a clock designed to tick for 10,000 years but will only tell the time if you power it.



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