Social Silicon Valleys: Social Innovation Manifesto

By Howard Rheingold, published at 10 May 2007 - 8:12pm, last updated 11 years 13 weeks ago.

(Via Doors of Perception)

Social Innovation has published a "manifesto for social innovation," Social Silicon Valleys (PDF), that's definitely worth reading:

The results of social innovation are all around us. Self-help health groups and self-build housing; telephone help lines and telethon fundraising; neighbourhood nurseries and
neighbourhood wardens; Wikipedia and the Open University; complementary medicine, holistic health and hospices; microcredit and consumer cooperatives; charity shops and the fair trade movement; zero carbon housing schemes and community wind farms; restorative justice and community courts. All are examples of social innovation - new ideas that work to meet pressing unmet needs and improve peoples’ lives.

This manifesto is about how we can improve societies’ capacities to solve their problems.
It is about old and new methods for mobilising the ubiquitous intelligence that exists
within any society.

Over the last two decades there has been a great deal of progress in the understanding and
practice of social enterprise and entrepreneurship, which has prompted the creation of
new funds and endowments (such as UnLtd and Impetus), networks of support and
training (such as CAN - the Community Action Network - and Ashoka), as well as new
legal forms (like the UK’s Community Interest Company). Foundations are becoming
much more sophisticated about their impact on social change and a new generation of
philanthropists familiar with innovation in business are looking for more effective ways
to invest money in social projects that go beyond the piecemeal paternalism of the past.
Here we aim to build on this progress, by broadening the focus to look at how societies
renew themselves not just through social enterprise but also through social innovation
more widely in NGOs, the public sector, movements and markets. The main aim is
practical – and towards the end of this manifesto we set out the steps that now need to be
taken to accelerate social innovation more broadly and meet unmet needs. But we also
make the case for better understanding and rigorous reflection in a field that still relies
too much on anecdote and inspiring stories.