A new ESADE-sponsored study entitled “Social Innovation: Pathways to Systemic Change" was presented today at ESADE Madrid by its authors, Heloise Buckland, a researcher, and ESADE professor, David Murillo, track new developments in the social innovation field through the publication Antenna for Social Innovation.
They look at ways in which social innovation can become more influential and effective, and stress the role it plays in addressing economic and political challenges. A central strand of the report finds that social innovation no longer focuses solely on covering gaps left by public services that defend basic rights.
The new study provides a snapshot of the huge variety of trends in the field by profiling four social innovation organisations: Avaaz, an online social-activism community with 15 million members in 194 countries; the Barcelona Food Bank, which mobilises 7,600 volunteers and 600 organisations throughout Catalonia; the Behavioural Insights Team, an independent body of the British government that incorporates economics in its analyses; and the community exchange markets that have fostered a culture of bartering in eight neighbourhoods of Barcelona.
Main factors in social innovation
"Social Innovation: Pathways to Systemic Change" identifies the key factors that help social innovation initiatives to address our various social and economic challenges:
5. Scalability and replication
The ability to replicate and adapt social innovations to any scale or sector is important for two reasons. Firstly, many of today's social problems – including climate change, desertification and over-fishing of the oceans – are global. These problems require solutions at the global scale. Secondly, countless other aspects of society – from business to government – have been globalised, proving that what works in one city or country can be applied to another.
"In the future," explained Mr. Murillo, "you will perceive no division between private, public and non-governmental organisations. You'll just see community services, and their relevance will not be determined not by their nature but by these five factors. The ideas of excellence, open innovation and impact will be fundamental." He added: "The four cases described in the study are of academic interest because of the variables used to measure their results and the factors that favour their replication elsewhere."