Social Innovation : Is it a fad?

It all started with a questioning that we had last January about the social economy. Stopped by a newspaper article from LE DEVOIR, about social economies companies, it was asked if the social economy as a whole was a new kind of Economy or a simple alternative to traditional Economy. In other words, we wondered if the world could be run later by new principles inspired by the Social Economy.

innovation sociale kws

This reflection led us later to think about social Innovation. Fortunately, with the help of queries on search engines we are not the only ones who wonder about the definition of social innovation. Every day thousands of people are trying to find an answer to this question: what is social innovation?

In Quebec, many organisations work for years to offer models, I would say more respectful of the individual and the community. I will quote the Quebec Network Social Innovation (partner of the technology for good week). Initiated in 2005, the RQIS offers a comprehensive definition of social innovation to anyone:

Social innovation is a new idea, approach or surgery, a new service, a new product or a new law, a new type of organization that responds more adequately and more sustainably than an existing social need well-defined solutions, a solution which has been sold in an institution, organization or community and produces a measurable benefit to the community and not only to some individuals. The scope of social innovation is transformative and systemic. It is, in its inherent creativity, a break with the existing system.

Search Trends

Now that we know what social innovation is, let’s focus a little bit to regions where it is present. According to statistics from Google, Singapore, Canada and Denmark are countries where residents are very interested in social innovation.

Even more precisely, cities like Toronto, Cambridge and Washington seem to be excellent experimental territories. Regarding Toronto, the CSI is the “promised land” of all social entrepreneurs in Ontario. I could also mention the presence of major players like Ashoka Canada

So can we consider social innovation as a fad? The answer is clearly NO. For examples:

INM in Montreal recently hosted an event with social entrepreneurs where we could measure the dynamism of social innovation in Quebec

Moreover through companies like Communauto or La Tablée des Chefs, we can immediately understand that social innovation in Quebec has not yet revealed its full potential.

So we might ask what is the future of social innovation in Quebec and around the world? Well, it’s difficult to predict anything. What is certain is that the interest and the impact of social innovation is growing. Every year there is a growth of 5% globally on research about it on google. In addition, the public needs for more and more examples of entrepreneurs or social innovation surely inspire future social entrepreneurs projects.