Investigating “socialX”

Within my studies, I’ve chosen to put a particular focus on social innovation. Both because I’m interested in doing “good,” and because I felt embarrassed for not being confidently able to define the term, despite having been around it for so long. (Specifically in the context of the Centre for Social Innovation, where I’ve been a tenant/member — in one form or another — for six years.)

I’m no longer embarrassed, but I’m still not confident. The term’s used in different ways by different people, and others use other terms to describe possibly-similar things. (social entrepreneurship, social finance, etc.) So for my own convenience, I’ve started calling my scope of interest, “socialX.”

I’m attracted to it because there’s something (arguably) new and interesting going on in this space, and I’d perhaps one day like to contribute.

So, my immediate goals are:

  1. To get a better handle on what the terms mean, and how they might be related to each other.
  2. To read some of the more recent notable books and articles on these subjects.
  3. To understand the different ways in which organizations are supporting work in these areas.

Specifically, by mid-April I will attempt to:

  1. Summarize what I’ve learned so far about these terms in one or more blog posts.
  2. Create an annotated bibliography of the books and articles that I’ve found most interesting. (Without attempting to be comprehensive.)
  3. Write a short paper surveying several international social innovation “labs”: their approaches, how they finance themselves, their models, and their measures of success.

If this last part seems peculiar for being so specific, it’s because I’m also interested in looking at ‘intentional innovation,’ and this seemed like a good opportunity to do that. It’s also of interest to the folks at CSI, and I feel more comfortable working where there’s an articulated real-world need. (Mine or others’.)

Mid-April’s coming up quick, so I’ll be posting fairly regularly about the work over the next few weeks.

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