It is a very recent phenomenon that social aspects of technology based business innovations, and the relevance of social innovations as such, receive a sharp increase of attention in politics, science, and enterprises as well.
But, what does social innovation means?
I have found different definitions of «social innovation» and have decided to explore the ones proposed by different key organisations. In fact the current debate on social innovation needs a broader generic definition, in order to render possible the identification of similarities and differences between the existing and shifting variety of innovations taking place throughout society.
Among other recent definitions, I like the one proposed by a recent report published by the European Commission (Empowering people, driving change: Social innovation in the European Union) because it is short and universal: Social innovations are innovations that are social in both their ends and their means.
It is complemented by the following:
Specifically, we define social innovations as new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations. In other words they are innovations that are not only good for society but also enhance society’s capacity to act[…].(http://ec.europa.eu/bepa/pdf/publications_pdf/social_innovation.pdf)
There are many others proposed by different organisations that I will share with you in future posts.