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Social Innovation

This report draws on practical examples from the UK and abroad to show how localities can use innovative approaches to transform public services.

This report draws on practical examples from the UK and abroad to show how localities can use innovative approaches to transform public services.

Key findings:

  • Social innovation relates to the UK’s biggest problems in its biggest sectors; however, the UK has an immature social innovation system.
  • Scaling up social innovations requires action by government, entrepreneurs and investors.
  • Much social innovation starts locally – using local insights and initiatives to address localised problems.
  • There are steps that can be taken towards creating a more socially innovative UK.

Nearly all innovation policy is tailored to the needs of traditional for-profit science and technology-based innovation. However, meeting the economic and social challenges of the coming decades will increasingly require fundamental improvements in public services. Social innovation is critical to this process.

 

Social innovation is about developing new ideas to tackle social problems or meet social needs. It may be a new product, service, initiative, organisational model or approach to the delivery of public services.

In each case study in this research by Nesta and the Young Foundation, innovation was a response to underperformance, whether the economic dislocation of a declining industry or the external pressure of a failing service.

 

Author:
Nesta and the Young Foundation