…that it can drain the complex and exciting of all colour and vitality.

In a sense that’s what all academic work does (I remember a well-known academic who happens to write for the Guardian describing academia as obsessed with complexity, and journalism with clarity).

I realise I’ve done just that with social innovation, so I want to offer a more compelling alternative description. Social innovation -unlike technical innovation –  is not just a new way of doing things. It is a new way of living, and a new way of being.

Even more fundamentally, social innovation disrupts transactional patterns and processes by humanising and socialising them. It is not concerned with overthrowing capitalism or systemic revolution, but targeted, specific interventions in social processes and practices.

Social innovation has to be both disruptive and transformational to be worthy of the name. This means that not all social enterprise can be legitimately classed as social innovation, but  much work conventionally described as charitable can be.

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