I’ve became acquainted with the concept of Social Innovation in a foundation event in 2013. I have to admit that I haven’t have a comprehensive idea about the foundation and the social dimension of innovation until that time; the meeting was such an inspirational and emotive as I’ve began to search into the foundation and the concept of innovation after then. For the next period, my point of view and perception have oriented from social responsibility towards social innovation.
What is social Innovation then? It is dessignated to new approaches, applications, organizations, business models and processes to make the world a better place and to solve the social problems. It is necessary for an Innovation to be derived of social needs to become social one. Moreover, the purpose of the Innovation is to solve the problem and ensure continuity in such a way that
Social innovations are made by social entrepreneurs to solve social problems. The parties we consider here as social entrepreneurs; public and private organizations, universities and non-governmental organizations. Social Innovation can be effectively implemented through the business association of the parties in the eco-system. For this reason, social innovation is usually mentioned within an eco system. The state-private sector, universities and non-governmental organizations are preparing the appropriate environment for social innovation to become an added value.
Current examples of social innovation and the need to touch briefly on the social phenomena that are necessary for social innovation and show the difference between social innovation and innovation before moving on to the effects for society.
Innovation involves all processes carried out to develop new or improved products, services or production methods and to make them commercially viable. The important criterion in the concept of innovation is the ability to make commercial income and difference. In social innovation, the starting point is far from solving income, finding a solution to a social problem. They make their way from the dream of creating a better world.
According to Frost & Sullivan’s research, In 2020, 56% of the world’s population will live in cities, and by 2025, 35 cities will become “global mega cities”.
According to the survey, for the first time in history 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. This figure will be about 56% by 2020 and the population living in cities will reach 4.3 billion people. Technology, science, and developments are thought to facilitate our lives in many respects, but they also bring new needs to the agenda from a social point of view. For example, with urbanization, while environmental pollution, clean natural resources, climate change, food need, migration become a problem; many additional and differentiated solutions are needed about the topics of skill acquisition for people to adapt to change, old age, obesity, education and so on ,because of unemployment, the increase of human life and automation in business life.
Mohammed Yunus, the winner of the Nobel Prize for this initiative, is the micro-credit idea that came to mind first in terms of social innovation in the world.
He provide micro-credit to many women that are very poor and banks do not give credit to for helping them having a job. This idea spread later in rapidly developing countries.
Again 100 years ago in Italy, Montessori opened its first child homes for pre-school education, leading to “kindergartens” and, of course, pre-school education.As an example of social innovation, Wikipedia has opened open source knowledge and education to all humanity.
In our country, the number of social enterpreneurs who have experienced the social innovation in recent years is increasing rapidly. I would like to introduce a few social entrepreneurs who have a vision for solving social problems
For example, Tülin Akın, who has established a website to inform farmers on the web, supports 1.5 million farmers to make them more informed about agriculture.
Bedriye Hülya, who opened the B-fit by taking the road to get the appropriate sports for women, now supports Woman Entrepreneurship by supporting women to open similar B-fit branches. Zafer Kıraç supports the criminal enforcement system in Turkey by building bridges between civil society and prisons. The Civil Society Association in the criminal enforcement system (CISST) serves as a platform for non-governmental organizations and universities to develop and implement social and educational programs for prisons.
Apart from individuals, there are companies that make social innovation and social entrepreneurship a strategic priority. We can give Intel and Hitachi as global examples. Koç Holding Vocational High School The National Occupation is a social innovation that has been developed in our country by focusing on youth professionalism, the need for trained technical staff in companies.
As stated in the United Nations Human Development Report, it will be possible to prepare individuals to be less fragile for a future but to pass on the imagination of innovative ideas that will strengthen the inner strength of the society and the countries.
Social innovation requires a structural business alliance for sustainable outcomes.
The solution to social needs is now overcoming obstacles between state, university, private sector and non-governmental organizations through social innovation.
Social innovation corresponds to the sense of “creating meaning” that we need in the 21st century.
By changing our point of view, companies that ask questions about what we can do by identifying problems and needs in their eco-system provide additional benefits while at the same time ensuring that employees find what they are looking for at work.
Sustainability is possible with social innovation.0