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Sustainable Food Supply Systems Represent Important Social Innovation

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Food represents the most important item that we purchase and consumer on a regular basis.  Therefore, our food decisions represent the most important way that consumers can have a direct effect on an entire food production system.  This article defines sustainability and outlines it’s key features.  One of the most important and interesting aspects of the modern food supply chain is how the major food retailers (particularly Walmart) have taken responsibility and devoted resources to ensuring the sustainability of their supply chain.  This represents a social innovation because it involves collective action aimed at benefiting the larger society. It is also clear that the government oversight system is no longer seen as adequate to protect food safety and social responsibility.

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Center for Community Creativity – Proposal for Interdisciplinary Innovation

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Research by Richard Florida and others demonstrates that communities vary tremendously in terms of their support for creative people and their pursuits.   Over the past few years I have developed plans for a Center for Community Creativity (CCC) that would address the need communities have to become more authentically creative.   More creative communities attract and support more innovative and socially responsible companies.  The CCC should be housed at a major research university.  This article summarizes my proposal for a Center for Community Creativity.   Click below to learn more:

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“Engines of Innovation” and Innovate@Carolina Set the Standard for University Social Innovation

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Like all social institutions research universities are struggling to remain relevant in our rapidly changing world. Having received significant public support, it is time for universities to increase their willingness and ability to take strong leadership in solving serious social problems.  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first American public institution of higher learning established in 1795.  Now, two centuries later UNC is transforming itself to become a global model for how and why universities should do much more to promote positive social change (i.e., social innovation.) This renewed focus on new ways to address society’s needs is best exemplified and explained in a new book “Engines of Innovation.” Written by UNC’s progressive chancellor (Dr. Holden Thorp) and UNC’s entrepreneur-in-residence (Buck Goldstein) this book provides important information, insights and inspiration for universities who wish to fulfill their potential.  To truly model socially-relevant innovation, UNC-CH (under Chancellor Thorp’s leadership) recently launched a ground-breaking initiative, known as Innovate@Carolina.  This article summarizes the important book, as well as UNC’s roadmap to innovation.  The authors have also created a BLOG to rev-up university commitment to social innovationClick below to learn more.

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Social Problems Drive and Determine the Nature of Social Innovation

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Throughout human history innovation has been driven by the need to solve social problems.  This was true from the dawn of agriculture (need to feed a growing population); to the present when technology controls  the natural world and causes as many problems as it solves. Social innovations are sorely needed to address a series of complex and challenging social problems. This article lists some of the main social problems and then outlines the conditions that elevate some issues to the status of a social problem.  After that you will find some insights from C. Wright Mills 1959 classic “The Sociological Imagination.

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Ideas and Insights from “The Power of Social Innovation”

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Social innovation is itself an innovation.  It is now being formalized in selected universities, consultancies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  This BLOG article collects and combines edited versions of several reviews and articles about the pioneering book The Power of Social Innovation: How Civic Entrepreneurs Ignite Community Networks for Good. The main author, Stephen Goldsmith is Professor of Government and Director of the Innovations in American Government Program at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Click below for more about this ground-breaking book.

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The Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship and Duke’s CASE

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Many leading universities are increasing their involvement with social innovation.  They teach students how to become social entrepreneurs; and use their research to address important social problems.  In this BLOG post I want to highlight one of the seminal articles in the field of social innovation and briefly describe one of the top academic programs on social entrepreneurship (Duke University in Durham, NC) .  This field has grown out the business schools that have pioneered research and teaching about innovation and entrepreneurship more broadly. 
Click below to learn more!!

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Seniors Have Experience, Insights and Enthusiasm to Foster and Facilitate Social Innovaiton

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Several social trends are converging that make it vital that our society enlist the aid of all innovative people. In particular, more people are aging and retiring as the baby boom generation reaches its “golden years.” They have time and talent to contribute that will be vital for addressing the serious social problems that we face.  Also, many government agencies and nonprofit organizations are facing serious budget deficits that mean volunteers are sorely needed.  This BLOG post includes a lot of information about the relationship between aging and creativity.  There is a summary and review of the classic book “The Creative Age by Dr. Gene Cohen. In addition there is an extensive collection of organizations and websites about how to get senior citizens more involved with social innovation.
Click Below to Learn How Older People are Vital for Innovation.

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