what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

social innovation and social enterprise


The price of potatoes has apparently almost doubled here – so there is a particular poignancy to the efforts of my 80 year-old neighbours whom I guiltily watch in their vegetable patch in the field below.
I’ve been too busy all morning to be able to offer any help – first on my own chores now that the sun is shining brightly and then on reflecting on the questions I got in my mail this morning from a US reader of my blog who was responding to a comment I had made on the Understanding Society blog and reproduced here My correspondent is in the process of establishing an organisation based on the recognition that
well intentioned organizations are constantly reinventing the wheel due to the poor state of networking amongst them. This, in turn, is responsible for the far below optimal rate of progress being generated by these organizations
.My correspodent asked four fascinating questions -
• about my experiences in trying to create positive change.
• Are there certain organizations you are especially fond of?
• What do you think about the "social innovation" movement?
• Is there a set of principles that you follow?

This quickly took me back to a short paper I had been looking for recently – which I had written ten years ago about the state of the world and what effective action committed individuals could take - and which I was able at last to unearth. It dealt with the first two of the questions and I have just spent a couple of hours adding footnotes to it to bring it up to date – and adding it to my website
The term “Social innovation” is actually a new one for me – but some surfing quickly established that it covers what I knew as community enterprise in the 1980s; what the French have called “social economy” and what, in the 200os, was called social enterprise in the UK. This 2006 paper is a good overview of the US and European understanding of the term.
Also in 2006 an interesting book was published on the European experience of Social Enterprise
This 2005 paper is a theoretical overview from Strathclyde University
In 2007, Charles Leadbeater wrote Social enterprise and social innovation: Strategies for the next ten years for the UK Cabinet Office and, in the light of the UK Coalition Government interest in Big Society, the Guardian had a brief chat with some social entrepreneurs.
Tha painting is one of the famous Bulgarian ones - "Peasant with a hoe"by Vladimir Dmitrov (The Master)
that there is a lot of thinking (about alternatives) going on - but it is not easily shared and stored. What can be done about this?

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