Welcome to the Societal Innovation thought leadership site

What is Societal Innovation? 

Societal innovation is about new ways of organising for an uncertain future.

Key themes emerge in society, and in the western world we are challenged as we move from a consumer society and a focus on short term gain to a society where the world of work has changed and is uncertain, we are living longer,  natural resources are limited, and our education system is geared around an industrial model which is no longer relevant.

societal innovation is about asking and finding ways forward to the challenges of work, worklessness, and how we are to make meaning from our work.  It asks ‘how can the future look for young people and those currently not engaged in meaningful work.’ It investigates ways in which work and working practices can accommodate all in society.

It investigates how ‘silver potential’ can be exploited for the benefit of society and its citizens –  retirement after 40 years farming the land or mining the ground was an inevitable consequence for a worn out body, yet today people in the prime of health and intellect are leaving our organisations. People thinking about  Societal innovation ask ‘how can the skills, wisdom, know how, and experience of all members of society co-create and co-operate for the good of all?’

Our education systems have served us well, however how will learning need to develop to meet the uncertain needs of the knowledge society. What skill and knowledge will need to be learned, when will in need to be learned, where will it need to be learned, and at what stage in life. Societal innovation asks the question “what will the school of the future be like, and at what age will the students attend?”

We see changes and examples from our own experiences which  highlight these issues and , at the same time, give a glimpse into the future: Some doctors are working in excess of 80 hours a week whilst in some families three generations have not worked; Ivan J Goldberg and Will Hopper –both octogenarians — write and publish insightful blogs about business, economics, and politics; Despite the best efforts of governments, University lecturers, and their students over 20% (probably much more) are unsuccessful in finding graduate work.

What is the purpose of this site?

This site brings together the thoughts and ideas of individuals to share their view on the future and to promote for discussion their ideas on how society can be, how society can innovate in the days, week, and years ahead.

We look forward to reading and learning about your thoughts, comments, and contributions.


About David C Roberts

I am passionate about innovation, development, learning, and the future. I work internationally supporting individual entrepreneurs, organisations, educational institutions and government bodies. I am available to speak, facilitate learning sessions and run enterprise workshops. Areas of experience and know how include: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Leadership, Management Accounting, and People Development .
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3 Responses to Welcome to the Societal Innovation thought leadership site

  1. francesbell says:

    Very interesting David. It’s always tempting to think about how society can change – that’s in the realm of politics – democracy or revolution, and definitely worth pursuing but at one level a distraction. I think the biggest changes that we can influence are within the personal realm. How can I as someone with ‘silver potential’ offer back to society to compensate for the relatively generous pension I will receive (at least compared with the subsequent generation) and as inheritance to my children? What can my children do to plan for their retirement with a very different pension expectation?
    Of course, we could just wring our hands on Twitter;)

    • I agree with your comments about the personal realm Frances. At the end of this month I will be working on a societal innovation project and before the project I reckon that I need to undertake a considerable amount of personal reflection. On one level the reflection will be about asking the question of myself ‘how can I change and innovate and offer more back to society at large and my children in particular, and at a deeper level reflection on the alignment of my espoused theories and my theories in use. The alternative of Wringing my hands on twitter seems attractive.

  2. francesbell says:

    Just remember that wringing one’s hands on Twitter (and other things) can become a displacement activity. Attractive but pales into insignificance compared with getting off one’s @rse and doing something.

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