One of my major concerns at present coming from the decision to place social innovation within the same EU commission is they ‘house’ innovation activity under one overarching innovation remit to achieve some ‘synergy’ but it has its dangers also, as societal innovation is needed to be managed quiet differently in my mind.
There is this real possible danger social gets ‘blended into’ existing policy and structures for the ‘easy’ use of existing policy, mechanisms and frameworks for present innovation structure to be simply applied to social. Much of this existing EU structure I feel is the wrong model for social challenges. This needs clear difference from day one. This needs to be a focal point within the present debates that are occuring around social innovation and its place within the EU’s broader innovation growth plans.
Innovation as many understand it, is always chasing for a clear measurable result. The more unambiguous the result the more the market values it. The more the politicans would want it. Scale, market share and profit rule the thinking. There is far more contestability when it comes to understanding value for society and will make for ‘generic’ answers as not as straightforward or potentially transferrable. Social innovation will be hard to often transfer as the context will be distinctly different. Results will often be hard to quantify.
Recognizing the successful aspects and separating the ones applicable to a certain challenge will become a significant skill to ‘scale and scope’ social innovation when we want to benchmark others and try to duplicate those efforts as ‘our’ easy answer, so it can be measured and ‘accounted for’. We must recognize social innovation is distinctly different from business innovation in the way it needs organizing, managing and evaluating.