Personal Innovation and Societal Innovation

Earlier this month in Birmingham, England three men were murdered by a hit and run car driver at the height of a riot that was underway (some background to the English Riots of August 2011 here).  The next morning,  Tariq Jahan,  the father of one of the murdered men appeared before the gathered press and gave a message to those assembled and to the wider community.

Tariq Jahan demonstrates the extraordinary ability that we all have to inspire others to move forward into a better future.

Those of us who live in the western world enjoy incredible wealth – few of us go hungry (in fact the opposite is the case as obesity is one of the main health challenges among the general population of western societies), our life expectancy is greater than ever, and we have access to wonderful health services.  In other parts of the world 17,000 (seventeen thousand) children die each day from starvation. 

This site discusses, among other things,  the challenges of Societal Innovation and how new ways of organising can be brought forward to address the future of work, the future of education, and the development of the vast potential among the ageing population. The challenges to those who consider societal innovation are great –  not innovating , not changing, and not accepting that the current economic models and consumer driven markets of the west need challenging is far more dangerous.

If you need evidence of our current problems you need look little further than the recent terrible incident in Norway, the economic problems in Europe and the USA, the rioting and civil disorder in England,  and the deaths and battles raging in the ‘Arab Spring.’

These are big problems — wicked problems — and solutions will not, and can not, come easily.  Bjorn Sanderberg explains the situation here.  However there is something that we can do as individuals, and those of us who espouse the ideas of Societal Innovation must also engage in  some deep reflection on our willingness to innovate.

In our campaign called One Idea we ask – what one idea do you have , what one idea can you carry out that will make a difference in your community. The one idea does not need to change the world today  – scaled up however it may make a real difference.

Maybe you can commit to calling in on, once a week,  the housebound person that lives at the end of your street, maybe you could only buy locally produced food, or maybe you could spread a little happiness by smiling at the next person you meet today.  If Tariq Jahan can do what he has done to show his love for his son and his community what can you do? What is your one idea, big or small,  to build some social capital?


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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2 Responses to Personal Innovation and Societal Innovation

  1. Leif Edvinsson says:

    Here at ACSi 2011 we are in the joint search for the thoughts and ideas for an optimisitic Future, based on open curiosity to share the emerging insights on Societal Innovation, and the nourishment of the positively energizing social fabric…..

  2. I have one very good idea David which will save us all lots of money having expensive enquiries post riots. It’s not actually mine and in some areas it can be quite contentious but it’s called personalisation.

    As an example this link will take you to an evaluation by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation of the ‘Specialist interventions to end rough sleeping – London ‘205’ project’ in which a number of entrenched rough sleepers were asked what would get them off the streets and the services then tailored to their responses. Guess what lol it worked.

    Not rocket science really is it and in relation to the riots if we want to find out why it happened ask those who rioted.

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