The concept of innovation is still deeply associated with technological innovation as motor for societal progress, emerging out of a competition of ideas. But is it possible to shift this perspective to social innovation, a process of learning collaboratively how to live better together? How might we involve mainstream stakeholders in the process of turning innovation to a public level in order to build dedicated infrastructures, and make it more accessible by communities?
Björn Müller @bjObj0
Co-founder and manager at STRIDE the unSchool,
an education provider and think tank supporting individuals, organisations and cities to turn social innovation into a transformative process of learning, stride-learning.ch
What could be reimagined now?
At the moment, we witness at the same time too much and not enough novelty. On one hand, there’s a whole infrastructure, from incubators to accelerators and competitions, dedicated to bringing innovation at a global level. But on the other hand, the fundamental issues and problems for which the world is suffering are not addressed, therefore we don’t see any concrete and deep change.
For this reason social innovation seems to be an opportunity. Is there a space or infrastructure to do social innovation across different sectors, not confining it to any sector?
How could we experiment with innovation as such?
Everything starts with challenging a very modern way of understanding innovation which is tied to the idea of continuous growth. This is coupled with the belief that a good life is reached by ever-increasing access and range into the world, making life as easy and fast as possible. Conversely, innovation can deal with a much more life-affirming side, based on participatory and collaborative aspects, putting life at the center, for example in our political, economical and social agendas.
How could social innovation be supported and look like in ten years’ time?
We can imagine a world where social innovation could be publicly supported by states and therefore having the chance to launch social experiments and endeavors at a different scale. Mainstream actors could be involved in shifting their orientation or innovation efforts to contribute in building a sustainable and meaningful lifestyle. In doing so, it is also possible to move away from the concept that makes innovation revolve just around technology. Innovation could then reconnect to its Enlightenment roots, turning it into a force of bettering (quality of) life for all.
Image: Björn Müller, twitter.com/bjObj0