Tim Draimin, the executive director of Social Innovation Generation (SiG) in Canada paid a visit to Impact Hub Vienna.

Social Innovation
© Anja Stevic

He gave an inspiring lecture on social innovation and social entrepreneurship. Canada is ranked third in the world for social innovation. “Apparently, our beavers are doing a great job!”, laughed Draimin as he addressed the audience. The social impact sector is growing, with new ventures, enabling organizations, and investors leaping into the market. “Social innovation is globally relevant, with national strategies as a main condition”, Draimin said.

“Learning is an action”, and we cannot do it by ourselves. Presenting his insights from the book “Social Innovation Generation”, Draimin emphasized networks are necessary to create impact.

Draimin suggests three main aspects when considering new strategies of social innovation potential and system change:

  1. Does social innovation intersect with mainstream innovation

If innovation is the goal, then we need to understand what is necessary to move forward: comprehensive innovation, social impact, integrated innovation between businesses, social, and scientific/technological innovations. However, the core element of success is to be mission-oriented and inclusive. Which means finding something you are passionate about, driving innovation in the sector forward, and including all affected stakeholders. Moreover, it means finding a way to ensure no one in society is left behind when you create something new.

  1. Collaboration lies at the core of social innovation

Reshaping ecosystems starts with engaging many actors in the system and bringing them together to work towards the same goal. Finding right people with similar interests and skills is the solution to achieving social innovation.

  1. Interplay of ecosystems, networks and platforms, is on what systems change relies on. Bridging established boundaries is the future of contemporary entrepreneurship. Consequently, it is also the biggest social innovation potential. This premise further informs how companies will grow in the future.

A new innovation paradigm arises from these considerations, which includes: (1) content, meaning new methods, practices and regulations; (2) processes fostering inclusivity, co-creation, improvement, empowerment, people’s involvement, and cross-sector collaboration; (3) objectives create social value within new demands and social challenges.