A space for change makers.

41 Inspiring Examples of Social Innovation

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At We Thinq, we talk a lot about how to innovate but we don't always talk about why we innovate. Instead of telling you what we think the reasons are, we are going to let the examples speak for themselves. Below is a list of organisations that are innovating for social and environmental good. We've also included some organisations that will help you get your project started, or help your company get started with social innovation. We love working with companies that are interested in innovating not just for profit, but to better the world. Let us know what you think!

This list is updated regularly. Last update: November 30, 2016

What is Social Innovation

Examples for CrowdSourcing Projects

  • Ioby - Crowd Resourcing Platform for Neighborhood Projects (US)
  • Challenge.Gov - Government challenges and crowd sourcing (U.S)
  • Social Innovation Europe - Directory of Social Innovation projects and organisations (EU)
  • Causes - Large member base connects projects with skilled people.
  • I Paid a Bribe - International movement to expose the world of bribery
  • Open Ideo - Women's Safety Innovation Challenge
  • Marblar: Idea challenges and platform to design innovative products; often environmentally focused.
  • Humanitarian Innovation - Open innovation challenges to solve humanitarian problems.
  • The Skillman Foundation - Using different funding tools to support resident-led community development in Southwest Detroit.

Examples for Innovation Centres

  • Young Foundation - Research, project partnership opportunities, and support.
  • Centre for Global Eco-Innovation - Student based project groups help companies become more environmentally innovative (EU).
  • Centre for Social Innovation - Communal working and event space for organisations and individuals working on social innovation projects (CAN).
  • Eco Innovation Centre - Meeting and event space, virtual offices, and start up mentoring all in the name of environmental innovation (UK).
  • The Melting Pot - Co-working space for individuals and organisations working for a better world (UK).
  • UNICEF Innovation Labs - A do it yourself guide to setting up a UNICEF innovation lab.

Connectors (Or, where to go for help)

  • Nesta UK - Provides grants for socially innovative projects, hosts innovation contests, and provides general publications and resources on open innovation for social good. (To read what Nesta thought about working with us, click here).
  • Social Innovation Exchange - Connects Innovative Organizations and people world wide by hosting events, workshops, and innovation consulting
  • Greenovate Europe - Consulting and support services for businesses and organisations looking to bring eco-consciousness to their workplace.
  • Building Change Trust - Extensive resources for the social innovator.
  • The Social Innovation Partnership - Support and examples for social innovation projects.
  • Open Ideo - Solve big challenges for social good.
  • UNDP Workshop Toolkit - Guidelines, context and background information to implement the process of design thinking further within the UNDP.

Crowdfunding examples

  • Catalyst - Crowdfunding for a better world.
  • Start Some Good - Raise funds for good.
  • Effjay - Indiegogo campaign to provide insect repelling t-shirts to children living in Malaria zones. Great example of crowdfunding and social innovation.

Examples of Socially Innovative Business

  • Unilever - Provides food and lifestyle products world wide with a focus on environmental and social innovation.
  • Code World Club - Mission: Give every child in the world the chance to learn code.
  • Blind Square - Helping the visually impaired interact with their surroundings.
  • Enable Talk - Technology that turns sign language into speech.
  • Social Tech - A gathering of socially innovative businesses and technologies.
  • Summo - A communication service for mobile clinics to empower nurses who work in mobile clinics in rural South Africa.
  • Sewage Systems in Brasil: A Case Study - A look at how the sewage system in Brasil was transformed by social innovation.

Social Innovation Software

  • WE THINQ - Social Software for Changemakers.
  • PYBOSSA - With PyBossa you can distribute all kinds of tasks to thousands of volunteers.
  • - A citizen project for forest monitoring.
  • Ushahidi - Crowdsourcing crisis information.

Are we missing something from our list? Let us know!

This list is updated regularly. Last update: June 23, 2017