Lessons in Social Innovation and what it actually means…

So after two great online conversations on Social Innovation with the Building Change Trust we’ve had some useful insights into what social innovation might or could look like.

In the first session Michael Kelly from Grow It Yourself Ireland (GIY, Ireland) noted that their network had grown to cover the whole island in just three years, partly by pushing decision making out into the network rather than keeping it at the centre.

Stuart Bailie drew on Terri Hooley’s upstart impressario role in 1978 which led him to record Teenage Kicks for just £200… “Music is one of the great energy sources and one of the great transformers…”

Dougald Hine noted also in the first session though that innovation (ie doing things in ways not yet recognised by the establishment or the mainstream can come with a human price for the innovators themselves.

In fact sustainability is one of the key challenges facing innovators in this territory. On Thursday Simon Gordon – owner of one London’s oldest winebars – talked about how he developed a commericial means to sustain his own Facewatch initiative.

And Lauren Currie of Snook in Scotland spoke about the importance of using design principles in creating new and innovative approaches to services, not least in the public sector. The first thing she recommends is that people should stop thinking (or rather talking) and start doing and making.

In tomorrow’s #DigitalLunch, we’ll be taking some of that bit further when we’ll be talking about the barriers and challenges to social innovation.

I’ve set up this page on Google Moderator where you can share your question or make points for the panel to get to grips with. You can also vote questions up and down.

We start as usual at 1pm. Participation is limited, but you feel you would like to take part drop me a line at: mick.fealty@gmail.com, or call me directly on +44 7984 150399. If you are already on Google Plus you can also find me at gplus.to/mickfealty

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty