What is Social Innovation?

It’s simple. Anything that helps to change the world for the better, no matter how big or small.

At Roundhouse we’re a social innovation institute. But often when we first say that to someone, they aren’t sure if their idea or business is socially innovative or maybe they don’t even know what social innovation is. But that’s just because a lot of us really aren’t sure what social innovation is.

Fortunately, we’re here to help. So here is some information about what social innovation is, examples of social innovation, and how you can get involved!

First, Let’s Define It.

Before we get too far, here’s what we think social innovation is. People are often intimidated when they hear “social innovation.” But they shouldn’t be. You don’t have to change the world overnight.

There are multiple definitions of social innovation and none of them are more correct than the others. Here's one we like to use at Roundhouse:

Social innovation is any action, activity, or idea that helps create or promote positive change.

It’s that simple. Just anything that helps to change the world for the better, no matter how big or small.

Social Innovation in Action

Still not sure what counts as social innovation? That’s okay. Here are some really cool examples of social innovation at home and abroad.

1.   We waste a lot of food in a day. Food that just ends up in landfills. But in Paris, France one company decided to make a change. The company Love Your Waste looked at all the food waste and saw an opportunity. They now collect waste from schools, hospitals, and restaurants and use it to create renewable energy and organic fertilizer!

2.   Have you ever used plastic wrap to cover your food to help keep it fresh? You probably have. Well, one social innovator realized the environmental impact of all that plastic wrap and decided to come up with a solution. The response is abeego, a reusable food wrap made of beeswax instead of plastic. You can pick up some at the Roundhouse Marketplace today!

3.   Locally, we have Spontivly – one of our very own Roundhouse members. Spontivly founders noticed a growing sense of isolation in people. They responded to this need by creating their app. The app aims to eliminate social isolation and loneliness by creating communities. This awesome company saw a need and created a solution to change peoples’ lives for the better. That’s social innovation at its finest. If you want to learn more about Spontivly and their app, check out our blog feature or check out their website.

As you can see, social innovation really has no boundaries!

Become a Social Innovator

Now that you know what social innovation is, you’re probably going to notice it everywhere. And you might even feel like you’ve been bitten by the social innovation bug. If you do, we can certainly help.

Becoming a social innovator might seem overwhelming, but it’s really pretty simple. Have you ever been walking down the street and thought that there was a better way to do something? Or been sitting at home and thought of a greener solution? Well, being a social innovator is as simple as putting those ideas into action. 

Are you ready to put your new knowledge to work? Or do you want to learn more about the different social innovators at work in Edmonton? If you do, make sure to swing by Roundhouse for one of our tours to learn more about our space and innovators!