When SiG launched the Knowledge Hub in 2013, it was designed to provide clear and practical access to current thinking about social innovation with learning resources to inform your work for change. While the motivation remains the same, we thought we’d collate a few of those resources for you and present our SiG Top 10 Resources for Systems Change. There are many grand resources out there, online, in print and other media so we acknowledge this list isn’t exhaustive, nor sufficient for your change journey. However, we hope it’s a strong start for you. With the exception of Thinking in Systems, the articles and reports listed below are all available online and can be downloaded or saved for ongoing learning.
THE SOCIAL INNOVATION DYNAMIC, FRANCES WESTLEY, 2008
Beginning with the definition of social innovation itself, this Primer of commonly used terms in social innovation will help guide your understanding of the processes and theories engaged in systems work. Social Innovation is an initiative, product or process that profoundly changes beliefs, basic routines, resource and authority flows of any social system in the direction of greater resilience. Successful social innovations have durability, impact and scale. READ MORE
In June 2013, an independent Social Impact Investment Taskforce was established. The recommendations are the result of work over the past 14 months by hundreds of people around the world from the public, social and private sectors, who have collaborated with the Taskforce and its eight National Advisory Boards (NAB) and four international expert Working Groups (WG) focused on the main barriers to the global spread of impact investment. READ MORE
This Guide to a Social Innovation Lab is offered as a resource to peers, colleagues, practitioners, leaders from all sectors, and concerned citizens – all who have and/or will participate in change-making processes. One hope for this work is that these ideas will result in a greater sense of urgency for those who work on what often seem like impossible aspirations for a different, better world. READ MORE
“There is much, much more to systems thinking than is presented here, for you to discover if you are interested. One of my purposes is to make you interested. Another of my purposes, the main one, is to give you a basic ability to understand and to deal with complex systems, even if your formal systems training begins and ends with this book.” (Donella Meadows, 1993) While not a partner with SiG, Meadows’ work in systems still leads the field. In support of the Donella Meadows Institute, we link here to her book for purchase. READ MORE
Developmental Evaluation (DE) is a particular approach to assessing the growth and effects of new ideas and actions. It shines a light on learning that is useful and can enhance impact. This DE primer, by DE specialist Jamie Gamble, provides a good introduction, whether you’re an evaluator, a practitioner, a funder or anyone interested in effectively supporting new ideas for social change. READ MORE
This article argues that Canadians are living through a transformation that has been accelerated, but not caused, by the economic downturn we are experiencing. More specifically, it will explore some of the implications of this for Canada’s community sector. New models and approaches are urgently required, not just to ensure the health of a sector too long taken for granted in the public realm but to maintain Canadians’ well-being. READ MORE
The SiG Profile Series delves into 8 solutions that Canadian innovators have developed to tackle some fierce challenges. From systemic violence, marginalization, social isolation, poverty and global warming, we profile interventions that have the capacity to transform these problems and create positively resilient societies. The Series discusses the challenges to development for these innovations and how the solutions will alter Canadian culture. READ MORE
Social innovation covers a lot of ground but it is still taking shape. It comprises not only “new ideas that work” (Mulgan 2003) but also new ways of seeing, thinking and working. This article uses these as three vantage points from which to explore this emerging landscape. Beginning with pattern identification, Stephen Huddart then proposes 12 principles that shape thinking and guide strategy around social innovation. READ MORE
SOCIAL INNOVATION & SOCIAL ENTERPRISE IN THE CLASSROOM, J. MARK WEBER INTERVIEWS DR. FRANCES WESTLEY, 2012
Frances Westley has trained scientists engaged in saving endangered species, directed a groundbreaking Master’s program for nonprofit leaders, led an environmental research institute, and spent the last decade thinking, writing, and teaching about social innovation and social enterprise. Mark Weber explores the distinctions and considerations Westley thinks scholars must weigh when designing curricula to advance the cause of social innovation. READ MORE
Naturally these Top 10 Resources are just the beginning. If you’re passionate about positive social change and transformation, visit our SiG Knowledge Hub for further reading.