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Systemic Social Innovation: Co-Creating a Future Where Humans and all Life Thrive


Society is at a crossroads. Interconnected systems, radical transparency, and rapidly increasing sophistication in skills, communications, and technologies provide a unique context for fostering social innovation at a planetary scale. We argue that unprecedented rates of systemic social change are possible for co-creating a future where humans and all life can thrive. Yet, this requires innovation in the conceptions, practice, teaching, and researching of social innovation itself to reimagine what it is and can be. As a multidisciplinary group of academics, practitioners, and educators, we integrate our perspectives on social innovation and humanistic management to suggest the notion of systemic social innovation. We introduce the concept of “transformative collaboration” as central to facilitating systemic social innovation and propose a multilevel model for accelerating systems change. We then develop an integrated framework for conceptualizing systemic social innovation. Four levels of social impact are identified, and these levels are bracketed with a call for transforming individual consciousness at the micro level and new collective mindsets at the macro level. Blooom is presented as a case study to illustrate transformative collaboration, demonstrate the role of mindset shift in practice, and introduce four key ingredients to systemic social innovation. Finally, a call to action is issued for social innovation practice, teaching, and research. Most importantly, we seek to inspire and accelerate systemic social innovation that enables the flourishing of every human being and all life on earth.

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  1. 1.

    Founded in 1981, Ashoka has elected over 3500 leading social entrepreneurs (with systems changing solutions to the world’s most urgent social and environmental challenges) as Ashoka Fellows, providing them with living stipends, professional support, and access to a global network of peers in over 92 countries.

  2. 2.

    Here we build off the ideas of Ashoka, which according to its website states, “Ashoka envisions a world in which everyone is a changemaker: a world where all citizens are powerful and contribute to change in positive ways.”

  3. 3.

    AgTech has been referred to as “the application of technology – especially software and hardware technology – to the field… of farming” (Kobayashi-Solomon 2018).


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Correspondence to Raymond Fisk.

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The order of authorship is alphabetical. All authors made equal contributions.

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Fisk, R., Fuessel, A., Laszlo, C. et al. Systemic Social Innovation: Co-Creating a Future Where Humans and all Life Thrive. Humanist Manag J 4, 191–214 (2019).

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  • Social innovation
  • Social progress
  • Systems change
  • Inclusion
  • Consciousness