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

Abstract

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.

Introduction

The Context for Social Innovation

Every era has its share of doomsayers announcing the end of times and prophets heralding the dawn of a new world. One hundred sixty years ago, Charles Dickens published A Tale of Two Cities, set in the 1780s. Its opening lines captured the challenges of a turbulent time when social change and the Industrial Revolution brought huge benefits to some and enormous deprivation to others.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.

Dickens’ depiction could just as easily apply today. Humanity has made giant strides in improving quality of life for the masses (see for example, Estes and Sirgy, eds. (Estes and Sirgy 2017). The United Nations Millennial Development Goals (MDGs) (United Nations 2015) recorded between 1990 and 2015 a halving of extreme poverty and mortality rates of children under-five. The MDGs fact sheets showed the remarkable progress made in gender equality and women empowerment, in maternal health, and in access to improved drinking water. Never before in history have so many people lived such materially comfortable lives in relatively decent health and security. Many observers believe there is much to celebrate in these positive developments affecting people and their communities over the past half-century.

Counterbalancing these positives are equally vast negative developments in both low and high-income countries. Over one billion people live with chronic hunger and many more people experience the daily threat of violent conflict. Around the world, the rise of social inequality has been well documented (Piketty and Saez 2014). Nearly 70 million people were classified in 2017 as having been forcibly displaced because of conflict and persecution, the highest number since the end of World War II (UNHCR 2018). The natural environment is under enormous threat with the destruction of natural ecosystems and the pollution of air, water, and soil. The rate of species extinction is 10,000 times higher than the background historical rate with one estimate suggesting that 60% of all animal populations have been wiped out since 1970 (WWF 2018). High-income countries are experiencing the profound destabilizing influence of disinformation and a decline in the confidence of citizens in democratic institutions (Bennett and Livingston 2018).

Why Today Is Different

Three features of contemporary times are sufficiently different from historical times as to call for an entirely new approach to social progress. The first is interconnected systems. The advent of nuclear weapons, overpopulation, climate change, and ecosystem destruction create unprecedented capacity to devastate all life on earth. The growth in and access to international travel, information and communication technologies, and geopolitical developments have also created increasingly interdependent social systems. This makes social change more complex, large-scale, and unpredictable, yet it also creates opportunities for more widespread positive impact.

The second feature is radical transparency, by which we mean the dramatic increase in the openness of information and organizational processes. The internet, social media, and the 24/7 global economy have all contributed to an unparalleled awareness of society’s challenges. Knowledge is transmitted instantly and nearly everywhere at little or no cost.

The third feature is the dramatic rise in the sophistication of skills, communications, and technologies―such as artificial intelligence and genomics―equipping us to better tackle social and global problems. For the first time in history, we have the capability to usher in an era of flourishing. And yet, many efforts to achieve social progress are moving slower than the accelerating pace of the social and global problems they purport to address.

Rise and Importance of Social Innovation

While definitions of social innovation may be debated, its perceived importance in light of both the global challenges and opportunities we face cannot. In the literature, social innovation has been argued as an increasingly popular method for engaging vulnerable and marginalized populations, addressing social problems, and advancing social progress; and several contend its importance and urgency (Mulgan et al. 2007; van Wijk et al. 2018). This article responds to the Michael Pirson’s (2016) editorial encouragement for social innovation articles to be submitted to the Humanistic Management Journal.

In practice, we have seen the emergence and growth of social entrepreneurial networks such as Ashoka, Skoll Foundation, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Echoing Green, and others. Across higher education, universities are playing a critical role in advancing social innovation (Munk et al. 2017). The Ashoka U Changemaker Campus designation, emergence of academic and research centers such as the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University, The Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at Case Western Reserve University, The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UCT Graduate School of Business (the first in Africa), and the Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford, as well as the rise of social innovation and entrepreneurship courses, minors, majors, and co-curricular experiences (Ashoka 2014) demonstrates the growing belief of academics and educators that these approaches hold promise for future generations of changemakers.

Background and Purpose

This paper was written by an eclectic team that first assembled at the Fordham University “Interdisciplinary Social Innovation Thought Leadership Conference” held in Tarrytown, New York from November 1 to 3, 2018. We are a multidisciplinary group of academics, scholar-practitioners, a social entrepreneur, and an educator-practitioner. We have training and experience in different disciplines ranging from accounting and business policy to environmental science and organizational learning. This wide-ranging mix enabled lively and fruitful brainstorming sessions in Tarrytown and subsequently via video conference calls.

Four of our authors have associations with Ashoka,Footnote 1 which Forbes ranked as the second most innovative and impactful social enterprise of 2019. In the article, Bullock (2019) referred to founder Bill Drayton as “godfather of social entrepreneurs” noting he is “widely credited with bringing the term ‘social entrepreneur’ into the mainstream.” The authors include an Ashoka Fellow, a country office director, director of Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, and an educator at Fordham University, an Ashoka U designated Changemaker Campus. We brought unique lenses from our Ashoka experiences across a range of perspectives: as an entrepreneur, as a country-level ecosystem builder, as a social innovation movement builder within higher education, and as a social innovation educator.

Given the context in which we met and the diverse perspectives that we bring, we seized the opportunity to write an article that uniquely integrates social innovation and management thinking. In this article, we bridge: theory and practice; levels of analysis and scales of social impact; and practices for individual, organizational, and systems transformation. In short, we offer a conceptual paper to argue how social innovation itself can be innovated to foster faster, more systemic, and more enduring social solutions in which all can flourish.

Contributions

This article makes four contributions to social innovation. The first is our concept of accelerated collaboration, which we have named “transformative collaboration.” With this term, we are seeking to go beyond more typical discussions of cooperation or collaboration. Transformative collaboration occurs when all participants are able to make contributions at their full human potential. It is the highest form of co-creation.

The second contribution is a model for accelerating systems change. We argue that we live in dynamic times in which exponential rates of positive social change are possible. Our model is based on employing transformative collaboration across the micro, meso, and macro system levels.

The third contribution is the presentation of an integrated framework for systemic social innovation that suggests increased levels of transformative collaboration are needed for increased levels of social impact and society-level change. It further proposes that shifts in individual and collective mindsets reflecting an emerging new paradigm of connectedness and mutualism are necessary to enable systems-level change.

The fourth contribution is a case study of Blooom, which is a social enterprise working on the global food insecurity crisis. Blooom was founded by an Ashoka Fellow who is one of the coauthors, and the case describes his personal social innovation experiences. The four key ingredients of Blooom’s transformative collaboration are motivation, knowledge, leadership, and tools.

This article begins with a conceptual discussion, exploring the term social innovation, theoretical underpinnings of social change, and historical trends in systems change. Second, we argue that systems change can be accelerated and propose a multilevel model of “transformative collaboration” for accelerating systems change. Third, we develop an integrated framework for systemic social innovation. Fourth, Blooom is presented as a case study of recent systemic social innovation that brings these ideas to life. Fifth, we make a call to action for social innovation practice, teaching, and research.

Foundational Concepts

Before we introduce key arguments and contributions to inspire co-creating systemic social innovation, we first define social innovation, discuss the theoretical underpinnings of social change, and provide a historical overview of how systems change has evolved and accelerated over the past couple centuries.

Social Innovation

As with other related terms such as social entrepreneurship, social innovation is widely discussed (van Wijk et al. 2018) and contested (Ayob et al. 2016). Through their bibliometric analysis on social innovation, Ayob et al. (2016) found that by the beginning of the new millennium “a focus on social innovation as a process, whereby new forms of social relations lead to societal change, emerged” and has become “the dominant broad conception” (p. 648). They argue that there are three key propositions implied by the literature that can be combined in various ways to conceptualize the social innovation process: 1) new social relations and types of collaboration foster new ideas and ultimately innovations, 2) new innovations may foster changes in social relations and/or power dynamics creating societal impact, or 3) new innovations may foster improved quality life creating societal impact (p. 648).

For the purposes of this article, when we refer to “social innovation”, we also draw from van Wijk et al. (2018) in their conception that social innovation “…describes the agentic, relational, situated, and multi-level process to develop, promote, and implement novel solutions to social problems in ways that are directed toward producing profound change in institutional contexts” (p. 3). In this way, our view of social innovation encompasses and transcends the individual and includes processes that span levels of analysis (micro, meso, and macro), which involve social interactions and innovations that change systems.

Theoretical Underpinnings of Social Change

The idea that we are on the cusp of a system bifurcation which will allow human beings to either mature as a species, or risk extinction, is not new. Proponents of human development theory beginning with Graves and his ECLET research in the 1960s and including Maslow (1968) and Laloux (2014) considered the coming stage in human evolution to herald a profound shift. According to Laloux, the next stage in human evolution will be “a particularly momentous one in the human journey” (Laloux 2014, p. 43).

Other theory frameworks help us see social change as the non-linear evolution of successive paradigms. These include Humanistic Management (Pirson 2017) and with its critique of economism and neoliberalism as models that have reached their useful end; systems theory with its positive and negative feedback loops driving toward either environmental collapse and social anomie or a new world order (Meadows 1999); and complex adaptive systems that frame social, economic, and environmental configurations as moving from stable equilibria to nonstable dynamic equilibria (Nicolis and Prigogine 1977) or tending toward chaotic attractors. These theory frameworks provide a useful lens for understanding the complex interdependence and instability of today’s world - and why entirely new approaches to managing system change are needed.

Institutional theory frames business solutions to complex social problems in terms of renegotiating settled institutions among diverse actors with conflicting logics or the building of new ones so as to “change the basic routines, resource and authority flows, or beliefs of the social system in which the innovation occurs” (Westley and Antadze 2010, p. 2). Stakeholder theory focuses on a broad range of actors for whom business creates or destroys value, without viewing such value only in instrumental or transactional terms for business but rather as having intrinsic worth. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability typically take a business case approach to addressing environmental, social, and governance issues by attempting to demonstrate the return-on-investment of potential solutions (Laszlo and Zhexembayeva 2011).

The theoretical frameworks cited above are only a small subset of those that help illuminate social innovation for systems-level change or systemic social innovation. Other relevant theories not covered here include structuration theory, social movement, schemas, and models of consciousness (such as Henry James, Carl Jung, Teilhard de Chardin, and David Chalmers) that offer valuable ways to think about global mindset change.

Historical Examples of Systems Change

In the history of human evolution, innovations would take centuries or even millennia to spread across the globe. Yet increasing sophistication in skills, communications, and technologies have greatly reduced the time it takes for a new idea, even in the social sector, to achieve widespread adoption. Examples are numerous, but we will describe three significant examples from three different eras: mass literacy, women’s suffrage, and same-sex partnership.

Up until the 1600s, illiteracy was a quasi-universal human condition. In the 1700s, as the urban upper class was growing in size, illiteracy became the condition of the poor, representing the great majority of people. As Protestantism was growing, more and more Christians were invited to read the Bible directly and a new paradigm gradually emerged. It followed that all children, not only the wealthy, had to learn how to read and write. This became a guiding principle for several protestant Churches and then for countries. In the 1820s, 50% of the population of Britain could read and write. That rose to 75% in the 1870s and to almost 100% by 1920 (Roser and Ortiz-Ospina 2017). From the development of the new literacy paradigm until its universalization in Britain, 200 years passed, which is around eight generations. It took at least 300 years for the near universalization of literacy in the world, or 12 generations. Today, over 80% of the world population can read and write (Buringh and Van Zanden 2009).

Susan B. Anthony, in the United States, came up with a new disruptive idea by founding the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869. This inspired Kate Sheppard in the 1880s to advance the call for women’s universal suffrage in the then remote British colony called New Zealand. She managed to get other women behind her call for more gender equality. She also began to convince some men that women’s emancipation meant political inclusion: women should be allowed to vote in elections. In 1893, she achieved systemic social change when women were allowed for the first time in history to vote in elections (Lusted 2009). Several countries followed suit. Women could vote in 2 % of countries by 1900, 17% by 1910, 33% by the 1930s, 64% in the 1950s and over 90% in the 1970s. Women can now vote in every country except for the Vatican and Brunei (Lewis 2018). Think about a girl born in 1890 in a world in which no woman can vote anywhere and who dies in 1970 in a world in which women can vote pretty much everywhere. In the course of one lifetime, we can witness the development of a new paradigm of social progress that became a universal social condition in less than a century.

Jack Baker and Michael McConnell ushered in a new paradigm in 1973. They asked for something that had never been asked before: to be able to get married despite being both male (Greenhouse 2013). Their request was rejected but a new powerful idea emerged: the rights of gay people are not only individual rights but couple’s rights. Less than 20 years later, Denmark became the first country to grant same sex couples the opportunity to form a civil union. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to pass marriage equality. In the following 15 years, Europe, North America, and Latin America (as well as South Africa) saw a rapid shift in legislation, allowing millions of same sex couples to be legally recognized (Pew Research Centre 2017). In the United States, Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) was the oldest of numerous organizations pushing for marriage equality. Only a few decades passed for the radical new idea of marriage equality to become widespread in half of the world. Most of the people alive in the world today were born in countries where gays and lesbians could only dream about marrying their loved ones. Homosexuality is now decriminalized in most of the world and same sex couples can get married (or united through a civil union) in 44 countries (Pew Research Centre 2017).

This historical sequence of social innovations is not scientific proof of the acceleration of systems change. It helps us understand that the current globalized world we live in allows for social change to happen more quickly than ever before in history. No matter how large and urgent the challenges are, from reversing global warming to abolishing poverty, we have a chance to change course through systemic social progress within one generation or less.

Accelerating Systems Change

While social change is multilevel and highly complex, historical patterns demonstrate that increasing rates of systems-level change are possible. Given this evidence and the opportunities that interconnected systems, radical transparency, and rapidly increasing sophistication in skills, communications, and technologies present, we believe there is an opportunity to both equip everyone as changemakersFootnote 2 and exponentially accelerate systems-level change. Yet, we believe that typical approaches to social innovation alone are not enough. We propose that transformative collaboration as a cross-level phenomenon can fuel exponential rates of systems-level change. We first introduce transformative collaboration and then propose a model for accelerating systems-level change.

Evolving Notions of Collaboration

During the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King was quoted as saying “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Our goal is to accelerate how quickly the arc bends towards justice. Through transformative collaboration at every system level, strong individual skills, and powerful systems tools, systems change can and should be accelerated.

Because we are a social species, human relationships require some form of cooperation, but cooperation is not always voluntary. Unfortunately, “Much of human history, as written, is a story about dominance. It might be a pharaoh, a king, a czar or a CEO; but the story has been about dominance.” (Fisk 2009, p. 136). The fact that roles of dominance and submission are so common in human history is a key reason why human progress has been so slow and social innovation has been so scarce. The human potential of those forced into submissive relationships was never realized.

Collaboration occurs when cooperation is voluntary and active. At its very core, collaboration is defined by the quality of relationships between humans. It may be supported by technologies, embedded in strategic plans, or driven by business or public service models. At its essence, however, collaboration requires a panoply of abilities of the human brain to define common problems and to develop joint solutions based on provisional agreements that may coexist with disagreement and dissent (Gray 1989). Collaboration is not to be confused with achieving consent from disparate parties, nor with the practices of networking, communicating, coordinating, or cooperating. All of these practices involve the sharing of information or synchronization of activities to achieve a common goal. Only collaboration embodies an underlying assumption that each entity has dependence on the others, and that this interconnectivity will lead them to fail or succeed together (Lawson 2003; Torres and Margolin 2003).

Collaboration has become the more desirable form of human relationships as organizations and their environments are more complex. Collaborative relationships are characterized by distributed power and authority. They acknowledge the interdependency between entities and are characterized by lasting relationships, high levels of reciprocity, focus, trust, mutual commitment, and joint ownership. Each partner’s capacity is enhanced through the sharing of resources and harmonizing operations and activities (Lawson 2003). However, collaborative relationships are not always fully equitable relationships. Fortunately, modern business thinking has embraced the concept of co-creation, which discards the logics of submissive cooperation or weak collaboration for the logic of empowered collaboration (Prahalad and Krishnan 2008).

Transformative Collaboration

In this article, we propose that the highest form of collaboration should be called “transformative collaboration,” which occurs when all participants are able to make contributions at their full human potential. It is the liberation of human potential through collaboration that is transformative. We propose three key principles as central to the notion of transformative collaboration: equality and inclusion, personal consciousness, and creativity and innovation.

Equality and Inclusion

Transformative collaboration is equitable collaboration. It occurs when all of the participants in a group are able to make contributions at their full potential. We believe that accelerating systems change requires transformative collaboration to liberate human potential for such change.

The importance of equity and inclusion to transformative collaboration is that it provides the basis for humans of different experiences to apply their whole selves, together, to solution generation in a way that is fundamentally stronger than traditional solution practices, including design thinking and human centered design practices where a separateness between designer and audience remains after the interactions have taken place.

In the 2020 Ashoka U Exchange, an annual convening of social innovation educators, students, and administrators, Echoing Green Fellow Antionette Carol and founder of Creative Reaction Lab described two roles that must be intertwined to achieve systems change. “Equity designers” are embedded within a community and amplify what is already there that needs to be addressed, while “design allies” leverage their skills, knowledge, and tools to support equity designers in a shared quest to eradicate the challenges of struggling communities. Building off this, we contend that it is only through co-creation of equity designers and design allies together that transformative collaboration becomes possible.

Personal Consciousness

Consciousness is the mind’s awareness of itself and the world. That awareness can take different narrative forms about what it means to be human and the nature of reality. For example, we might see ourselves as spiritless biophysical entities, existentially alone, selfish, competitive, and born into a cold mechanical universe composed of clumps of matter subject to forces immutably driving us toward meaningless extinction. Or we might see ourselves as spirit-infused beings living in a world that is alive with meaning, demonstrably interconnected through energy and information flows, and with human natures that are essentially compassionate and longing for mutualism and collaboration. Which of these narratives – or any narratives in between – we hold has a huge influence on how we think and the actions we take in business as in life. We contend that transformative collaboration relies upon and is fueled by the latter narrative frame. Later in the paper we return to the role of personal consciousness and associated practices that serve transformative collaboration.

Creativity & Innovation

If equity and inclusion are the operating frame of transformative collaboration and personal consciousness, the soul, then creativity and innovation are the beating heart. Creating systems that continually generate and iterate novel solutions for widespread societal challenges requires applied insights (i.e., inventions) derived from mental simulations of potential future fits between a given invention and its environment (i.e., innovation) as a prerequisite for the development of resilient societal structures and processes (Steiner 2018). Relying on past trends and data as tools for decision-making is of no use when the unpredictable and unthinkable occurs and where there is little or no past history on which to rely.

In cases of high uncertainty, individuals and organizations must experiment, test, and iterate and then observe and measure the results of their initial efforts to find new solutions that are effective and replicable on a large scale. This process has been called creation logic. (Greenberg et al. 2011) It requires taking action, rather than taking up analysis. Creation goes beyond what is often taught in educational institutions, resembling more of what young children are naturally inclined to do rather than where they end up after years in successive levels of schooling.

A creation approach allows for intentional design of the future by shaping opportunities. It requires starting with the resources at hand, rapid prototyping to generate new ideas, and the identification of different pathways that support additional action. It emphasizes failure, reflection, and iteration. Toggling between creation and study of the results for prediction is the process known as cognitive ambidexterity (Greenberg et al. 2011). It is this back and forth process that will allow individuals, organizations, and society as a whole to create a future that is designed for all humans and the natural world to thrive.

Model for Accelerating Systems Change

In Fig. 1, we propose a model for accelerating systems change by applying transformative collaboration across levels of analysis: micro (the individual), meso (group or organization), and macro (eco/system). Importantly, each of these is necessary to accelerate the rate of change. As the field of social entrepreneurship has shown us in recent decades, no single individual or “hero” can “change a system” (Dacin et al. 2011). Even if there are select organizations that embody collaboration, working alone, at best they can only scale their solutions but are unlikely to rewire systems single-handedly, which we will expound upon later in this article.

Fig. 1
figure1

Model for accelerating systems change

At the micro level, collaborative leaders must emerge. In the three examples of literacy, women’s suffrage, and marriage equality, specific individuals took action to organize support for their cause. This step is profoundly important. All human change begins at the individual level.

Collaborative behaviors on the micro level are recognized in individuals who both value and actively promote the contributions of others and who open doors for contributions by members of society different than themselves. They embody practices of mindfulness, reflection, and deep listening as key attributes that lead them towards greater flexibility and adaptation to changing circumstances. The role of these collaborative individuals in society can be at any rung of the political ladder or social hierarchy, from humble citizen to great leader.

At the meso level, a new collaborative organization or multiple collaborative organizations must emerge. These organizations must create the structures and processes necessary to organize a social innovation movement. This is where our first example of social innovation differs from the two later ones. Literacy did not have a new organization pushing it forward in those distant times. However, women’s suffrage had the National Woman Suffrage Association marching and demonstrating on behalf of the right to vote. In the third example of marriage equality, the Marriage Equality USA organization was rapidly joined by numerous additional organizations globally, including many at the state and city level.

Collaboration at the meso level takes root in organizations that create an environment where employees, customers, community members, and other stakeholders are able to express their ideas, and where open communication, high levels of trust, and the creation of group goals lead to shared successes. “A collaborative team isn’t a group of people working together. It’s a group of people working together who trust each other… In an atmosphere of high trust, where communication is candid, goals are co-created, setbacks are analyzed for the purpose of learning (not blaming), and successes are celebrated and shared, people respond by taking ownership.” (Goman 2017.)

Organizations that embrace collaboration reward leaders for modeling collaborative behaviors. The number of layers that employees must go through to get a decision in a collaborative organization is intentionally minimized, and cultural norms encourage people to connect across the enterprise to enhance their work outcomes. In a study of these organizations (Cross et al. 2013), the employees with the strongest networks were often not at the top of the organizational chart, as “silos” had been deliberately minimized.

At the macro level, an ecosystem forming a collaborative network of organizations must develop to build and sustain the success of the social innovation. With literacy, it took centuries for an educational ecosystem to become commonplace throughout the world. With women’s suffrage it took approximately a century for women’s suffrage to be nearly universal. While marriage equality is not at the same level of adoption as women’s suffrage yet, its speed of adoption has been much faster.

Transformative collaboration at the macro level employs the micro and meso practices to achieve positive outcomes that go beyond the scope of one entity or group of entities. Many organizations and individuals exhibit transformative collaboration, managing the natural tensions of self-interest and collective gain to find solutions that benefit all. This is in sharp contrast to “win-win” situations where collaborative practices are sparked by interdependencies, and success has entities gaining what they each need. In transformative collaboration, systems are affected in a positive way beyond any of the boundaries of the entities involved. With all hands placed on carefully considered levers of change, chain reactions occur to foster greater change at a faster rate, than what the sum of the forces pulling those levers would have been expected to achieve.

Framework for Systemic Social Innovation

While there are pockets of “transformative collaboration” across society, it is not yet pervasive. We argue that it is core for achieving systems-level change. In this section, we propose an integrated framework, as shown in Fig. 2, that illustrates four levels of social impact, differentiating two that reach systems-level. We contend that increasing transformative collaboration is needed to achieve increasing levels of social impact. As such, we illustrate the need both individual and collective mindset shifts and discuss how such shifts are both necessary for and mutually reinforcing of social innovation itself.

Fig. 2
figure2

Framework for systemic social innovation. Adapted from Wells (2018)

Four Levels of Social Impact

Four levels of social impact are nested between paradigmatic shifts in individual and collective consciousness. Within the four levels of impact as published by Wells (2018) and further described below, there are direct service and scaled direct service which serve individuals or collectives in existing systems. Next are systems change and framework change which work to rewire and/or create new systems. While innovation is possible at any of these levels, systemic social innovation only occurs starting at systems change.

By direct service we mean every action or program that addresses the immediate needs of specific individuals or communities. Typically, direct service addresses the visible consequences of a social or environmental problem. It could result in a soup kitchen being opened for homeless people, a refuge to be built for victims of gender-based violence, or a mentoring program for young people at risk of dropping out of school. The great majority of work that follows in the social innovation category is usually a new way to address an old problem through a novel direct service.

Often social entrepreneurs whose direct service has successfully improved the lives of people, communities, or the environment are asked to replicate their model on a larger scale, usually among other communities within the same region or country. With scaled direct service we indeed mean solving a social problem at a regional or nationwide level by replicating a methodology which has worked locally. As for direct service, innovation at this level is still focused on the symptoms of a social problem, albeit at a larger scale. In the field of social innovation, scaling can be much slower and more cumbersome than in the for-profit sector. Gugelev and Stern (2015) provide a set of explanations on the reasons behind this, including the bias against investment in growth by which social enterprises and nonprofit organizations are expected be successful if they spend a large majority of funds on direct beneficiaries. Also, the focus on innovation makes less funds available for replication.

We define systems change as the activities or programs that tackle a root cause for a social problem in such a way that it changes how a system operates. It usually involves policy changes, widespread adoption of a new methodology by market leaders in a field, or a new behavior within a specific market (Wells 2018). In other words, system change is achieved when an innovation is adopted by a government or part of the commercial sector (Gugelev and Stern 2015).

A higher form of change is called framework change. For social entrepreneurs, changes in legislation or changes in market systems are framework change success. For example, 74% of Ashoka Fellows, an international sample of social entrepreneurs, have achieved changes in legislation, and over 90% of them have changed market dynamics (Wilf 2018). However, legal change does not mean that people will immediately change their attitudes towards a social issue. While mixed-race marriages were legal across the United States by 1967, it was not until 1994 that more than half of Americans approved of such unions. In 2013, that percentage of approval was 87% (Newport 2013).

For this reason, social entrepreneurs increasingly work on changing mindsets, not just systems. We therefore define framework change as any action or program aimed at changing cultural norms through mindset shifts. Social innovation at this level works through communication with the general public to find new mindsets that emerge from other levels of social impact (e.g., women and men have equal political rights, mixed race marriages are just normal marriages, etc.) and to make the change into the new norm as quickly as possible.

Role of Mindset Shift

As argued in the previous section, we contend that transformative collaboration is an accelerator of systems-level social change. Thus, Fig. 2 brackets these four levels of social impact with transformative collaboration. Yet necessary to transformative collaboration may be individual and collective mindset shifts and the practices that foster them. By individual mindset shift, we mean a shift in the paradigmatic assumptions of what it means to be human and the nature of the world. By collective mindset shift, we mean transformations in our collective mindsets to reflect an emerging new paradigm of connectedness and mutualism.

Many philosophies of life or conceptions of the world have existed in the course of history, and new ones will emerge in the future. For example, the pre-agricultural nomadic conception of being human was primarily magical and instinctual, seeing the individual embedded and inseparable from the tribe and from the cycles of nature (Berman 2000). Post-Bronze Age conceptions began to delineate the self as separate from the identity of others and nature. Biblical Christianity saw humans as existing in service to God and urged lives of contemplation and surrender. In the nineteenth century homo economicus emerged as utility-maximizing and preoccupied with material gain. By contrast humanism affirms personal responsibility in the pursuit of dignity and wellbeing.

Each mindset has its own distinct conception of what it means to be human and the nature of the world. Additionally, many elements recur over time. For example, the pre-agricultural nomadic view of humans as embedded and inseparable from nature is re-enlivened in the contemporary integral theorist’s worldview of Oneness in which humans are once again seen as embedded and inseparable from nature.

When it comes to fostering positive, social impact, let alone systems-level change, it is pointless to propose processes for collaboration or innovation without first (re)considering our individual and collective mindsets and practices. Indeed, our choice of lifestyles and mind-body-spirit practices have a major role in shaping our mindsets and awareness of how our actions impact others, nature, and future generation. Thus, achieving systemic social innovation requires a fundamental assessment and a shift in our individual and collective mindsets.

Strategies & Practices of Mindset Shift

Over 50 years ago a team of researchers published a paper on general strategies for change in human systems (Chin and Benne 1967). The first and purportedly most widely-used is empirical-rational. It is based on the assumptions that humans are rational and that they follow their self-interest. “Because the person (or group) is assumed to be rational and moved by self-interest, it is assumed that he (or they) will adopt the proposed change if it can be rationally justified and if it can be shown by the proposer(s) that he (or they) will gain by the change” (p. 23).

The second general strategy is labelled normative-re-educative based on socio-cultural norms, values, and attitudes to which individuals commit themselves. Guidance for change is provided by changing values and beliefs. The third is power-coercive which requires “compliance of those with less power to the plans, direction, and leadership of those with greater power.” (p. 23) In such cases, the emphasis is on the political and economic sanctions used in the exercise of power.

We suggest a fourth strategy of change called direct-intuitive as anchored in the role of direct-intuitive practices (Tsao and Laszlo 2019). Such practices, which we describe below, enable persons to have an experience of wholeness and connectedness that transforms their mindset and ways of being from a paradigm of separateness and selfishness to one of connectedness and caring. This experience of wholeness and connectedness is the foundation for altering our behavior and decision-making.

Practices of connectedness foster an enhanced individual consciousness that is needed to fuel social innovation and foster resiliency among social innovators as well as changemakers, working at any level of social impact. They encompass both eastern and western forms of mindfulness pursuits. They quiet the mind and expand our consciousness so that we are more aware of the Oneness of reality. They include meditation, walking in nature, art and aesthetics, physical exercise, and journaling, among countless others. Through such practices, we connect to the origin of consciousness itself, slowly awakening to holism. The practices have three characteristics in common. First, they are part of a well-documented upward spiral in positive emotions which increase our sense of wellbeing and build consequential resources to handle life’s challenges (Frederickson 2002). Second, they expand our awareness of being one with the world, helping us to get in a state of “flow” where creativity and productivity emerge effortlessly (Csikszentmihalyi 1990). Third, they engage the whole person rather than only the analytic rational self. They offer an experientially-oriented pathway to inspiring systemic social innovation in today’s complex and turbulent environments.

By pointing to practices of connectedness that are experiential, we offer something in addition to analytic/cognitive/rational approaches to inspiring people to achieve systemic social innovation. This is one of the unique aspects of our paper. Our hypothesis is that practices of connectedness transform a person’s awareness of how their thinking and acting impacts other people and the natural world.

Relationship of Social Innovation & Mindset Shift

As a result of individual mindset shifts of transformed consciousness (from one of separateness and selfishness to one of caring and compassion), leaders choose to pursue systemic social innovation action because that is who they are. Practices of connectedness also help them see themselves as part of a system and as an agent that must also be in a state of transformation to be able to contribute to successful systems change. Such practices also help them find inner strength and resiliency in the face of the often-challenging work of social change.

As more individuals practice connectedness, we will begin to experience more collective mindset shifts, elevating awareness of how our actions impact others and future generations. This will foster more framework change and result in the co-creation of systems in which humans and all life flourish. This is both a means for social innovation and also a desired end. That is, if proliferated across society, this new way of being will enhance the likelihood that future systems created would support thriving and become self-sustaining.

Blooom Case Study: Illustration of and Ingredients for Systemic Social Innovation

Thus far, we have introduced transformative collaboration as a means of accelerating systemic social change. We overlaid that with four levels of social impact and the individual and collective mindset shifts required, thus proposing a framework of systemic social innovation. We now bring these to life through the case study of Blooom. This case also provides powerful evidence of four tools for systemic social change: new sources and forms of motivation; ways of deriving and applying knowledge; models of organizing and leading; and tools for scaling.

The Global Need

Today, there are an estimated 500 million smallholder farms in the developing world that support the livelihoods of almost two billion people. These smallholder farms, responsible for approximately 80% of the food produced in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, are confronted by the challenges of poverty, hunger – and often conflict and climate change – on a daily basis with very limited resources. Blooom was formed to address these global challenges.

Blooom’s Roots

Blooom emerged out of Fairtrasa, a social for-profit organization with the mission of lifting smallholder farmers out of poverty by providing them with technical support and connecting them with new and better paying markets. Fairtrasa was founded in Mexico in 2005, then replicated its business model across Latin America, established its own import offices, and became a vertically integrated group of companies.

Smallholder farmers in large parts of the developing world are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty as they farm with low quality/low-yield inputs and sell their products to middlemen at very low prices. Fairtrasa connects these farmers by forming cooperatives, supports them with vital fairtrade certifications, and connects them with international markets. Through a three-tier development model, subsistence farmers can increase their yields and income and evolve to self-sufficient agri-entrepreneurs.

The scaling of Fairtrasa followed a traditional subsidiary model through the establishment of local brick and mortar offices. While this was successful, the direct farmer impact was dependent on one-on-one interventions with growers, making the scaling model a linear one. The founder also realized that it would take some 30+ years and a multi-million-dollar investment to lift a million farmers out of poverty with that same model.

The Pivot to Blooom

Today, the world is a very different place than when Fairtrasa’s initial scaling model was designed and implemented. In recent years, a myriad of new and sophisticated technologies have become available with exponential scaling effects, which have already disrupted many business sectors. The interconnected systems and the sophistication of skills, communication and technologies described above have profoundly changed the ecosystem, therefore, there are real possibilities of change in less than 15 years.

While Patrick Struebi, one of the authors of this article and founder of Blooom observed these rapid changes in the outer world, he noticed that internally he was going through a similar development while sensing a stronger responsibility for our planet. He experienced an individual mindset shift as part of his own transformation in consciousness and collaboration. Also, the system’s complexity made it clear that change was no longer going to happen through the solo social entrepreneur but rather through co-creating powerful global solutions with a team of teams. At the same time, the valuable support he was giving farmers, which could be defined as “scaled direct service” was in need of a deeper solution that would consider the systemic causes of that problem, not just address the consequences. Thus, he saw the opportunity for a change of strategy from offering direct service and scaled direct service to addressing systems change.

The question he started to ask himself was how to harness the power of cutting-edge technologies, leveraging best practice knowledge, and combine them with new co-creation models in this increasingly interconnected global context?

The answer to this question became Blooom, a global social enterprise aimed at creating a systemic change solution with an exponential impact potential for smallholder farmers. Blooom began as a co-creation by two Ashoka Fellows: two social entrepreneurs who developed solutions independently but realized that the current pace of change and sophistication of technology required more powerful co-creation.

Therefore, Blooom was created as a fully integrated, soil-to-shelf AgTechFootnote 3 platform that addresses global food security and smallholder poverty challenges. It is a user-friendly mobile application based on a crop-agnostic algorithm that provides real-time advice to farmers on how to produce the best crop possible, offering information ranging from weather data to seed inputs. Furthermore, the platform’s smart farming tools enable a return on investment assessment for new crops before planting. For example, the app will help a farmer make an informed decision what to grow and when, based on Blooom’s algorithm, which considers factors such as the farmer’s soil composition, local weather data, and dynamic market price information. It connects farmers with the rest of the world, ending the farmer’s isolation. This is the radical transparency that we referred to above. Local platform specialists, known as “Blooom Entrepreneurs,” ensure even illiterate farmers can use the Blooom app to reap the full benefits, guiding them with best practice and best fit solutions.

Blooom not only significantly increases farmers’ yields; but it also increases their income through a direct sales function to local and international markets, eliminating intermediaries. This ensures benefits to farmers including access to finance and insurance to cover increasingly daunting climatic risks. For example, a Blooom entrepreneur trains and monitors all the smallholder farmers under his supervision and subsequently aggregates and sells their production through the app to a local buyer. All these transactions are recorded and will make previously data-less farmers data-rich. This not only builds their credit score for the first time in their lives but also generates valuable information for insurance and other financial institutions.

Key Components of the Blooom Model

The aim of Blooom is to lift one million farmers out of poverty by 2023 and democratize the future of farming. Key components of the Blooom model are the following:

  1. 1.

    Understanding and mastering the sophistication of skills, communication, and technology

Thanks to a digital platform, tailored information can be delivered to any farmer with internet access, even in the remotest villages. It also allows for direct sales to new and better paying markets, disrupting the traditional food supply chain that has kept smallholders in a vicious cycle of poverty. This allows for exponential scaling and impact, vs traditional high-cost and labor-intensive scaling models.

  1. 2.

    Best Practice and Best Fit Knowledge

Best practice solutions may not always be the right fit, so Blooom builds on traditional farming knowledge (best practice) and contextualizes its information to meet the specific needs of the individual farmer (best fit). The model honors and relies upon traditional expertise and local circumstances. This is supported with enabling access to rich and dynamic data sets such as weather patterns and forecasts, soil composition, and market data. This provides farmers with contextualized information that allows for precision farming on the smallest plot of land.

  1. 3.

    Transformative collaboration: co-creating systems-level change

No one can fix the world alone. Blooom is a joint venture between two leading social enterprises (Fairtrasa and eKutir), which previously operated in two different parts of the world (India and Latin America). While both organizations achieved considerable success in scaling their methodologies (scaled direct service), they did not change the system. Blooom combines both networks, experiences, and know-how to create a global organization that may change the food supply system and democratize the future of farming. In the same spirit, Blooom seeks to collaborate with different supply chain players with proven solutions to become an integral part of the platform. As such, they become a co-creator of an integrated global solution. For example, Uber-like transport companies are linked to the platform to deliver the product to the final customer. Blooom also collaborates with a leading farmer development organization to integrate their training modules into the platform. It is the connections between different networks which create a powerful synergistic effect.

  1. 4.

    Personal connectedness and transformation

At the core of Blooom lies the intrinsic motivation to create a powerful solution to address the twin challenges of global food security and smallholder farmer poverty. It is a motivation that is rooted in love for our planet and a deep sense of responsibility to protect it. Both funders engaged in practices of connectedness that led to understand and embrace a more holistic solution to the problem they were addressing with their own venture.

Climate change has made it clear that we all have a responsibility for our planet and that it must be everyone’s intrinsic motivation to protect it. It is the very same motivation that prompted new business models in the fields of the sharing and circular economy. The same motivation is also changing consumer behavior. An example is the booming market for organic products or the sharp increase in social investments.

This is a clear trend that will grow stronger in the coming years and will require new types of business principles and leadership. It is about business principles that serve as a means to an end, and where co-creation brings forth new innovations for the benefit of all life on earth.

Ingredients for co-Creating Systemic Social Innovation

As Blooom illustrates, there is a need for a new motivation (versus a self-centered or self-serving orientation), new ways of knowing (versus an “I’m the expert” mentality), new ways of organizing and leading (versus top-down, hierarchical, individual models), and new tools for scaling (versus linear scaling models built on exclusivity, authority, competition, and resource consolidation).

Table 1 describes each of these dimensions and provides an illustrative list of new approaches at our disposal for each. While they do not serve as a prescriptive or exhaustive list of interventions, they can inspire new and creative combinations to achieve systemic change at accelerated rates of change.

Table 1 Dimensions for co-creating positive systemic social innovation

Limitations & Call to Action

As a conceptual paper, not grounded in empirical research, we acknowledge that there are limitations to this paper. As a group of multidisciplinary scholars and practitioners, it is our hope that this paper provides rich fodder for discussion and catalyzes several calls to action.

Limitations

This article combines the perspective and experiences of our team in the complementary areas of social innovation, transformation, marketing, management, and sustainability, among others. Several authors have affiliations with Ashoka, and thus the perspectives are drawn significantly from Ashoka’s experiences in shaping the field of social entrepreneurship and innovation and cultivating it across higher education. While Ashoka is a leader in the field of social entrepreneurship and social innovation, it is but one of the many thought leaders highlighted in earlier discussion about the growth of the field. This article is not a comprehensive review of the state of the field or derived from an extensive empirical study. The authors do not pretend to suggest a “magic bullet,” meta-theory, or recipe for social innovation. Rather, we offer a practical and integrated distillation to bring practitioners, educators, and researchers into joint conversations and to inspire further collaboration.

Call to Action

Our perspective on systemic social innovation provides a foundation for a call to action for social innovation practice, teaching, and research. We seek to provoke increased emphasis on practice and teaching that honors the insights and wisdom of all for co-creative problem analysis, implementations, and solutions. We call for increased practices of connectedness for all, whether academic, practitioner, educator, or a general member of society, noting that these practices provide rich fertilizer for a society in which we all will thrive.

Social Innovation Practice

The ideas suggested here have implications not only for social entrepreneurs and social innovators in for profit businesses, but also for social intrapreneurs and organizations across all sectors.

In particular, social innovators and entrepreneurs may find the integrated framework for systemic social innovation a useful reference point to challenge their assumptions of impact, theories of change, and logic models. While direct service and scaled direct services often fill critical gaps in societal needs, there is also a time and place for considering root cause analysis and what transformative collaboration opportunities exist across entities and sectors to achieve systemic social innovation.

At an individual level of analysis, this calls for shifts in personal mindset. For those who already have strong senses of personal consciousness, they may find value in engaging in practices of connectedness as a means of cultivating ongoing compassion and resiliency in the face the often taxing and weary nature of social innovation. Just as Ashoka seeks to mobilize its global network of social entrepreneurial Ashoka Fellows, to facilitate “frame change” across society leading towards an Everyone a Changemaker™ world, practitioners should ask: “How might I help inspire collective mindset shift amongst my own spheres of influence?” and “How might we collaboratively work towards framework change that results in more just and sustainable systems?”

We similarly hope this article inspires an even greater sense of agency and fuels the ambitions of individuals and leaders across all sectors, whether private sector businesses, public sector agencies, or civil society organizations. While joint-ventures, public-private partnerships, and collective impact initiatives have existed for years and continue to proliferate, we believe their true power is yet untapped. We call for research and innovation in new forms of partnership to engage in macro-level transformative collaboration and ultimately expedited systemic social innovation. We also urge practitioners to proactively engage with researchers in pursuit of action research and other methods to co-create knowledge together that bridges theory and practice.

As business people and civil servants at a micro level engage in direct-intuitive experience and practices of connectedness, we are optimistic they will increasingly experience transformations in personal consciousness that lead them to collaborate in transformative ways and find the resilience to face the adversity inherent in systemic change. As organizations apply the concepts of transformative collaboration at the meso level, we anticipate employees and stakeholders will be increasingly unleashed to innovate as changemakers. And as organizations consider that their own success is directly tied to that of other individuals and organizational actors, stronger more resilient ecosystems that benefit all will be forged. We hope that together, the enhanced transformative collaboration across micro, meso, and macro levels will fuel unprecedented rates of systems-level innovation that result in social progress. Yet, we temper this optimism with the caution that any human tool can be used for good or evil. The risky side of social innovation needs to be explored further, and we urgently suggest more research into how to prevent unjust, unethical, or irresponsible applications of such frameworks such as those we have proposed. The policy and regulatory implications need to be carefully assessed. Equally critical is exploring how to incentivize, proliferate, and recognize “responsible” social innovation that truly results in social impact for the good of all.

Social Innovation Teaching

As educators or influencers of education ourselves, we see equally compelling implications across teaching. First and foremost, we acknowledge that just as changemakers must first “be the change you wish to see in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi), educators must embody the principles of transformative collaboration themselves if they hope to cultivate such qualities in their students. Without first self-identifying as someone motivated to make a difference and work in a truly collaborative way, there is no hope for educating the future social intrapreneurs and social innovators. This raises two questions for schools, for doctoral programs, and for centers for faculty teaching and learning: 1) How do educators themselves need to be cultivated, equipped, and nourished? And 2) How might mainstreaming practices of connectedness foster stronger employee engagement and resilience amongst educators result in higher levels of student engagement and achievement as a result?

In light of both the increased pressures facing today’s students and the trend towards disconnectedness from nature, self, and others (Louv2008) resulting from increased engagement with technology, virtual reality, and social media, we call for offering practices of connectedness through both optional student life activities and as part of innovative pedagogies. Given the argument we have made that expedited rates of systemic social innovation are possible and the fact that no social problem is solved by a single actor nor a single sector, we call for higher education to prepare all students, regardless of discipline, with the knowledge and skills to contribute to positive social impact. For those inclined to make systems and frame-level change, we ask, “How might that change how social innovation and entrepreneurship are taught on campus?”

Social Innovation Research

Social innovation research is needed across all business disciplines and all social sciences that identifies the drivers of social progress and improves the tools for accelerating social progress. Most importantly, this needs to be transdisciplinary research that fully comprehends and responds to the complexity of human society. Big science projects like the Human Genome Project have fully deciphered the genetic blueprint for building humans. Big science projects are needed that fully decipher how to include all humans and serve all humans in human social systems.

Also, social innovation research on preventing the unintended consequences of social innovation should become an essential research topic. Human societies need to become sophisticated at managing the pace of social progress. Progress that is too slow can cause societies to fail. Progress that is too fast can destabilize societies and cause failure, too. Ideally, a “Goldilocks Pace” of accelerating social progress can be found that maximizes human opportunity and prosperity. This will require longitudinal research that analyses social innovation successes and failures.

Fundamentally social innovation research should avoid the temptation to merely study human problems but instead seek to become a design science that creates sustainable solutions to human problems. Van Aken (2004) has become a major advocate for design science as the right paradigm for business research (2004, p. 224): “The mission of a design science is to develop knowledge for the design and realization of artefacts, i.e. to solve construction problems, or to be used in the improvement of the performance of existing entities, i.e. to solve improvement problems.” Further, design science approaches to social innovation research should focus on designing for the complexities of human social systems and the real time interactive dynamics of social systems.

Acemoglu and Robinson (2012) did an in-depth historical analysis of why nations fail and concluded that nations prosper or fail based on the prevalence of two institutional forms: inclusive or extractive. Inclusive national structures enable prosperity by expanding opportunities while extractive national structures impoverish those being exploited. Clearly, inclusion should be a foundational principle in social innovation research. Fisk et al. (2018, p. 836) argue that “By understanding human needs for inclusion and designing services to properly meet those needs, higher levels of human progress are possible.”

Finally, the role of technology in modern human societies needs to be carefully studied. Human technology is essential to human progress but severe unintended consequences of every generation of new technology have become common. In recent times, the advent of the Internet, social media, handheld computers, and artificial intelligence were each hailed as profound human advances. Unfortunately, new forms of human exploitation and environmental exploitation were also enabled by these new technologies. Research that reduces the risks and damage from the unintended consequences of new technology is needed. It should be possible for technological innovation and social innovation to occur together.

Conclusion

A very concise summary of our systemic social innovation article is that faster progress, deeper commitment, and wider participation enables systemic social innovation. Faster progress is our driving theme for social innovation. We built our concept of transformative collaboration and our model of accelerating social change on the theme of faster progress. The deeper commitment theme includes the personal consciousness and collective mindset sections of our framework for systemic social innovation. The third theme of wider participation includes our key points about systemic social innovation going from small scale to full system scale because of transformative collaboration. It is also well captured by the Blooom social innovation case.

This article was written to provide a springboard for accelerating social progress. Our team shares the optimistic perspective of the social innovation and humanistic management fields. Collective mindset changes and systems-level social progress are possible. Our purpose is accelerating systemic social innovation that enables human progress, so that we co-create a future where humans and all life can thrive.

Notes

  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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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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41463-019-00056-8

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Keywords

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