Funding Social Innovation: How Do We Know What To Grow?
This article takes issue with the most dominant approach to interpreting how and why social inventions go to scale – the analysis of social innovation diffusion and impact as an aspect of market growth. This “supply-demand” approach is most clearly represented in the work of the Young Foundation in England, a group of scholars and researchers who have done a tremendous amount of documentation and research on social innovation. Market growth is the reflection of an increase in both demand and supply and, hence, an indicator of “successful” innovation. The authors argue that this approach to the growth of social innovation is less helpful than it might otherwise be had it adopted a more complex definition of the market for social innovation, and an alternative method is viewed.