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What is Social Innovation?

Simply put, social innovation is finding new and innovative solutions to existing social problems. These solutions can take the form of new products, services, models, markets or processes. Crucially, social innovation seeks not only to resolve the immediate social problem but also enhances society’s capacity to act in future.

What is Social Innovation NI?
An initiative of the Building Change Trust, Social Innovation NI is a cross-sectoral collaboration which aims to make it easier for those with innovative solutions to social challenges to access the support they need to deliver their ideas with impact and at scale.
Social Innovation NI will deliver its own innovation support and also provide signposting information about other supports available – whether funding or technical support– in Northern Ireland and beyond.
What do we want to achieve?
Our aim is to embed Social Innovation as the ‘new normal’ way of developing and delivering solutions to the many social challenges Northern Ireland society faces. We are going to do this through:
Learning
We believe in a vibrant, diverse & active innovation community that is: internationally engaged, embraces the sharing of knowledge across sectors, adopts learning by doing, and is data-driven.
Funding
We want to see a funding environment that is: more open, transparent and data driven, incentivizes and rewards risk, supports diverse approaches, is more outcome-based and includes more funding for social innovation.
Influence
We hope Social Innovation NI will influence broader change through: smarter outcome-focused commissioning, the adoption of an idea of innovation that goes beyond the private sector, and a culture of meaningful risk-taking.
Collaboration
We would like to see more and better collaboration across sectors using co-design approaches that embed community involvement and equal partnership and encourage the sharing of resources for maximum impact.
Who is involved in Social Innovation NI?
Social Innovation NI is a cross-sectoral collaboration of organisations who want to see innovation at the heart of solving social problems in Northern Ireland. The following organisations are delivering Social Innovation NI’s own programmes:
A whole host of other organisations contributed to the co-design of the Social Innovation NI initiative during the first 9 months of 2016, including:
The Fine Print
Social Innovation NI is co-ordinated by the Building Change Trust, as part of their work in Social Innovation, with generous support from the Department for Communities.
The Building Change Trust was established by the Big Lottery Fund with a National Lottery grant of £10million as an investment for community capacity building and promotion of the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland.
The Building Change Trust is a charity registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC103379 , its corporate Trustee, Building Change Trust Limited is registered as a company limited by guarantee in Northern Ireland NI071182