Here you’ll find some great examples of Social Innovation from Northern Ireland and around the world.
To help you, we’ve split them up into the different stages of the Social Innovation Cycle.
This is where ideas get tested in practice. This can be done through simply trying things out, or through more formal pilots, prototypes and randomised control trials.
The process of refining and testing ideas is particularly important in the social economy because it’s through iteration, and trial and error, that coalitions gather strength (for example, linking users to professionals) and conflicts are resolved (including battles with entrenched interests). It’s also through these processes that measures of success come to be agreed upon.
The Building Change Trust’s Techies in Residence programme, which ran in 2015 and 2016, is a great example of this. Techies in Residence saw six local Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector organisations be paired up with six tech professionals to come up with a tech solution to a social problem they had identified within their community.
Specifically, this was not about digital skills development or building a new website – it was about using digital technology to affect social change. For example, the Now Project’s JAM Card, which previously was a plastic card that simply asked retailers and other service providers to give people with disabilities extra time when doing day to day interactions was digitised allowing for the collection of data leading to the eventual mapping of what shops and other places are best for disabled users. Following on from the Techies in Residence programme, this project received £50,000 in funding from the Big Lottery Fund to further develop their work and take the JAM Card to the next level.
Capitalising on the success of the Techies in Residence programme, the Building Change Trust are planning a second phase – due to launch in 2017 with even more projects. You can find out more about the rest of the Techies in Residence projects here:www.techinres.com