Archives

  • Disrupting a Broken System: What the Future Could Look Like for People with Complex Needs
    Vol. 13 (2022)

    Dear Reader,  

    We are pleased to announce that Woods Services, our partner organization, has joined us to curate and launch our May 2022 edition, “Disrupting a Broken System: What the Future Could Look Like for People with Complex Needs”. 

    People with complex medical and behavioral healthcare-needs face challenges in accessing services that are integrated and coordinated. Integration of services and systems needs to be improved in order to meet the unique needs of individuals with intellectual disability and mental health issues. 

    We find solutions first by asking questions. Challenging ourselves with hard quesitons opens our minds to identifying barriers, but more importantly, helps start the journey to finding solutions and innovations. The five essential questions we asked ourselves for this edition include:

    1) How can we learn from the past and improve on best practices? 

    2) What could the future look like if we had model programs and best practices for integrated care that were fully-funded, or if we could widely replicate those models? 

    3) What could the future look like if we brought together payment systems, workforce systems, global human services, child welfare, and criminal justice systems with the services and systems that support individuals all along a continuum and across these aforementioned silos?

    4) What happens when we abruptly close an institution or discontinue funding a particular service model with no viable replacement at hand? 

    5) What if we knew more about the stories of those who have experienced both the benefits of model programs and the tragic consequences of systemic failure, to better inform the work that we do in the health and human services sector? 

    The articles in this edition are grouped under four sub-themes:

    1) Complex Medical and Behavioral Needs Models and Impact of COVID

    2) Global Human Services and Child Welfare Challenges

    3) Education Models 

    4) Workforce Challenges and Innovations 

    This edition of the Social Innovations Journal responds to the questions posed above, highlighting themes, trends and innovative approaches to improving systems and services in the broad mental health, human services, and intellectual disability sectors which affect all stakeholders – individuals receiving services, families, providers, policy-makers and government agencies. We invite you to explore a range of articles, case studies, policy recommendations, innovative approaches and solutions, and testimonials by families who have experienced the best and worst of the systems and policies in place now.  

    Sincerely,

    Tine Hansen-Turton, Woods Services, Guest Edition Curator and Editor 

    Nicholas Torres, Co-Founder, Social Innovations Journal 

  • Innovative and Entrepreneurial Nonprofits and Service Models
    Vol. 12 (2022)

    Dear Reader,

    Imagine a world where social responsibility standards, transparency, and accountability were the norm. Imagine, if the places we lived in responded to the needs of residents, and the values of equity and justice drove our policies and systems.  

    The success of the social sector depends on us embracing both tried-and-true traditional practices while simultaneously stepping out of the box to grow new ideas into innovative practices. To achieve a more just society, we need to shift our recognition processes and structures from traditional small societal circles to the public to nominate, acknowledge, and promote organic changemaker leadership who stands to re-envision social sector solutions. These community changemakers serve as catalysts to reshape communities through their innovative ideas, programs, and policies with the potential to disrupt the political landscape and revolutionize our realities; bringing us forward to a more equitable and inclusive tomorrow, today.  

    Through a public process to nominate, recognize, and promote our most passionate social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers, whose work and social impact too often goes unacknowledged, we start the process of shifting our strategies and investments into the efforts that encourage regions of innovation to thrive and create equitable opportunities for all people.

    The primary challenge regions face is the process of finding those social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers because they are too busy promoting their work. The simple solution to the challenge is to open up the nomination, recognition, and promotion process to the public. The Social Innovations Journal has tested and piloted this idea since 2013, resulting in the discovery of 60-75% ecosystem changemakers who were previously unknown to a region’s social sector investors. These previously unrecognized changemakers have introduced innovative solutions with a concrete impact on a region’s people. The process has also resulted in the identification of the primary social sector categories to drive change and inspire vibrant ecosystems. The public nominations, recognition, and promotion of key social sector categories are Innovations in Social Sector Investing, Innovations in Equity and Justice (i.e., community innovations, innovative partnerships, workforce innovations leading to earning a living wage and economic freedom, and education entrepreneurship), and Innovations in Integrated Healthcare Systems with the Social Determinants of Health (i.e., behavioral health, housing, healthy food access).

    This issue titled Innovative and Entrepreneurial Nonprofits and Service Models highlights samples of our most passionate social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers. The articles within the edition paint a picture of how a city’s ecosystem can be transformed simply by putting processes in place to find, recognize, and celebrate an ecosystem’s most passionate social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers. By putting the decision in the public’s power through nominations and voting, we amplify the voice of the community, educating government, philanthropic investors, and private social impact investors who are spending more time creating social impact and less time trying to meet the perceived interests of funders.

    We hope that this edition serves as a catalyst for cities across the globe to adopt a public nomination, recognition, and promotion process that incentivizes and embraces innovating from the bottom-up by embracing and adopting community solutions. This edition was inspired by a joint effort with NOTLEY and PHILANTHROPITCH, organizations that share a vision to expand the bottom-up model as a new approach to solve our ecosystem's continual challenges of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Their work impacts education, the workforce, economic development, and the social determinants of health. 

    Notley’s strategy is to team up with a diverse range of passionate people and partners within a city’s ecosystem to combat issues across multiple cause areas with the most effective model possible. Notley’s for-profit/nonprofit approach helps them identify solutions quicker and make the most impact possible. They are on a mission to redefine how these sectors intersect and collaborate with the communities they serve to transform with new models never before thought possible. Philanthropitch was founded as a way to support innovative & entrepreneurial nonprofits and operates in four cities annually: Austin, San Antonio, Columbus, and Philadelphia. 

    The Social Innovations Journal’s strategy is to host a publicly nominated and voted ecosystem awards process and ceremony that identifies an ecosystem’s most passionate social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers whose work and the social impact often go unacknowledged. This is typically the case while their efforts are what makes their communities the thriving regions of innovation and opportunity they are. The strategy promotes a culture of bold thinking and problem-solving, increasing awareness and building a culture for social innovation, and increasing Social Impact investments by Social Sector Funders and Investors to an ecosystems changemakers.

    We would like to congratulate all the authors who wrote for this edition, who are not only making a tremendous impact on their communities but are putting in the extra time to share their impact and models with other social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers across the globe.  

     

    Sincerely,

    Nicholas Torres              Georgia Thompson                       Katie Hall            

    Co-Founder/CEO             Chief Programs Officer                Executive Director

    SIJ                                       Notley                                             Philanthropitch

     

                                           

     

     

        

     

     

  • Global Trends in Social Entrepreneurship: Developments in a COVID-19 World
    Vol. 11 (2022)

    Dear Reader,

    In achieving the Social Innovations mission we again have partnered with Ashoka to bring you the latest trends in social entrepreneurship globally.  The Social Innovations Journal is dedicated to social innovators and entrepreneurs who work at the cross-section between the private sector, government, and not-for-profits and aligns them toward collective social impact and public policy goals. 

    In 2018 Ashoka partnered with the Social Innovations Journal to curate a whole issue on the latest trends in the field of Social Entrepreneurship. The issue, titled "From Social Entrepreneurship to Everyone a Changemaker – 40 Years of Social Innovation”, was based on evidence which had emerged from a study open to all Ashoka Fellows, comprised of quantitative and qualitative data.

    Three years later, a pandemic has brought the whole world, perhaps for the first time in history, to experience the same social problem practically at the same time. The severity, scale and simultaneity of the challenge was unprecedented, and it shook the field of social entrepreneurship, much like every other field.

    "Everyone a Changemaker”, the belief that empathy and changemaking are the building blocks for a society where solutions outrun problems, has had a global stress-test. Some social entrepreneurs saw their sources of income collapsed, some others an unparalleled opportunity to grow their impact. The use of technology leapt almost overnight. Its potential to aide human development became clearer, as well as the difference in access to technology became more visible and acute. The potential threat to privacy and democracy also emerged stronger.

    In response, Ashoka, the largest network in the world of social entrepreneurs and changemakers, decided to run another study among its Fellows, to take stock of what is happening in the field considering these pressing developments.  In April 2021, Ashoka launched its Ashoka Fellows Study, comprised of a survey that went out to all fellows and was completed by over 800 social entrepreneurs, from 80 different countries. The study was run in partnership with Tiresia, the Business School of the Polytechnic of Milan, Italy. In May and June 2021, in-depth interviews were carried out with 32 randomly selected social entrepreneurs representing different geographies, fields of work, genders and years of activity. 

    This edition of the Social Innovations Journal titled: "Global Trends in Social Entrepreneurship: Developments in a COVID-19 World"  presents the results and insights based on the study. Insights include implications relevant to business sector, tech, young people, women, DEI as well as social entrepreneurs and those who support them. We encourage you to read all the articles in the journal as outlined below.

    We would like to thank all those who made the 2021Ashoka Impact Study, and this follow-up journal volume, possible: Diana Wells and Alexandra Ioan for your leadership; Faith Rotich, Alyssa Matteucci, Somerset Gall and Meghana Parik for your support; Veronica Chiodo, Mario Calderini and their team at the Polytechnic of Milan for their valuable partnership. A special thank you to the fellows for participating in this study with generosity and honesty. Your inspirational leadership guides us at Ashoka, as well as many others around the world.

    Sincerely,

    Alessandro Valera, Edition Curator and Global Impact & Evidence Team - Europe, Ashoka Italy Founder

    Nicholas Torres, Co-Founder, Social Innovations Journal 

  • Transformative Social Innovations: Cross Sector Collaborations and Partnerships
    Vol. 10 (2021)

    Dear Reader,  

    The pandemic has made it clear that the world is facing increasingly complex challenges. These have manifested in deep social inequalities, high economic instability, and increased fragility of our governance systems across the globe. Additionally, COVID-19 has made more prominent the increasing interdependence of our societies. Thanks to globalization and technological advances, our individual actions can have immediate and wide-reaching effects.  

    Our current context calls for a new approach to understanding problems and new ways of organizing for transformational change. We tend to think about this from a fragmented perspective. For example, social, environmental, and economic challenges are often seen as separate from one another. This narrow view is reflected in how we address problems—focusing on one issue at a time and through siloed efforts. Yet the complexity of global dynamics means that, to achieve lasting change, we need to engage diverse voices and collectively find solutions for the good of all. Bringing together different perspectives can help to make sense of the full picture, balance potential competing goals or values, and pool knowledge and resources to envision new pathways for creating change. 

    In recent years we have witnessed the emergence of unique partnerships and cross-sector collaborations that give us insights into the way forward. Social innovators everywhere are providing systemic and effective solutions that challenge current economic and political models. Although these innovations arise from different concerns and perspectives, they share a focus on co-creation across sectors, more systemic approaches that embrace complexity, and deeper and more diverse citizen participation. Moreover, the conceptual cornerstones that unified the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set a precedent that characterizes and connects cross-sector initiatives. Looking ahead, it will be crucial to accelerate this transition towards a new paradigm that can rise to the challenge of building a more sustainable future.   

    This edition of the Social Innovations Journal titled Transformative Social Innovations: Cross Sector Collaborations and Partnerships outlines the architecture of transformative social innovations, with a focus on Latin America. The edition makes an in-depth examination of outstanding social innovations that have emerged in response to the exacerbation of socio-environmental challenges. These examples illustrate the key elements that contribute to creating positive social transformation and resilient societies. The analysis also reviews the history of social innovation in the region, facilitating an understanding of the emerging principles that the case studies demonstrate.  

    We hope this edition will provide inspiration and useful lessons that social innovation leaders can apply to drive transformative solutions within their own ecosystems; create space for reflection on how to engage diverse voices to innovate; and challenge leaders across sectors to break down barriers to foster co-creation.  

    Yours in Social Innovation

    Nicholas Torres, Co-Founder, Social Innovations Journal

    Linda Peia, Ashoka

    Vanessa Vargas, Ashoka

    Sebastian Gatica, CoLab Innovación Social UC

     

    Special Acknowledgements

    Edition Co-editors: Linda Peia, Maria Cerdio

    Content Curators: Sebastian Gatica, Linda Peia, Vanessa Vargas

    Peer Reviewers: Tasso Azevedo, Hanae Baruchel, Florencia Gay, Alexandra Ioan, Delfina Irazusta, Hector Jorquera, Vincent Lagace, Joaquin Leguia, Maria Luisa Luque, Cristina Monje, Oscar Romo,  Luis Antonio Villanueva, Candelaria Yanzi

    The Latin America compilation is the result of a joint collaboration between Ashoka and the CoLab of Social Innovation - UC thanks to the support of the PES Latam alliance.

  • Health Equity to improve Impact on People’s Health
    Vol. 9 (2021)

    Dear Reader,

    Health Equity requires that “everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthier” by “removing obstacles to health such as poverty….. lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality of education and housing, safe environments, and health care.”[1]  Achieving health equity requires effective solutions by both investing in systems that are designed to improve social and economic conditions including housing, transportation, education, income and employment assistance, child and family supports, and legal and criminal justice services and integrating these investments into often disconnected medical and public health programs tasked with improving health. 

    Applying Social Accountability/Responsibility Standards (Student Recruitment, Selection and Support; Faculty Recruitment and Development, Educational Program, Research, and Governance, School Outcomes and Societal Impact) to academic institutions provides a mechanism to connect, collaborate, and integrate services to increase health equity with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of health service delivery for all.  

    One important Social Accountability Standard is Societal Impact.  Societal Impact ensures that programs and schools are addressing evolving needs in the society, regions and communities they serve.  Academic institutions need to regularly seek to evaluate the outcome of their efforts as well as the impact they are having on graduates and their practice. Ultimately, they should measure their impact on policies, practice and performance of the health system and health in the communities they serve. Assessing the effect of education strategies on health systems and population health is clearly challenging as it is influenced by a multitude of complex, interlinked, dynamic factors and conditions many of which are not within the control of the education institution. Consequently, researchers need to apply multiple methodologies to build evidence for attribution, contribution, and accountability. Schools striving towards greater accountability and impact are beginning to assess impact.

    This edition, written by “pracademics”, focuses on articles in case study and story format that have reduced healthcare inequities and improved the impact on people’s health.  Articles in this edition focus on productive partnerships with health actors including policy makers, health professionals, academic institutions, communities and health administrators.

    The articles featured in this edition provide a framework that academic institutions and health systems to consider when measuring their societal impact.

    [1] Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. From Vision to Action: measures to Mobility a Culture of Health. Princeton: RWJF; 2015.

     

    Nicholas Torres

    Co-Founder, Social Innovations Journal

  • Economic Inequality, Social Mobility, and Institutionalized Racism
    Vol. 7 (2021)

    Dear Reader,

    Income inequality in the United States has steadily worsened since the 1970s.[1] We have experienced a 39% increase in income inequality in under four decades—and it comes as a result of an increase in inequality each decade.[2] Furthermore, with the growth in income inequality in the United States, it is decreasingly plausible that someone born into a lower-income household will achieve a higher income as an adult. A 2012 study by The Pew Charitable Trusts showed that 43% of those born into the bottom fifth of households are stuck there, and with social mobility declining since the 1970s, matters are only worsening.[3]

    People from around the world come to the United States for the promise of the “American Dream,” the notion that a person born into the bottom economic rung can rise to the top. The same Pew study showed that just 4% born into the lowest-earning 20% of United States families rise to the top 20%.[4] We need to face the reality that the American Dream is more suitably titled the “American Myth.” Or, in the words of Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The American Dream is a lie.”[5]

    The situation only becomes more pressing when we consider how income inequality affects Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic and Latino Americans. While the United States has seen massive strides in civil rights, education, and history-making achievement for Black Americans since 1970, median Black household income as a percentage of white household income has only increased 5%—from 56% to 61%—with Latinx Americans earning only slightly more.[6] In terms of social mobility, things are more challenging for people of color, too. Over half of Black Americans born into the bottom fifth of households remain there as adults, while this number drops to 33% for white Americans.[7] It is also more likely that Black Americans will experience downward mobility than white Americans.[8]

    Given the magnitude and enduring nature of these issues, we need more than just solutions. We need innovative solutions that address the underlying institutional, systematic, and societal barriers that collectively—both intentionally and unintentionally—reinforce economic disparities. Articulating these solutions will push us all to think more creatively and act more decisively.

    This edition of The Social Innovations Journal will do just that. We aim to provide insight into the problems of income inequality, social mobility, and the role of institutional and social racism. Moreover, we hope to share solutions and shed light on bright spots where organizations and individuals are overcoming society’s limitations. We also will share policy suggestions and case studies, to encourage lobbyists and policymakers to enact broad changes to make it easier for all people in the United States to achieve the dream we have been promised.

     

    April Kaplowitz, Guest Edition Curator and Editor

    Nicholas Torres, Co-Founder, Social Innovations Journal

     

    [1] U.S. Census Bureau, “Income and Poverty in the United States,” U.S. Census Bureau, 2018, Table A-4.

    [2] Juliana Horowitz, Ruth Igielnik, and Rakesh Kochhar, “Most Americans Say There Is Too Much Economic Inequality in the U.S., but Fewer Than Half Call It a Top Priority,” Pew Research Center, 2020, https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2020/01/09/trends-in-income-and-wealth-inequality.

    [3] The Pew Charitable Trusts, “Pursuing the American Dream: Economic Mobility across Generations,” The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2012, https://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/reports/economic_mobility/pursuingamericandreampdf.pdf; Kathrine Bradbury, “Trends in U.S. Family Income Mobility, 1969 – 2006,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 2011, https://www.bostonfed.org/publications/research-department-working-paper/2011/trends-in-us-family-income-mobility-1969-2006.aspx.

    [4] The Pew Charitable Trusts, “Pursuing the American Dream.”

    [5] Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me. (New York City: Spiegel & Grau, 2015), 52.

    [6] Kathrine Schaeffer, “6 Facts about Economic Inequality in the U.S.,” Pew Research Center, February 7, 2020, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/02/07/6-facts-about-economic-inequality-in-the-u-s.

    [7] The Pew Charitable Trusts, “Pursuing the American Dream.”

    [8] The Pew Charitable Trusts, “Pursuing the American Dream.”

  • A Healthcare Workforce Cadre That Meets A Country’s Needs
    Vol. 8 (2021)

    We live in a global healthcare workforce crisis. The World Health Organization’s Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 (”GSHRH”) emphasizes the importance of dynamic and effective health practitioner regulation to the achievement of SDG3: Good Health and Wellbeing.  In recent years, regulatory mechanisms and resources across WHO Member States have experienced substantial stress due to the increasing volume and privatization of health professional education, rising importance of previously unregulated occupations; emergence of new occupations; emergencies and humanitarian crisis; accelerating international mobility; new modes and cross border service delivery (e.g. use of digital technology); increasing focus on team-based and integrated networks for service delivery; as well as increasing consumer demand, expectation and knowledge.  A synthesis paper was published in February 2015 to inform the beginning of a Global Strategy which is of tremendous value to all relevant stakeholders in the health workforce area, including public and private sector employers, professional associations, education and training institutions, labour unions, bilateral and multilateral development partners, international organizations, and civil society.

    Driven by a moral compact to mend the fabric of our communities upon which health depends, The Social Innovations Journal has partnered with The Network: Toward Unity For Health (TUFH), Physician Assistants for Global Health (PAGH), International Academy of PA Educators (IAPAE), International PA Organization (IPAO), Global Association for Clinical Officers (GACOPA), and the International Federation of Physician Assistants/Physician Associates and Clinical Officer/Clinical Associate/Comparable Student Federation (IFPACS), the Beyond Flexner Alliance, and AFREHealth to strengthen knowledge networks in order to share experience and best practices in health practitioner frameworks and their evolution across countries. We believe that strengthening knowledge networks will lead toward the adoption and implementation of global policy recommendations locally.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2008 advocated for “Treat, Train, Retain” which refers to the implementation of task-shifting in attempt to meet the unmet burden of disease.  Task shifting/sharing refers to healthcare workers with less training and qualifications performing tasks and activities that meet the country’s needs.  There isn’t any set structure on how to implement task shifting; however, there is an abundance of literature describing the need for task-shifting and task sharing.  The Beyond Flexner Alliance launched The Health Workforce Diversity Tracker to promote greater racial and ethnic parity in the health workforce through measurement and accountability.  The issue of highest concern, in terms of inequalities in healthcare is deepening the diversity of the workforce as an optimal strategy to address racial disparities. But this goal remains elusive without accurate data on the composition of the workforce, the pipeline, and clear benchmarks for organizations to strive toward.  The Health Workforce Diversity Tracker is dedicated to addressing under-representation among healthcare workers by analyzing data on the diversity of the health workforce and the educational pipeline across thirty health occupations, from front-line workers to physicians.

    Combining the reality of task-shifting within the promotion of racial and ethnic parity in the health workforce, this edition of the Social Innovations Journal titled: A Healthcare Cadre That Meets A Country’s Needs provides practical tools and solutions to support local change networks to address the global health workforce crisis. Included in this edition, to serve as a guide for other healthcare workforce cadres, is a database of articles as a medical anthropological approach by a non-physician clinician for 31 countries for non-physician clinicians. This data has not been previously described in the literature by NPCs themselves and we hope this concentration of country-by-country case studies serves as a window of one workforce cadre to fulfill the healthcare workforce gap. 

     

    Mary Showstark, Guest Edition Curator and Editor

    Nicholas Torres, Co-Founder, Social Innovations Journal

  • Innovations in Community-Based and Center Based Services
    Vol. 6 (2021)

    Dear Reader, 

    Since the advent of key pieces of federal legislation, including the Community Mental Health Act of 1963, the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, and the Olmstead Decision of 1999, the trend has remained consistent towards locating services in the community and in the home for children and adults with all kinds of disabilities, including mental health challenges, intellectual disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, and others. In the Olmstead Decision, the Supreme Court held that community-based services should be provided to persons with disabilities when (1) such services are appropriate; (2) the affected persons do not oppose community-based treatment; and (3) community-based services can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the public entity and the needs of others who are receiving disability services from the entity.   

    When state psychiatric institutions were closed rapidly in the 1950s and subsequent decades when community-based services were not yet widely available, followed by legislation in the 1980s that drastically reduced spending on mental health services, there was a dramatic increase in homelessness of persons with mental health conditions that persists to the present day. Recent events in which people with mental health issues have had disastrous encounters with law enforcement have further illustrated the scope of unmet needs of individuals with mental health conditions.  

    Clearly the majority of people can be successful receiving services in the home or community, while a small number require a higher level of care and more intensive services. But thoughtful consideration must be given to creative and innovative ways to ensure that programs and services are actually available for people who require them, allowing for maximum choice on their part – especially those with complex needs.  And these services should offer the greatest level of independence and safety for all community members. 

    This edition of the Social Innovations Journal focuses on the progress made in developing community-based services where once there were few or none, as well as policy implications surrounding services and systems which remain fragmented, and best practices and models.  This edition explores a broad range of themes which address far-reaching topics relating to innovations in policy on how we will address the dire workforce crisis that touches nearly every corner of the human services sector, innovations in the use of data, and systems integration and models that exemplify innovative solutions to providing services in community-based settings.  

    Tine Hansen-Turton, Woods Services, Guest Edition Curator and Editor

    Nicholas Torres, Co-Founder, Social Innovations Journal

  • Innovative Practices for Systems Transformations
    Vol. 5 (2021)

    Dear Reader,

    This edition titled, Innovative Practices for Systems Transformations, of the Social Innovations Journal is sponsored by the Transformations Community, a generative space and catalyzing force for sustainability research and practice. This global community of transformation “pracademics” (both practitioner and researcher) is responding to a growing recognition that we need new approaches to address climate change and other existential threats to social-ecological systems.

    In the spirit of the community’s pracademic identity, this edition lies between the formalistic rigor of scholarly peer-reviewed scientific articles and the advice and case histories and practical wisdom that are the lifeblood of communities of practice. This edition captures and shares what Aristotle called “phronesis”, or the practical wisdom of our members that is situated in specific time and place and requires deliberation, judgment, and choice, and above all, experience. This edition is divided into four sections, each with its own style, perspective on practice, and relationship between the authors and practitioner communities.

    The first section, Social Innovation In a Time of Disruption, contains five articles that Guest Editor Bruce Goldstein wrote that consider how social innovation organizations can maintain the enabling conditions for productivity, commitment, creativity, and purpose in a time of disruption. These papers emerged from his three-year partnership with a group of highly experienced and effective “netweavers” who shared what they had learned about how to pursue social justice and ecological and economic well-being while working remotely within collaborative learning networks. The core of these articles are the verbatim words of the netweavers themselves, which he organized and accompanied with enough commentary to make them coherent and cohesive. These articles are very timely as we emerge into a world transformed by the Covid-19 pandemic and poised to move beyond the reactionary Trump years. They get to the heart of how to lead our organizations to address seemingly intractable problems (such as systemic racism and climate change), adapt to changing conditions and new contexts, scale innovation, and respond rapidly to crisis.

    The second section, Transformation Workshop Papers, contains three articles written by Transformations Community members who facilitated interactive community online workshops. These papers provide guidance on how to organize and facilitate participatory visioning exercises to help diverse communities identify desirable social-ecological transformation pathways. They include a participatory food systems sustainability assessment framework from Europe, a method for people to reflect on their own social-ecological agency developed in a transformation laboratory in Mexico, and a scenario-building process that was developed in southern Africa for grappling with complex social-ecological issues and envisioning desirable futures. These approaches exemplify the focus of the transformative community on empowering diverse people to engage in knowledge co-production to enhance their ability to foster systems change.

    The third section contains four articles that capture the diversity and richness of the work undertaken by members of the Transformations Community. The first considers how visioning and project evaluation imported from the developed north to the global south are an expression of colonization, and can be improved by taking a more systemic perspective grounded in local culture and context. The second considers how a systems approach to evaluation can address the field’s fixation on projects, short timeframes, quantitative solutions, and accountability. The third article describes a way to visualize governance transformations across a regional transect, in order to understand how government, civil society and market forces can create positive momentum to respond to ecosystem change. The final article considers how a whole person learning approach can enhance individual capacities for social innovation, and describes how the Wolf Willow Institute for Systems Learning is teaching social innovators about systems change

    The final section, includes four contributions that complement the perspectives of the Transformations Community of Practice and suggest possibilities for collaboration and mutual learning. These four articles address the self-advocacy skills required of legal services clients in low-income communities, examine the work of the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND), propose how social innovation networks can advance the practice of social innovation diplomacy, and consider how online social enterprise directories can address diverse stakeholder needs by overcoming common challenges in the social enterprise sector.

    Considered as a whole, the articles in this special issue provide a fascinating cross-section of the highly participatory and action-oriented work of the Transformations Community of Practice.

    We conclude by offering special thanks to Lisa Smith, the production editor of this special issue and Tica Lubin, who created the Transformations Community website and Netweaver Network website that hosts the workshops and netweaver dialogue series.

     

    Bruce Goldstein, University of Colorado Boulder, Guest Edition Curator and Editor

    Nicholas Torres, Co-Founder, Social Innovations Journal

  • Social Accountability and Accreditation; Interprofessional Education and Team Based Care; and Population Health Approaches to Global Health Access and Equitable Health
    Vol. 3 (2020)

    Dear Reader,

    This edition of the Social Innovations Journal was curated by The Network: Toward Unity for Health (TUFH), an official non state actor of the World Health Organization (WHO). TUFH is driven by a moral compact to mend the fabric of our communities upon which health depends. The Network: Toward Unity For Health is committed to drive communal interests by supporting local change agents work toward the adoption and implementation of global policy recommendations. TUFH concentrates its efforts on practical tools and solutions that can achieve action by local change networks.

    TUFH does its work by bringing the "Partnership Pentagram" to life by supporting local change agents and Networks. TUFH’s "Partnership Pentagram" is framed within the sustainable development goals and social determinants of health emphasizing that creating a health system based upon people’s needs must not only involve the five key players in the change process, but must also do so within the context of where people live and work. TUFH engages policymakers, academic institutions, health professionals, and communities to collectively address the underlying barriers to healthy individuals and communities.

    This edition highlights three policy action papers on social accountability and accreditation, interprofessional education and team-based care, and population health which were driven by TUFH’s policy fellows and guided by global thought leaders through TUFH’s Taskforces. Each policy action paper provides concrete policy recommendations and action steps for ministries of health, academic institutions, and health systems to adopt and implement. This edition also highlights best practices around the globe on the adoption and implementation of social accountability and accreditation, interprofessional education and team-based care, and population health.

    Around the world, global health policy leaders and associations are convening global leaders, publishing research and policy articles, and releasing “call to action” initiatives for political leaders and health system institutions to adopt and implement. Many of these recommendations are framed within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, indirectly correlated with the social determinants of health, indicating that health is much broader than clinical interventions. Today, we witness hospitals and health systems being more like “repair shops,” trying to correct the damage of causes collectively denoted “social determinants of health.” The global fabric of our communities upon which health depends is torn and we must heal this fabric through communal interests.

    We hope this edition is a first step toward healing the fabric of our communities.

    Sincerely,

    Nicholas Torres

    Co-Founder

  • Women, Migrant and Refugee, and Remote and Rural Health Care Best Practices
    Vol. 4 (2020)

    Dear Reader,

     

    This edition of the Social Innovations Journal is curated by The Network: Toward Unity for Health (TUFH), an official non-state actor of the World Health Organization. TUFH is driven by a moral compact to mend the fabric of our communities upon which health depends. The Network: Toward Unity For Health is committed to driving communal interests by supporting local change agents toward the adoption and implementation of global policy recommendations. TUFH concentrates its efforts on practical tools and solutions that achieve action by local change networks.

    TUFH does its work by bringing the “Partnership Pentagram” to life by supporting local change agents and networks. TUFH’s “Partnership Pentagram” is framed within the sustainable development goals and social determinants of health, emphasizing that creating a health system based upon people’s needs must not only involve the five key players in the change process, but must do so within the context of where people live and work. TUFH engages policymakers, academic institutions, health professionals, and communities to collectively address the underlying barriers to healthy individuals and communities.

    This edition highlights three policy action papers on women, migrant and refugee populations, and aging society health which were driven by TUFH’s policy fellows and guided by global thought leaders through TUFH’s taskforces. Each policy action paper provides concrete policy recommendations and actions steps for ministries of health, academic institutions, and health systems to adopt and implement. This edition also highlights best practices around the globe on the adoption and implementation of best practices in women, migrant and refugee, remote and rural, and aging society health.

    Around the world, global health policy leaders and associations are convening global leaders, publishing research and policy articles, and releasing “call to action” initiatives for political leaders and health system institutions to adopt and implement. Many of these recommendations are framed within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, indirectly correlated with the social determinants of health, indicating that health is much broader than clinical interventions. Today, we witness hospitals and health systems being more like “repair shops,” trying to correct the damage of causes collectively denoted “social determinants of health.” The global fabric of our communities upon which health depends is torn and we must heal this fabric through communal interests.

    We hope this edition is a first step toward healing this fabric.

     

    Sincerely,

    Nicholas Torres

    Co-Founder

     

  • Social Mobility: Inspiring and Building the Capacity of Local Change Agents to Impact Poverty
    Vol. 2 (2020)

    Dear Reader,

    For more than 10 years; The Social Innovations Journal has connected and inspired local change agents through the sharing of knowledge, best practices, and research to reduce poverty. Concrete impact and change require more than education and engagement -- it requires strategic action. This edition of the Social Innovations Journal highlights the strategies of key actors within the Philadelphia ecosystem who are collectively moving the needle on poverty.  To ensure we always have an international flavor, we have also included three articles related to initiatives in Venezuela as related to Social Mobility.

    To provide context, nearly one in four Philadelphians is living at or below the federal poverty line. Philadelphia's poverty rate is the highest among the 10 largest cities in the United States; and is more than double the national average. There are numerous city-run programs as well as 384 nonprofit organizations with the word "poverty" included in their missions that provide assistance to the residents of Philadelphia. Philadelphia City Council released its Poverty Action Plan focused on three strategies: Social Safety Net, Housing, and Jobs and Education.

    Legislators, government, not-for-profits, academic institutions, and to some extent private companies are all tackling poverty. Despite these efforts, agreed upon strategies, and an ongoing call to action, limited change has occurred for the simple reason that poverty is complex. What is needed is an agreed upon shared measurements and evaluation system that can assess the collective efforts and impact for all organizations. A shared measurement and a system-wide evaluation system would accomplish three things:

    • Measure the collective impact of all organizations working on poverty in the region, with the understanding that poverty can be reduced if the collective is aligned on what is important to assess.
    • Transparency in reporting that will provide organizations, and the collective, the opportunity to adjust their strategies/initiatives if the agreed upon measurements are not being achieved.
    • Data gathering from the collective that can be used to influence local, state, and national anti-poverty policies.

    Generally, local change is either driven by local change agents defined as individuals or institutions that are in a position to influence system behavior at their level OR policy change agents defined as governmental policymakers, regulators, or legislators who are advocating, organizing, and supporting change in a sustainable manner. Rather than local change agents working independently and often in isolation of each other, sustainable change will occur when change agents align their efforts towards collective impact through shared measurement goals.

    At the Social Innovations Journal, we believe that if we create platforms for the fostering of dialogue, learning, new knowledge, and the creation of communities of practice then we will inspire local change and policy agents to take action locally through adopting and implementing policy and strategy recommendations.

    We hope this edition inspires greater collaboration that results in collective action and impact to holistically address poverty in Greater Philadelphia as well as other ecosystems to ultimately help move individuals up the social mobility ladder to a living wage to reduce economic disparities. 

     

    Sincerely,

    Nicholas Torres, Edition Curator

  • An Insight Into Social Innovations Within the Human Services System and Population Health
    Vol. 1 (2020)

    An Insight into Social Innovations Within the Human Services System and Population Health highlights the beginning of a shift of human service organizations to a population health strategy. The relevance and applicability of population health to the human services is often overlooked as it is predominantly associated with the health care industry. However, health and human service leaders are shedding the old ways of doing business in favor of new approaches that are innovative, efficient, effective, and responsive to the needs and demands of focus populations.  

    In this issue, health and human services leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs share ideas on meaningful and inclusive strategic planning practices that disrupt the status quo; effective change processes that result in successful and sustainable changes at both the micro (organizational) and macro (state-wide systems) levels; technological innovations that engage people in the healing process; and much more.

    Readers will gain a greater sense of the promise that the intersectionality of social innovation, population health, and change initiatives hold across the spectrum of the human services system.