What is the Difference between Social Innovation, Social Enterprise & Social Entrepreneurship?

picture courtesy of The Dallas Morning News
  • Social Innovation is about the IDEA. And not just any “new idea.” For the social sector, social innovation has to be an idea — in the form of a product, service or method — that creates change, performs better than existing solutions and for which the value accrues primarily to society. For example, a cell phone isn’t a socially innovative product by itself, but can be used to diagnose disease. An innovative social service could be a policy change that allows teachers access to student loan deferment or forgiveness to teach in distressed communities or schools. Pay-for-success is an innovative method used to pay for socially beneficial improvements. Ultimately, to truly claim the highest standard of social impact, innovative ideas must be tested.
  • Social Enterprise is about the BUSINESS MODEL. Social enterprise is a business — whether operated by a for-profit or nonprofit — that has a double bottom line of both maximizing social and financial return.While social enterprise may use some philanthropic dollars in the start-up phase or for special projects, it is geared toward the creation of a self-sustaining, market-based business model.
  • Social Entrepreneurship is about the MINDSET. Social entrepreneurs are change agents who are relentless about fashioning bold and creative solutions — through the creation of new organizations or as “intrapreneurs” within existing organizations and communities — to create social change. While they are social entrepreneurs, their organization may or may not be a social enterprise, and their idea may or may not be socially innovative. What defines social entrepreneurs are the three main principles they follow: 1) They fall in love with the problem and not the solution. 2) They believe no one owns a social solution. Instead, it should be co-created with the community to ensure sustainability and impact using a change management philosophy. 3) They know impact is the bottom line of the social sector. They don’t rely on innovation and invention alone; they prove impact and pursue scale — making them both visionary and disciplined in their approach.

--

--

--

Features bite-size posts providing the latest trends and ideas within social sector. Place to be inspired, cross-pollinate, and provoke new thinking.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Social TrendSpotter

Social TrendSpotter

Features bite-size posts providing the latest trends and ideas within social sector. Place to be inspired, cross-pollinate, and provoke new thinking.

More from Medium

Insecurity is a Root Cause of the Retention Crisis

The Future of the Meeting Landscape

Celebration of Growth — New Story Shared with IE

Crossing the Rubicon: Navigating NEW Strategic Shifts in Your Nonprofit