What is the Process of Collaborative Social Innovation? ?· Calgary’s Network for Collaborative Social…

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


  • Calgarys Network for Collaborative Social Innovation Backgrounder Series #3

    What is the Process of Collaborative Social Innovation?

    To understand the key process elements of collaborative social innovation (CSI), we reviewed the literature on key social innovation approaches and summarized the most salient ones in Table 1.

    Table 1: Social Innovation Process Comparisons Intentional Innovation


    Design Thinking2 Open Book on

    Social Innovation3

    Innovative Intelligence


    Change Lab / U-Process


    1. Setting the right conditions

    Co-Initiating: Build

    common intent

    2. Frame the issue or design question

    Inspiration (hear):

    develop a design brief

    Prompts: Inspiration

    and diagnosis


    Understand the issue and develop a project charter


    Observe, learn, learning journeys, systems analysis, frame

    Issue Redefinition:

    Surface the underlying issues

    3. Generate Ideas Ideate (create): the

    process of generating, developing and testing ideas.

    Proposals and


    Idea Generation Co-Presencing:

    Allow new ideas to emerge

    4. Prototype: Experiment to test the ideas

    Prototyping and

    pilots; build to think; make solutions tangible

    Implementation Planning: evaluate

    the best ideas and mitigate risk


    Rapid cycle prototyping; design thinking, etc.

    5. Implement Implementation the

    path that leads from the project into peoples lives

    Sustaining (as

    every day practice includes budgets, teams, policy, etc.)

    Implement Co-Evolving:

    Create new realities; strategic design to scale up

    6. Share innovations with a broader set of stakeholders


    strategies for growing & spread-ing an innovation

    Systems Change: the ultimate goal of social innovation

    1 W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 2008. Intentional Innovation: How Getting More Systematic about Innovation Could

    Improve Philanthropy and Increase Social Impact. http://www.monitorinstitute.com/downloads/IntentionalInnovation-

    ExecutiveSummary.pdf 2 Brown, Tim and Jocelyn Wyatt. Winter 2010. Design Thinking for Social Innovation. Stanford Social Innovation

    Review. http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/design_thinking_for_social_innovation 3 Murray, Robin; Julie Caulier-Grice and Geoff Mulgan. 2012. The Open Book of Social Innovation. NESTA & The

    Young Foundation. http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/assets/features/the_open_book_of_social_innovation 4 Weiss, David and Claude Legrand. 2011 Innovative Intelligence: The Art and Practice of Leading Sustainable

    Innovation in your Organization. 5 Reos Partners Change Labs http://reospartners.com/services; http://www.meadowlark.co/theory_u_overview.pdf


  • Calgarys Network for Collaborative Social Innovation Backgrounder Series #3

    The LBN Process of Collaborative Social Innovation

    Each of the processes in Table 1 have informed the LBN approach to CSI. However, none alone have adequately captured all of the specifics of LBNs context of:

    a) Taking an overtly collaborative approach,

    b) Focusing on system level change, and

    c) Being very intentional about using a rigourous approach to prototyping.

    Therefore, inspired by the above processes and our experience and learning so far, LBN has proposed an eight step CSI process to successfully set the stage and collaboratively take social innovation ideas from spark to impact to scale (see Table 2: LBNs 8 Step CSI Process).

    Here are the caveats.

    Firstly, this is a working model and may be revised as we learn more.

    Often depicted in a spiral or U shape, the process of CSI is not linear and the steps are not always sequential.

    o Often, the end use of an innovation will be very different from the one that was originally envisaged; sometimes action precedes understanding and sometimes taking action crystallizes the idea. There are feedback loops and leaps between every stage, which

    make real innovations more like multiple spirals than straight lines.6

    There are feedback loops between the steps and they can also be thought of as overlapping spaces, with distinct cultures and skills.

    The steps can also be used as a framework for thinking about the different kinds of support that innovators and innovations need in order to make progress on complex social issues.

    o The symbol () in the table suggests key points for securing resources to support the next phase.

    6 From http://www.socialinnovator.info/process-social-innovation


  • Calgarys Network for Collaborative Social Innovation Backgrounder Series #3

    Table 2: LBNs 8 Step CSI Process

    The LBN Process of Collaborative Social Innovation Working Model

    Secure resources to support next steps

    1. Co-Initiate Set the right conditions and culture

    Curate connections and a culture supportive of CSI

    2. Co-Sensing Frame the issue or design question

    Observe and learn to understand the issue and develop a CSI initiative design brief to frame the problem space.

    Secure resources to support next steps

    3. Co-Presence Generate Ideas

    Imagine solutions that address the most influential leverage points within the problem space as framed in the design brief

    4. Prepare for Prototyping

    Confirm the innovation team; document a clear hypothesis of record and key assumptions; develop a plan for testing the hypothesis.

    5. Co-create /Prototype Experiment to test ideas

    Run rapid small-scale disciplined experiments to test assumptions, document observations/feedback through reflection-in-action, compare predictions with the actual outcomes, assess lessons learned. Revise the plan and repeat (as needed). Admit and learn from failure or choose the most viable, feasible and desirable version of the innovation idea.

    If the prototype results prove to be promising, secure resources to support next steps

    6. Co-Evolve Implement*

    Deliver & Sustain: identify the path that leads from the prototype stage to pilot stage to everyday practice and improving peoples lives (includes budgets, human resources, policy change needed, etc.)

    7. Scale Out Share innovations with a broader set of stakeholders

    Replication & Diffusion: develop strategies for growing and spreading the innovation.

    8. Scale Up Systems Change

    The ultimate goal of collaborative social innovation involves changes to concepts and mindsetssystems only change when people think and behave in new ways, and may involve changes in patterns of resource flow, power and practices. CSI involves multiple sectors new relationships between business, government, civil society and individual citizens.

    * Note that we are not yet here in our own learning process such that this is our best guess at what this

    looks like and, likewise, are still conducting research on this step and beyond in the literature.


View more >