In Spring 2006, the Young Foundation published Social Silicon Valleys: a manifesto for social innovation, and advocated for a more concerted approach to recognise and develop place-based social innovation and to resource the understanding of the critical role key institutions play in mobilising resources and energies to tackle social problems.
We have since developed and revised our model of social innovation2, having examined the catalysts and barriers for scaling social venture activities within a wider Political, Economic, Social and Technological context.
As part of our ongoing research into this emerging field we are grateful for the support of NESTA which has enabled the Young Foundation to research the process through which organisations (both profit and non-profit) undertake social innovation and we have collated these findings in a series of publications: Social Venturing, Danger and opportunity and The Open Book of Social Innovation
Through this work we have identified the different stages of innovation which have allowed social ventures to better understand the critical development indicators (or diagnostic characteristics) that define these stages, and the timeframe that underpins the innovation process.
Over the last two years, through the development of our Health and Learning Launchpad models, and the creation of individual Young Foundation ventures, we have sought to refine this methodology by testing it against the growth and development of over 30 social ventures.
In doing so, we have been able to practically apply a range of support methods at the different developmental stages so we can help organisations to effectively manage (and hopefully accelerate) the transition between the key phases of concept development, venture support and the mainstreaming of ventures.
This development work has allowed the Young Foundation to continually refine our model of social innovation in this emerging field. Across the Young Foundation, we have been able to consistently apply this model so we can systematically map organisational type, the stage of development and the type of support the ventures we have supported have received and anticipate what support they will need in the future.
Applying our methodology of social innovation to the process of developing social ventures has allowed the Young Foundation to develop a unique framework of providing critical, early-stage support and has enabled us to shape the wider market conditions that influence the mainstreaming of social ventures.