Types of social innovation

Product-based social innovation People find a product or lack of one causing problems and try to modify or create it accordingly.

Access to clean drinking water is a significant problem in many parts of the world.

Aquaduct is a bike that can address this problem. It has a built-in reservoir that one can fill up.

Then, the pedalling motion puts the filter to work, ensuring that a second tank at the front of the bike fills with clean water by the time the rider is home.

Process-based social innovation This type of innovation could include engaging with staff, funders, and all the innovation stakeholders to smoothen the process.

One example is the paid paternity leave in Finland, which allows parents to share childcare responsibilities.

Another is Rwanda’s micro-insurance policy that helps people start small businesses with a safety net under them.

Socially transformative social innovation The final type of social innovation addresses large social systems such as inequality, stereotypes, and so on.

This includes raising awareness, educating the community, and influencing public policy.

For instance, the state of California in the US has a policy requiring all publicly traded companies to have at least one woman on their board of directors.