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The Process of Social Innovation

The Process of Social Innovation INNOV0102_06-05-31_FINAL.qxd 6/6/2006 5:52 PM Page 145 Geoff Mulgan The Process of Social Innovation Every truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. —Arthur Schopenhauer Much of what we now take for granted in social life began as radical innovation. A century ago, few believed that ordinary people could be trusted to drive cars at high speed, the idea of a national health service freely available was seen as absurdly utopian, the concept of “kindergarten” was still considered revolutionary, and only one country had given women the vote. Yet in the interim, these and many other social innovations have progressed from the margins to the mainstream. During some periods in recent history, civil society provided most of the impetus for social innovation (see box, facing page). The great wave of industrialization and urbanization in the nineteenth century was accompanied by an extraordinary upsurge of social enterprise and innovation: mutual self-help, microcredit, building societies, cooperatives, trade unions, reading clubs, and philanthropic business leaders creating model towns and model schools. In nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain, civil society pioneered the most influential new models of childcare, housing, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization MIT Press

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References (28)

Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
© 2006 Tagore LLC
ISSN
1558-2477
eISSN
1558-2485
DOI
10.1162/itgg.2006.1.2.145
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

INNOV0102_06-05-31_FINAL.qxd 6/6/2006 5:52 PM Page 145 Geoff Mulgan The Process of Social Innovation Every truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. —Arthur Schopenhauer Much of what we now take for granted in social life began as radical innovation. A century ago, few believed that ordinary people could be trusted to drive cars at high speed, the idea of a national health service freely available was seen as absurdly utopian, the concept of “kindergarten” was still considered revolutionary, and only one country had given women the vote. Yet in the interim, these and many other social innovations have progressed from the margins to the mainstream. During some periods in recent history, civil society provided most of the impetus for social innovation (see box, facing page). The great wave of industrialization and urbanization in the nineteenth century was accompanied by an extraordinary upsurge of social enterprise and innovation: mutual self-help, microcredit, building societies, cooperatives, trade unions, reading clubs, and philanthropic business leaders creating model towns and model schools. In nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain, civil society pioneered the most influential new models of childcare, housing,

Journal

Innovations: Technology, Governance, GlobalizationMIT Press

Published: Apr 1, 2006

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