“But innovation - whether driven by an individual or a team - can happen anywhere. It’s fueled by a restless intellectual curiosity, deep optimism, the ability to accept repeated failure as the price of ultimate success, a relentless work ethic, and a mindset that encourages not just ideas, but action.” - Tom Kelley & David Kelley, Creative Confidence

Photo by Uzunov Rostislav

Social innovation is about creating solutions that meet the needs of society to achieve long-term social change in an inclusive, sustainable and healthy way. Two crucial factors for this to occur are collaboration and co-creation between all relevant stakeholders to ensure exchange of knowledge, perspectives, and ideas. 

Socially creative strategies take social structures and social environments into consideration. Social innovation starts with a common understanding of the problem and a shared agenda, guided by a strategic framework such as the public roadmap of the EHC Think Tank, and builds on existing systems instead of starting from scratch. It is driven by system leaders who are willing to commit to ongoing learning – they learn by doing, regularly reflect, and are in it for the long term.

Not only do they work with the whole, larger system but also ‘co-create’ the future via inspiring, positive visions that are shared among all stakeholders who hold each other accountable, communicate openly and consistently, and track progress via shared measurement systems.

A sufficiently funded ‘backbone’ organisation that takes ownership of the network, provides staffing support, and training and facilitation, is essential for driving social change. So is having a steering committee to help decide what to focus on and how to move forward in a sustainable way.

In the EHC Think Tank, the Think Tank Council offers strategic advice, guidance, and input on its externally-facing work, particularly on the focus and composition of workstreams. The EHC Think Tank also has consultants on board and hosts informal events regularly to increase and sustain community engagement.

Social innovation can be achieved through applying a design-thinking approach. Design thinking is a human-centered approach to create better solutions to social problems by addressing the needs of the consumers/patients. Design thinking rejects the idea that failure is bad – rather, it is a source of learning. The process therefore consists of three spaces: 

1. Inspiration – a problem that needs to be solved,

2. Ideation – ideas that are generated and tested, and 

3. Implementation – ideas that are turned into actions.

The EHC Think Tank strives to achieve social change by applying a human-centered approach to ‘co-create’ a better future for all stakeholders involved.