Compiling social innovations

Recognizing social inventions

For several years, the Institute of Social Innovations has focused on gathering ideas and projects for social improvements from around the world and publishing the best of these. Each year the Institute now runs a competition, with people from around the world encouraged to send in up to one thousand words about their ideas and projects. This idea-gathering culminated in the publication of several editions of an Encyclopaedia of Social Innovations with over 2,000 best ideas along with the addresses and contact details for their originators.

A team of 30 telephone operators work non-stop for the Netherland's National Ideas Line, recording and assessing creative ideas. More than 1,500 ideas were logged in its first two years of operation and a large number of them have been labelled "viable" or inspired. The ideas are rated according to originality, commercial potential, cost, and social and political consequences. The better ones are then passed on to potential backers and the ideas Line takes a percentage from those developed, as is likely with an energy-saving light bulb which changes colour as use increases or decreases. Other ideas include a new anti-gambling programme, an anonymous line on which workers could report dangerous or unhealthy working practices without risking intimidation, and a "green" card that would give shoppers discounts at large stores if they used public transport.

Facilitated by:
Networking social inventors
Invention Invention
Society Social
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure