The libraries are equipped with several books on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Modern books cover the latest theories, techniques and varied levels of innovative works. This helps us to figure out the worth of innovation and entrepreneurship for the corporate world and higher education in particular. Now universities are focusing on enabling students to be innovative in every field and not just be job seekers. Rather, they should move to be job providers by becoming entrepreneurs and being critical thinkers. Amongst the many types of innovations, something that really intrigues me is social innovation.
Social innovation in the changing world is possible but not easy. It has several challenges at its operational level. Social innovation is all about devising new ideas for existing social problems and finding solutions through creativity and novelty. This is directly linked to the establishment of Social Entrepreneurship. Muhammad Yunus’s Grameen Bank and Anil Gupta’s Honey Bee Network are renowned examples of operationalizing social innovation and providing society with the benefits of social entrepreneurship. Most social innovations include kindergarten, the cooperative movement, first aid, and the Fair Trade Movement, all of which began with social entrepreneurs and then spread internationally.
Social innovation involves the same core entrepreneurial process of finding opportunities, choosing amongst them, implementing and capturing value. However, it may differ as it is individually-driven where passion for change leads to remarkable and sustainable results. Another important area where individuals have been a powerful source of social innovation can come from the world of user-innovators. These are individuals who experience problems at first hand and often provide the trigger for change in the society.
Social innovation and entrepreneurship do not exist without challenges. No innovation and start-up come easy, and setting such a venture that is social in nature faces business, economic, political and especially financial obstacles. Resources are not easily available and may require broad networking in order to secure funding. Mostly social innovation and startups seek grants and donations that are largely unpredictable.
Social entrepreneurs face difficulties in scaling up their startup. As these initiatives are focused to a large section of the society, scaling up is essential but also a great challenge. It is vital to note that it requires continuous funding along with people who share a similar passion and consensus in achieving goals.
Adding to this there is a human resource challenge as well. As social entrepreneurship is voluntary in nature and people dedicate their time and energy due to their core values and beliefs, the traditional management approach and motivational yardsticks may not work effectively thereby posing a difficulty in availability of expertise and helping hands.
Nonetheless, in spite of all challenges, there is a huge movement towards social innovation and social entrepreneurs in the contemporary world. Millennials and post-millennials are engaging with these thoughts with a clear intention to make the world a better place to live and do business. Social innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives can be a driving force for a country’s intellectual output too.