Social Innovation

How can designers amplify existing models of social innovation? Social innovation is a process by which individuals or groups find new ways to solve common challenges or problems. For example, cohousing, coworking, car and bike-sharing programs, food co-ops, bartering systems, alternative currencies and “do it yourself” projects have emerged in response to pressures such as high housing costs, the alienation of “virtual” work, unsustainable forms of mobility, the declining quality of food systems and the pervasiveness of the transactional economy, which eliminates the need for social exchange. In order to address these challenges, designers must think holistically about emergent organizational structures and complex systems of exchange while harnessing information technology in order to enable new forms of organizing and opportunities for social innovation.