Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Social Innovation

The power of social entrepreneurship has been well discussed, and the great book, How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, began the debate in earnest a few years ago; and now comes word from the Chronicle of Philanthropy that our new president might be starting an Office of Social Innovation, which if so, is wonderful news.

The Lampstand concept of prisoner reentry built on individual decision-making, acceptance of responsibility, penance, and redemption, is—in the current rehabilitative climate of structural causation of crime—surely an innovative approach.

An excerpt.

“President Barack Obama seems to be in the process of setting up an Office of Social Innovation in the White House. At least, such an entity is included on a list of White House offices on an official Web page describing the Executive Office of the President.

“However, no information is provided about the office and White House press spokesmen have so far not returned messages asking for explanation.

“Many nonprofit leaders have been calling for a White House or federal office to promote innovative approaches to social problems and help entrepreneurial nonprofit groups expand their programs. America Forward, a coalition of more than 70 nonprofit groups, for example, has proposed a White House Office of Social Innovation and Results.

“The office would lift up promising nonprofit organizations for greater visibility and promote outcomes measurement and competition for federal funding within the nonprofit sector,” the group says. (Jennifer Macauley, an America Forward spokeswoman, says she has no information about the status of that proposal.)”