The Social Innovation Imperative: Create Winning Products, Services, and Programs that Solve Society's Most Pressing Challenges [NOOK Book]


“This book is a must read for anyone who cares about the well-being of humanity in our modern world.”

—Jake B. Schrum, President Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX

The Social Innovation Imperative advances a best practice framework to solving the world’s most ...

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The Social Innovation Imperative: Create Winning Products, Services, and Programs that Solve Society's Most Pressing Challenges

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“This book is a must read for anyone who cares about the well-being of humanity in our modern world.”

—Jake B. Schrum, President Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX

The Social Innovation Imperative advances a best practice framework to solving the world’s most pressing social issues. This is a foundational guide to changing the world that will be referenced for years to come.”

—Michael Reynolds, Vice President, Product Development and Management, Cigna Health Care

“Advancing the works of Clayton Christensen, Tony Ulwick, and others, Bates gives us a systematic approach for addressing critical human needs and the ecosystems in which they persist. This book is a blueprint to help us solve the ‘right’ things—the ‘right’ way.”

—Joe Grieshop, President, Chief Innovation Executive, netTrekker, Founding Partner, Knovation Lab

“Bates lays out a comprehensive, needs-driven approach for creating a social innovation road map. The detailed templates she provides offer particular insight for large, complex challenges.”

—Sarah Miller Caldicott, author of Innovate Like Edison and Inventing The Future, great-grandniece of Thomas Edison

“Bates shows how to create comprehensive innovation strategies using a six-step framework, and she gives the reader detailed ‘how to’ instruction for each step.”

—Ellen Domb, Ph.D., President, PQR Group, Founder of The TRIZ Journal

About the Book:

In recent years, business leaders have been investing unprecedented amounts of time and money pursuing innovation to drive profits and growth. Although far from perfected, the innovation best practices they follow are by now well established.

But when your expected ROI isn’t measured in dollars but in social good, the game is played very differently—which is where The Social Innovation Imperative comes in.

Sandra M. Bates has spent the last decade helping major corporations create new markets for technology, consumer goods, and services. Now, she turns her attention to the social sector. The Social Innovation Imperative begins by explaining why innovation in social sectors, such as health care, conservation, and education, is unique and then provides the framework and tools that create a best practice for driving innovative change that will impact our world.

Bates organizes the process into action-oriented steps you can follow to meet your goals effectively and in the most efficient manner possible. Learn how to:

Investigate the Needs—define the social challenge, determine unmet needs, and examine opportunities for achieving them

Innovate the Solution—devise a workable solution and develop a powerful social business model

Implement the Solution—ensure the solution creates shared value and discover techniques to make certain that it does not become an orphan innovation

In The Social Innovation Imperative, Bates combines everything she has learned as a high-level business consultant to offer a refreshing new approach for developing breakthrough products, programs, and services to meet society’s needs.

The Framework for Social Innovation outlined in this book removes the mystery from innovation success and provides a systematic approach anyone can adopt. The Social Innovation Imperative offers essential wisdom for innovators everywhere—whether nonprofits, NGOs, foundations, government agencies, or corporations—who wish to generate meaningful social value.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071760157
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
  • Publication date: 12/20/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • File size: 9 MB

Meet the Author

Sandra M. Bates has worked with more than 50 companies, spanning dozens of industries, and more than 100 innovation initiatives, helping executive teams launch award-winning products, services, and programs. She most recently founded The Innovation Partners, a group focused on generating social impact through innovation. Bates was also the executive director and cofounder of the Strategyn Institute, where she engaged and trained hundreds of executives in the Outcome-Driven Innovation methodology, allowing her to enjoy both consulting and teaching others.

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Read an Excerpt


Create Winning Products, Services, and Programs That Solve Society's Most Pressing Challenges


The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2012The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-175499-6




Poverty, hunger, terrorism, natural disasters, environmental damage, lonely elderly, poor graduation rates, inaccessible health care—these are issues we know well. They have plagued us for generations because they are "wicked problems."

Wicked problems are complex and involve several different constituents with competing objectives. They plague us because they defy our traditional means of problem solving: they are caused in numerous ways; they are interwoven and difficult to untangle. John Camillus, the author of the Harvard Business Review article, "Strategy as a Wicked Problem," observes, "Not only do conventional processes fail to tackle wicked problems, but they may exacerbate situations by generating undesirable consequences." Wicked problems have no easily apparent answers; solving them can take generations. But there is hope. The key to solving wicked problems lies in defining the issue with precision, clarity, and detail.

These types of issues are also such that they cannot be handled by just one group, no matter how large and powerful. "Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations." Successful programs are often found where coordination among the government entity, nonprofits, and corporations takes place.

Understanding the Ecosystem

Within any given social scenario—education, health care, resource conservation, or hunger alleviation—there are many different groups of people involved. These groups are highly interdependent on each other, each having its own set of needs. Thus, to define a wicked problem, the first step is to map the members involved and what they do. The groups of people working toward the overarching goal of the social scenario (for example teachers, students, and parents within the education scenario) comprise an ecosystem, and the groups of people within the ecosystem are referred to as members.

In social innovation, the members of the ecosystem are the customer for whom we are trying to create value and improve satisfaction. The challenge is that while there are some needs members all agree on, there are several needs that are conflicting so that creating value for one group may detrimentally affect the needs of another group. These conflicting needs are often the source of the problem within the social scenario and a key part of the instability and dissatisfaction of the ecosystem.

Let's look at an example of an ecosystem in the education space. All the members of the ecosystem share the same overarching goal, "create educated, self- sufficient citizens"; however, some of the needs may bring them in conflict with one another. For example, students may be trying to accomplish the need of learning in a way that feels comfortable to them, but this need may be in conflict with teachers' need to maintain an orderly classroom and provide standardized content to large numbers of students. A true innovation helps members of an ecosystem resolve these conflicts and enables all members to meet their needs without too much impact on other members.

Further evidence of the conflicting needs among members is found in our health care system. The needs of the patient, the health care provider, and the payer are in serious conflict. Patients and payers are putting the squeeze on physicians to reduce their fees. Physicians who are faced with extremely large student loan debt coming out of school find that they cannot make enough money to justify the long hours, the school debt, and so on. This disharmony has driven physicians to simply give up their practices. In fact, recent surveys show that over 10 percent of physicians plan to quit their practice, when there is already a shortage of some types of physicians. Such is a typical result with a severe case of conflicting needs within the ecosystem. The goal of social innovation is to maximize the satisfaction of all members of the ecosystem with new solutions that will address the needs across the spectrum.

Jobs: A Simple Shift in Perspective

A great deal of success within corporate innovation has been a result of gaining clarity concerning what is generally referred to as the "fuzzy front end." The front end of innovation involves understanding the problem, identifying the customer needs, as well as the constraints that must be overcome. Elimination of this fuzziness has been achieved as a result of a simple but elegant paradigm shift in the way organizations view customer needs and the timing of obtaining those needs. The introduction of using "jobs-to-be-done" as a standardized method of defining needs and the adoption of a "needs-first" approach have made substantial improvements in the innovation process.

Jobs are defined as the goals and objectives that people want to accomplish or what they are trying to prevent or avoid. In the commercial innovation literature, jobs are what motivate people to buy a product or service such as an iPhone, which enables them to "be productive while on the go," or auto insurance so they can "protect against financial loss in the case of an accident."

In the social space, jobs also reflect what people are trying to get done and what motivate people to engage in the activities they do. For example, students want to prepare for a future career, aid workers for the Red Cross want to provide supplies to those who are displaced in a natural disaster, and physicians want to educate patients on how to improve their cardiac health. Jobs explain why people help or do not help others, what goals they want to achieve, and what they are willing to do without.

In the sphere of social innovation, breaking down social problems into the jobs that the members are trying to get done allows us to identify where solutions are needed and what constraints are preventing the successful execution of that job. Table 1-1 shows several sample jobs of different social scenarios.

Consider the results in the corporate world, where analyzing jobs-to-be-done has led to some breakthrough solutions—like the iPhone. The iPhone's focus is all about helping customers achieve the jobs they want to get done while they're on the go. While the primary job of the phone is to communicate with others, there are a lot of other jobs that people on the go want to get done as well. People want to find a restaurant or a Starbucks near their current location. They want to find out what movies are playing near them. They want to communicate with several people at a time. They want to be entertained in short periods of downtime. In fact, at last count, more than 200,000 applications ("apps") have been created for this amazing device to address specific jobs that people want to get done. An app is a very job-specific program that, instead of executing myriad jobs, simply executes one specific job very well and for a very low cost.

The global success of the iPhone and apps package testifies to the universality of the concept of the job. The beauty of making the job the unit of focus is that it brings the discussion to the most basic level, that is, "be productive on the go" and steers away from preexisting or preconceived notions of solutions, such as simply making a better cellular calling experience. Such definition and clarity can make social innovation significantly more effective.

The second major improvement to the success rate of innovation activities is the focus on a needs-first approach. The needs-first approach is one that identifies the needs of the customers, or ecosystem members, and prioritizes them

Excerpted from THE SOCIAL INNOVATION IMPERATIVE by SANDRA M. BATES. Copyright © 2012 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents





Part 1 Investigate....................          

Chapter 1 Define the Social Challenge..............          

Chapter 2 Understand and Prioritize the Needs......          

Chapter 3 Examine the Opportunities................          

Part 2 Innovate the Solution....................          

Chapter 4 Devise a Workable Solution...............          

Chapter 5 Develop a Business Model.................          

Part 3 Implement the Solution....................          

Chapter 6 Diffusion of Innovation..................          

Chapter 7 Health Care....................          

Chapter 8 Resource Conservation....................          

Chapter 9 What Citizens Want....................          



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