WHO ARE WE
CENTER FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION
No country or society is free of problems. It hasn’t happened before, and it never will. As humanity solves many existing problems with its own internal dynamics, it also produces new problems every day. Although centuries and millennia pass, the need for innovation never diminishes. While some problems such as hunger, poverty and diseases are almost as old as human history, we also have relatively new problems such as global warming and nuclear threat.
So what must be done? How are we going to solve the problems we experience and take our social development line further? It is undoubtedly a difficult question, and it does not have a single answer. However, one of the prominent approaches in recent years is to strengthen the innovative (innovative/ renewing) capacities of societies. We assume that the more our innovation processes develop, the more our social capacity will develop.
Innovation is a very important concept. However, in our country, it is mostly perceived and discussed with its dimensions related to R&D, technology and business world. However, innovation has a key role in solving social problems, but it is not enough on its own. Because innovation itself is sometimes the main problem of social problems. For example, increasing the use of technology in the business world today increases efficiency and reduces costs; On the other hand, it plays an important role in increasing unemployment. Therefore, an innovation process that has beneficial results for the business world can be the source of social problems.
It is possible to multiply such examples from economy to environment, from health to culture, from transportation to nutrition. Therefore, when we mention about an innovative society, we must first agree on its definition. Its innovative society has a sustainable lifestyle in harmony with the planet; eager to develop a common mind in which its members participate freely; When we perceive it as the idea that there is a society structure that seeks, tries and encourages innovative thoughts and practices, it can be clearly seen that what we are looking for is a socially innovative society that goes beyond an innovative society.
Einstein says, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” New approaches, concepts, strategies, organizations, methods, rules and practices are as important as the education of individuals for the solution of the problem. Changing people alone is not enough. You also need to transform the process and environment in which it is located. This is why we need innovation studies that will produce systemic effects.
Social innovation, in its most general sense, means solving unmet social problems with innovative approaches. Since social problems arise as a result of many factors with individual, sociological, cultural, economic and environmental dimensions, solutions, that is, social innovation processes, can also address very different components related to the problem under consideration. Sometimes creating a new product, service or program; sometimes introducing a new strategy or approach to delivering a program or service; opening up a new space for a sometimes neglected group to meet their needs; sometimes a new idea, institution, workforce resource, organizational structure, process, policy or resource development and communication work can be the methods by which social innovative processes can be realized.
With this perspective, the establishment process of the Center for Social Innovation (SİM) began in 2011. The goals and working areas of the center were determined through a discussion process in which experts from many different segments, some from civil society and some from academic life, took part.
SİM, which set out to carry out social innovation studies in the fields of social innovation, social entrepre-neurship, sustainability, corporate social responsibility and volunteering, civil society capacity building, to produce projects in these fields, to conduct social researches and to create communities, has continued its efforts to produce social benefits in cooperation with many public, non-governmental and private sector institutions over the past years.
Since our establishment, we have continued our efforts to contribute to a sustainable and quality life for people, society and the planet, with innovative ideas and projects that we have developed, implemented or supported throughout our journey with the aim of bringing the energy of civil society together with academic discipline and being a meeting point that can look at problems with their different dimensions. We attached importance to observe values such as sustainability, transparency, effectiveness, social responsibility, participation, openness to sharing, cooperation, volunteerism, and commitment to ethical values in the realization of projects and activities, to ensure that the works we are involved in and/or we carry out are projects that make concrete contributions to the solution of social problems and produce measurable results.
Convinced that a multilateral stakeholder relationship is the key in solving unmet communal problems; we tried to play the role of facilitator to strengthen this relationship and increase the interaction between stakeholders, and we accepted all people, institutions and work networks that contribute to social innovation as our stakeholders. While we were producing innovative social solutions together with all segments of society, especially vulnerable groups such as women, youth and the disabled, we saw that social innovation is not only achieved with new ideas. We believed that the main factor that enables innovation and change is the work that people with new ideas will put together with other people. For this purpose, we attach importance to work with people, not just for people, with the acceptance that comprehensive solutions with real results will be realized through projects in which the individuals affected by the project directly participate.
The essence of social innovation is to change our perspective on problems, to create a common thinking potential, and to bring different people and groups together. The change and transformation potential of societies is unlimited as long as we create the right conditions. Let’s end with the wording of Einstein who said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” so let’s think new things, say new things, try new things together; because that’s the only way to get new solutions.
Sustainable and quality life
for people, society and planet
CENTER FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION
CENTER FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION