Given the challenges societies around the world face today, from climate change to food security, the need to collaborate and pool shared resources to solve complex issues is more important now than ever before. That’s why Social Innovation Generation (SiG) makes an ongoing effort to collect and share resources to help support lab practitioners that are working to create innovative solutions (for example, the MaRS Solutions Lab, which has a dedicated team working to tackle societal and economic challenges that require systems change).

Here are just five of the insightful and useful resources for lab practitioners and the lab-curious that crossed the desks of SiG in September.

1. “Time to go beyond the climate change and social innovation debate

This must-read article is a rallying call to “reinvent and transition a generation of institutions,” rather than continuing to patch externalities and symptoms of our complex social and environmental challenges. Co-authored by dynamic duo Indy Johar and Filippo Addarii, this article may give you the urge to throw your fist up in the air and exclaim “YES!” after reading.

2. Blog post: “Crickets Going Quiet: Questions of Evolution and Scale

Written by Giulio Quaggiotto (UN Global Pulse Lab) & Milica Begovic Radojevic (UNDP Europe & Central Asia), this post explores the insights and thinking that emerged from a gathering in NYC with a diverse array of development professionals (ecologists, psychologists, cognitive scientists…) and prompted Giulio and Milica to ask the very tough question: How do we create the space for constant adaptation in bureaucracies that are predicated upon predictability, risk aversion, and stability?

3. New online quarterly magazine launched by Nesta, “the Long and Short

With stories being published over month-long ‘seasons’ rather than all at once, the aim of this magazine is to offer a journalistic and storytelling approach to innovation to audiences that while interested in new ideas and the way the world is changing, don’t typically identify with Nesta or the innovation community in general—while also providing entertaining, interesting stories for people that do.

Nesta nef lab
Nesta’s new magazine; Nef’s practical guide on commissioning for outcomes and co-production are must reads.

4. Excellent practical guide written for local authorities (in the UK): “Commissioning for outcomes and co-production

Written by nef’s Julia Slay and Joe Penny, the guide provides a framework, a set of principles, and practical guidance to re-assess how services are currently procured and provided. It can help to re-focus services on the outcomes that really matter to those who are intended to benefit from them. The practical guide sets out the core ideas and how to put them into practice. This rigorously researched and tested guide is the result of eight years of collaboration between nef and local authorities (wow!).

5. Innovation ecosystems in Canada: “What Are the Components of the Canadian Innovation Ecosystem and How Well Is It Performing?

This Q&A style article by David Watter in the TIM review, is timely and useful in thinking about innovation ecosystems in Canada. The article explores and lays out the components for effective innovation ecosystems—that is, the supports and the collaborations that underpin a thriving innovation pipeline and activities. At SiG, we are talking a lot about social innovation ecosystems lately (stay tuned for a new two-pager by SiG on the topic to be launched soon).

Interested in reading more? Head over to the SiG blog to read our full reading list.

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Satsuko VanAntwerp

Satsuko VanAntwerp is the manager of social innovation at Social Innovation Generation’s national office. She manages the SiG National Lab Strategy, a program that promotes lab processes and supports those engaged in lab-like activity in the greater Toronto area. See more…