Social innovation and adaptation of societies

نوآوری اجتماعی و سازگاری جوامع

Social innovation and adaptation of societies
In 1972, Banker Roy and a small group of colleagues founded a college in India. Their goal was to enable the poor and the needy to produce and briefly improve their situation by providing the necessary training and tools. They put their most important emphasis on strengthening the role of women. The trainings ranged from building houses to using solar energy in villages. With this approach, they provided the needy with the necessary tools and skills to improve their lives.

The faculty carried out innovations that were on the one hand profoundly revolutionary and on the other hand contradicted rural traditions and culture, and on the other hand used the method of bricolage (using available resources to solve problems). However, this unusual combination of elements solved complex problems including health needs, explaining gender inequality, energy needs and educational needs in developing regions.

Hence, social innovation can be defined as any project, product, process, program, platform, or policy that affects the problem that originally created it by changing social routines, resources, and beliefs. In this way, this school has clearly met the aforementioned definition and has spread its dream around the world as a successful social innovation.

Compatibility theory
The theory of adaptation of societies is used as a useful framework to study socio-native systems at all scales, from individual to organization or from society to region and world. This theory is multidisciplinary and is inspired by psychology, ecology, organization theory, social studies and economics. This theory has similarities with sustainability science because it is a general systems approach that assumes incomplete connections between North and South and between economy and environment. But it differs in that it focuses on the balance between continuity and change, a continuous cycle of release, regeneration, growth, and stabilization that emphasizes all adaptive life systems.

This “endless loop” or “cycle of adaptation” is the balance between continuity and change that is at the heart of adaptation theory. In the stages of liberation and reconstruction, new elements may be combined into new forms. In growth and stabilization phases, these new compounds receive resources and capital and in return provide more biomass, energy, or productivity on which the system depends. To understand this concept, think of a mature forest with all its energy and physical capital stored as biomass. The fire of this forest brings the release of energy and resources. New life forms begin to grow in the fertile soil of the forest and quickly absorb nutrients. Some of these forms are species that have already lived in that forest, and others are completely new species. Of course, not all of these species are able to survive, so the priority pattern eliminates some species and other species collect some biomass that helps the forest re-mature. Adaptability theory shows that a serious break in the adaptability of a system occurs only when the system is stuck at a certain point of the cycle: the adaptability of the system is in the continuous movement of the cycle, which ultimately causes compromise or transformation of the system.

Now let’s extend this cycle to the innovation approach. As Joseph Schumpeter said in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, entrepreneurs come up with new ideas from existing resources (liberation stage). Some ideas fail, but others lead to new proposals for products, programs, processes, or designs (exploration phase). If these ideas are strong enough to attract new resources (financial, cultural, political or intellectual), they are launched (exploitation phase). If they secure a market, they grow and become a prominent part of the system. Here we see a similar pattern: the connection of old and new ideas in the idea generation stage; competitive search between ideas and benefiting organizations from those that attract the most resources; Hegemony model and consolidation of successful ideas and organizations; and consolidating innovations so that they become common practice.

The similarity between the cycle of innovation and the cycle of liberation and revival of resistance systems is very striking. But the theory of resistance shows that for the resistance of the larger system (organization, society or wider society), not only innovation is enough, but innovations must give life and new value to new social systems. Although many innovations allow for adaptation (such as portable housing for the homeless that allows them to live better in extreme cold temperatures), other radical innovations are needed to prevent the system from stabilizing at higher scales. For example, the Internet has changed how people work, communicate, and distribute resources.

Creating an innovation and deepening it in other areas is not enough. For an innovation to truly generate long-term social resistance, it must be “scaled” and use disruptions in military arrangements to create real change in our economy, political system, culture, and legal system.

Resistance theory has many lessons for people involved in social innovation and in society. The most important lesson is the need for a systemic perspective in approaching a problem. Western culture has a long history of solutions (especially technical solutions) being designed to solve a specific problem without considering the broader systemic effects the solution may have. For example, acceleration to poison

Development of biofuels. The current focus on finding energy sources to replace fossil fuels and petroleum-based products threatens to undermine the multiple systemic impacts that biofuel production has on the environment and society. Because biofuels can be grown on less productive land (which is an advantage from the producer’s point of view), it is likely to threaten the land currently used for rural agriculture around the world and make food security even more unstable.

Another example of negative and unintended consequences on the larger system is the development of indigenous tourism in the Galapagos Islands. These islands have unique biodiversity. To preserve this diversity and stimulate the local ecotourism economy, local tourism companies compete to bring small groups of tourists to the islands. The government controls how many people can disembark on an island, but it has less control over how many boats can sail near an island. Therefore, the increase in the number of boats has caused severe erosion of coral reefs.

What appears to be a magical solution may actually be an illusion when viewed from a systemic perspective.

Understanding the concept of resistance also helps social innovators to have a balance between whole-to-part and part-to-whole approaches in creating solutions. For example, aid agencies were concerned about dealing with stress after Eritreans were evacuated to refugee camps. But it turns out that as long as women are able to create stories and share them with others, their stress is manageable. Likewise, communities were more resilient to famine when efforts were made to provide people with traditional foods. Because of experiences like this, international aid organizations are working more closely with local people (by listening and learning rather than immediately responding with piecemeal solutions).

What social innovation brings to resistance
One of the most important features that social innovation brings to resistance is that it helps people understand the process by which social systems adapt or evolve. In particular, this approach pays attention to the different coordinates (such as social entrepreneurs and system entrepreneurs) that contribute to these processes.

A lot of research has been done on social entrepreneurs. However, there has been less research on system entrepreneurs, who are responsible for finding opportunities to exploit innovative ideas for greater system impact. The skills of the system entrepreneur are quite different from, but complementary to, the social entrepreneur.

The system entrepreneur plays different roles at different stages of the innovation cycle, but all of these roles seek to find opportunities to connect an alternative approach to the resources of the dominant system. Opportunities are most likely to occur when there is a stimulus to free up resources through political change, economic crisis, or cultural change. In the Great Bear Forest, British Columbia, Canada, a political and economic crisis arose due to the success of Native American land claims in British Columbia courts and the success of Greenpeace International’s marketing campaign. The crisis created an opportunity for system entrepreneurs (a combination of several NGOs) to hold a series of meetings and facilitate a process that brought previously opposing stakeholders (Indian groups, logging companies, logging communities) together to create solutions. , British Columbia government and environmental NGOs), put aside their differences and start creating solutions.

As these solutions proliferate, system entrepreneurs take on a new role as intermediaries. They create packages of financial, social, and technical solutions that provide real alternatives to the status quo. Once viable coalitions of agents and actionable ideas have been launched, system entrepreneurs take on another role, selling these ideas to people who are able to support alternative resources, policies, and media support. When policies are created to formalize new conservation policies, financial support packages, and cultural promotion, system entrepreneurs reverse roles and return to the beginning of the cycle, re-liberating and revitalizing the current situation.

Consequently, resistance theory is very useful for understanding how social innovations affect socio-indigenous systems. This theory shows that resistance and change happen at different levels of systems and to create sustainable changes, not only innovation is necessary, but these innovations must be compatible with the new systems of society and lead to changes in social systems.

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