The Biggest Problem With Social Innovations, And How You Can Fix It

The power of digital platforms and other new technologies is enabling the roll-out of innovative models on a scale and at a speed that would have been unimaginable in the past. The Schwab Foundation’s social entrepreneur community has already improved the lives and livelihoods of more than 622 million people in 190 counties while mitigating emissions of 192 million tonnes of CO2. The latest advances promise further substantial benefits.

Here are some of the ways that social innovators are disrupting traditional operating models around the developing world.


What is the World Economic Forum doing to champion social innovation?

Social innovators address the world’s most serious challenges ranging from inequality to girls’ education and disaster relief that affect all of us but in particular vulnerable and excluded groups. To achieve maximum impact and start to address root causes, they need greater visibility, credibility, access to finance, favorable policy decisions, and in some cases a better understanding of global affairs and access to decision-makers.


The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is supporting more than 400 late-stage social innovators. By providing an unparalleled global platform, the Foundation’s goal is to highlight and expand proven and impactful models of social innovation. It helps strengthen and grow the field by showcasing best-in-class examples, models for replication, and cutting-edge research on social innovation.



We have to reduce production and consumption of fashion by between 75% and 95%,” she said. “This contraction of the fashion industry is at first seen as a negative but actually it is an enormous positive. We just have to get out of the old-fashioned growth mentality that has caused the problem.”

For three decades her company People Tree has applied high ethical and environmental standards to its clothes by developing collections featuring organic cotton, responsible wool, and traditional artisan skills. The approach challenges the standard economics of high-street fashion by placing a premium on skills, rather than affordable materials. As result, the proportion of labor in the fob (free on board) price of its handwoven products can be as high as 30%, rather than the typical 3-4%.


All social Entrepreneurs experts, partner institutions, and all major organizations NGO's Forum constituents and business members are invited to nominate outstanding social innovators. Get in touch to partner with the social