Ask The Experts: What Is Social Innovation?

Social innovation is one of those phrases that is in danger of becoming nearly meaningless due to its overuse, and use in such a wide variety of applications. Today, most businesses want to have some claim on the idea that they’re doing something good, and most nonprofits want to be able to say that they’re moving beyond old models of charity and bringing something more innovative to their work.

But what’s an actual definition of social innovation? That’s harder to come by. And without a definition, it’s hard to point at who is doing it well and who is doing it badly.

At the 2011 Social Innovation Summit, PwC convened a variety of leaders in the field–including Charles Best from Donors Choose; Rahul Raj,’s director of sustainability; and Nancy Lublin, CEO of–responded to the question: “What is social innovation?” The answers were varied, but can help highlight exactly what it is we’re talking about when we use the term.

This is a teaser of the various speakers, but stay tuned. We’ll be rolling out more detailed interviews with everyone who appears here over the coming weeks.