Social innovation can be described as the conception of novel ideas to solve global problems. While this statement encapsulates the purpose and indeed the agenda of social innovation, it needs to be broken down further. Questions such as what constitutes proper social innovation, how ideas are generated need to be answered. This article does just that. Keep reading to find out more.
Understanding Its Agenda through the Concept’s Founders
To have an understanding of what social innovation was meant to entail, knowing the history of the concept is key. As an idea, social innovation existed even before America’s independence. The founding father Benjamin Franklin wrote about bringing changes in that would resolve common social problems. Other more radical philosophers like Karl Marx conceptualized a complete restricting of society (which in itself could be considered innovative) to bring about an end to social crises of the time i.e. wealth disparities. In its modern conception, the idea of social innovation first featured prominently in the works of such people as the founder of the Open University Michael Young in the 60s.
How Innovation Works- The Birth of Ideas
We live in a world that is always presenting us with challenges. Some are new and some have never really found effective solutions. These challenges range from global warming to financial crises to poverty. Social Innovation arises out of the necessity to find new ways of dealing with these problems since the old ways seem not to work. At the heart of social innovation’s solutions is the idea. This begs the question of how are ideas conceptualized. More so, how good ideas are made.
Great ideas are not necessarily thought up by geniuses alone. In fact, sometimes educated people tend to over-complicate problems, and often fall prey to tunnel-thinking. Any person who puts their mind to work on a certain issue will often come up with ways of dealing with those problems. With that in mind, it is the agenda of social innovators to have ideas that work.
An Agenda for Social Innovation
At the heart of every social innovation is a number of characteristics. The characteristics of the social innovation agenda include the conceptualization and the setting of goals. For goals to be met they must be SMART. That is, they must be specific, measurable, realistic and time-based.
Innovation must be based on a goal that is specific. You need to know what your idea is intended to be used for- in this case the goal is that it should be used for social change in a particular field i.e. global warming. That really goes without saying. Moreover, any innovation must be geared towards measurable goals. This is key for the effectiveness of the innovation. Measurability helps with assessing the efficacy of the innovation as well as giving direction on how it should be applied. Moreover, innovations must be based on goals that are attainable. This presents a chicken and egg situation where we ask ourselves what comes first- feasibility of the idea before innovating for it or innovation then feasibility studies. Either way, an innovation won’t work if its intended purpose is not attainable. Furthermore, an innovation must be on a realistic goal. Whether a goal is realistic will also determine whether it is attainable. Lastly, an innovation must be based on a goal that is time-based.
Assessing the Efficacy of Social Innovation
The effectiveness or rather impact of a certain social innovation is measured as against the definition of the phrase itself. One must first ask themselves whether the innovation was truly intended for a social end before measuring its effectiveness. With that said, from the definition in the introductory paragraph, a social innovation is a new idea intended to solve “social problems” more effectively, efficiently and sustainably than any other solution already present.
If a solution is not effective, it hardly merits being termed as such. Moreover, efficiency means that the solution is not bringing about even more problems that did not already exist. Further still, saying that social innovations must be sustainable solutions means that the agenda of social innovation should be to solve problems in a manner that can be maintained over time. Hence someone assessing the efficacy or merit-worthiness of social innovation should use the agenda above.
Today, the internet is the cornerstone for technological advancements. Because of this, degree in Networking are not only marketable in the business arena but also needed for social work that is technology-centric. Web-related communications have made human interaction easier. Access to the internet has become an essential tool in sharing ideas and promoting change in all corners of the earth. Due to the advancement in communication technology i.e. the internet, the world has truly become a global village. Degrees offered in the field of networking vary. To this end, this article provides information on some of the master’s degrees available today, in the field of networking. Keep reading to find out more.
Masters of Engineering in Systems Networks and Security
This program specializes in furthering knowledge in the fields of management of network infrastructure in organizations. Because we live in a world that increasingly depends on ICT systems and architecture, it follows that these systems must be understood and protected. This program teaches just that. Usually packaged as a one year program, the program focuses on the practical understanding of how to build, maintain and protect vast networking systems. Qualification for this course vary but in general, one must have completed a Bachelor’s in Computer science or its equivalent.
Masters in Data Management
The internet has become a large reservoir for data. This presents unique challenges and implications. Handling data in a manner that ensures its safety and dignity such that it does not get into the wrong hands, or is not exploited for the wrong reasons is a very marketable skill. Requirements for consideration to join such a program vary depending on the university offering it. In general though one must have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or a degree that is mathematics heavy. The master’s programs duration will also vary depending on the university. Generally, the program will take one or two years. The scope of this network’s degree is to enable the acquisition of skills required in handling large volumes of data. The degree has a social aspect too in that it recognizes the power of knowledge in transforming lives.
Masters in Computer Systems and Networking
This course is similar to the Masters of Engineering in Systems Networks and Security. The goal of the course to teach you the methods used to build networks and computer systems. It builds your theoretical knowledge on this theme as well as your practical knowledge. Some of the skills acquired through this program include Network communications, computer systems engineering, understanding parallel, and distributed systems and computer systems security. Requirements are similar to the networks courses above. In general, you may be required to have completed a Bachelor’s In computer science or have done a mathematics-intensive course.
Masters in Information and Communication Technology
This degree is provided in response to the fact that the field of communication technology and networks is ever changing. It is intended for people seeking to widen their understanding in this field or for veterans seeking to refresh and update their knowledge of information and communication technology. Requirements for applications are similar to the ones above. The courses length will vary depending on the university but in general, courses will take 1-3 years for completion.
Networks Education as an Agent of Change
The role of the internet as a tool for networking and communication is a topic that has been the subject of heated debate. On the one hand, some argue internet communication has ruined meaningful communication and interaction. They suggest that is has created avenues for the breach of privacy and entrenched social isolation. On the other hand, others argue that it has provided avenues for true worldwide impact. That it has enabled the promotion and sharing of ideas all over the world. We agree with the latter argument. We argue that the internet as a networking and communication tool is just that. It is a tool. When wielded by the correct set of hands it can bring about incredible change. It provides access to education and information in a manner never seen before. It also serves as a platform to improve the awareness of the crises that affect our world today, including global warming and financial crises. On the other hand, we recognize that as with any tool, it presents unique challenges that must be confronted. Such challenges have been mentioned above. Courses offered in universities to further the understanding of networks are essential in dealing with the challenges that make the internet a less effective tool of social change.