This is a collection of books, papers, reports and websites related to social innovation. Contact us if you’d like to add a resource to this list.

Impact Evaluation in Designing Social Innovation Report

Evaluating impact is an often expected and required outcome of social innovation practice, and yet is particularly challenging when applied to outcomes designed to address societal problems.

DESIAP has been focused on understanding the challenges through conversations with practitioners and funders, and have now synthesised our insights into a new report. The report is a summary of the three days (19-21st December 2017), beginning with an intensive 2-day workshop with Design and Social Innovation practitioners that led to insights and themes that were shared with the wider public on the 21st of December 2017.

Our research suggests that alternative models of impact is needed to enable communities to be central in deciding how, why and what is important, so evaluative thinking is built into the work or project from the very beginning.

Alternative and culturally grounded evaluative practices are present if we choose to recognise them. For funders and commissioners, acknowledging evaluation as a form of learning requires a change in mindset from one of monitoring to one of support. We identify existing evaluative practices in D&SI projects, which often goes unnoticed because they differ from dominant or common models of evaluation. Highlighting and surfacing these differences is an important step forward in diversifying existing approaches. Key to undertaking effective evaluation in D&SI is to build trust among commissioners, communities and partners. This can open up discussions about how and what kind of impact could be achieved together. Adopting a culturally grounded evaluative practice enables project teams to be true to the needs of the communities they serve.

For funders and commissioners, acknowledging evaluation as a form of learning requires a change in mindset from one of monitoring to one of support. It requires trust in the organisations that they fund and to co-design evaluative practices that acknowledges the transformative potential. It involves expanding evaluation methods and approaches to include a broader spectrum of informal and qualitative evaluation approaches to complement traditional outcome-driven approaches. It is also important to build an eco-system of practitioners who have strong evaluative practices to support people who want to apply a more evaluative practice to their work.

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Design and Social Innovation Research Network: AHRC report 2017

Joyce Yee, Yoko Akama, Ryley Lawson and Cyril Tjahja

In January 2016 DESIAP received an Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) UK Research Network funding with the expressed aim create a research network by bringing together UK and Asia-Pacific researchers. With this funding, the DESIAP Research Network was created, and has since facilitated a symposium and a series of workshops in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and the UK. Outcomes of these events have been compiled in this report and made publicly accessible on the DESIAP website. This report captures a snapshot of the activities, discussions and themes that have emerged through this work.

DESIAP AHRC Report 2017

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Let’s discuss why is design important – a discussion by 4 men on social outcomes and design mindset.

Yoko Akama

A discussion forum hosted by Miratsuku, Japan. 24th April 2017.

Read more here (in Japanese):

「なぜデザインが大事なのか、僕らで話してみよう」。 4人が語る、ソーシャルとデザインマインド談義[ミラツクフォーラム2016



DESIAP Research Network Symposium 2016


This album contains all the videos of the talks and discussions that took place during DESIAP 2016 in Bangkok, on the 12th of July 2016. DESIAP 2016 is our second public symposium bringing together an exciting range of practitioners and researchers of design and social innovation from over ten countries around Asia-Pacific.

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Innovation for International Development


Experiences, insights and practical advice from more than 20 leading practitioners in innovation for international development, brought together in one collection. Innovation in International Development is organised around four interconnected themes:

  • How to fund innovation
  • How to organise for innovation
  • How to harness new partnerships and collaborations
  • How to scale innovations and change systems
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    LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Social Innovation

    Lead Editor: Mariana Amatullo. Editors: Bryan Boyer, Liz Danzico, Andrew Shea
    LEAP Dialogues

    The role of design and designers in society and the marketplace is changing. In this new publication, 84 designers, educators and thought-leaders from across the United States examine why these changes are happening, what is needed, and how designers can pursue these emerging career pathways.

    Government Innovation Labs Constellation 1.0

    Parsons DESIS Lab | The New School

    Across the world, we observe efforts to promote radical innovations in the public realm being followed by the creation of different types of “authorizing environments” that foster these experiments. We call them Public Innovation Places. By this we mean experimental sites, agencies, or labs created to develop innovative solutions to pressing social problems, and dedicated to the creation of networks and partnerships by launching new projects, events, and platforms.

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    Chita 08: Collaborative Service and Mobile Communication: A Service Design Workshop on Chinese Sustainable Lifestyle and Inter-culture Experience

    By Miaosen Gong, Irina Mara Suteu, Jie Shen

    Collaborative services (Jegou, Manzini 2008), implicated in the creative communities have been regarded as a new tool to promote the sustainable lifestyles. While the Open Source, P2P, Free Software for collaborative productions in digital world bring out new possible opportunities to an everyday lifestyle guided towards sustainability. The paper reports a joint workshop, Chita 08 between School of Design, Jiangnan University (JU) and Indaco department, Politecnico di Milano (Polimi) in 2008 on the subject of collaborative service and mobile communication, organized as a parallel course of LSF 07 in Polimi. The research project informed by the paper is to investigate the service design approach to promote the collaborative service particularly in the context of China and how mobile communication enables it. The discussions and conclusions have been done taking into account the service design approach and the inter-culture experience.

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    Restarting Britain 2: Design & Public Services

    A report by the Design Commission

    This is the second publication in the Design Commission’s ‘Restarting Britain’ series. The first set out the strategic importance of design education as a driver of economic renewal and growth. This report turns to the question of public service renewal.

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    The Open Book of Social Innovation

    By Geoff Mulgan

    This report is about the many ways in which people are creating new and more effective answers to the biggest challenges of our times.

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    Guide to Social Innovation in Europe

    DG Regional and Urban Policy (European Commission)

    Social innovation is in the mouths of many today, at policy level and on the ground. It is not new as such: people have always tried to find new solutions for pressing social needs. But a number of factors have spurred its development recently.

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    Design in Public and Social Innovation

    By Geoff Mulgan

    What’s going right and what’s going wrong? Is design a key to more efficient and effective public services, or a costly luxury, good for conferences and consultants but not for the public?

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    Making Futures: Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design, and Democracy

    Edited by Pelle Ehn, Elisabet M. Nilsson & Richard Topgaard
    The MIT Press

    Innovation and design need not be about the search for a killer app. Innovation and design can start in people’s everyday activities. They can encompass local services, cultural production, arenas for public discourse, or technological platforms. The approach is participatory, collaborative, and engaging, with users and consumers acting as producers and creators. It is concerned less with making new things than with making a socially sustainable future. This book describes experiments in innovation, design, and democracy, undertaken largely by grassroots organizations, non-governmental organizations, and multi-ethnic working-class neighborhoods.

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    Design, When Everybody Designs: An Introduction to Social Innovation

    By Ezio Manzini, Translated by Rachel Coad
    The MIT Press

    In a changing world everyone designs: each individual person and each collective subject, from enterprises to institutions, from communities to cities and regions, must define and enhance a life project. Sometimes these projects generate unprecedented solutions; sometimes they converge on common goals and realize larger transformations. As Ezio Manzini describes in this book, we are witnessing a wave of social innovations as these changes unfold—an expansive open co-design process in which new solutions are suggested and new meanings are created.

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    New Frontiers in Social Innovation Research

    Edited by Alex Nicholls, Julie Simon & Madeleine Gabriel
    Palgrave Connect

    This book is open access under a CC BY license. Interest in social innovation continues to rise, from governments setting up social innovation ‘labs’ to large corporations developing social innovation strategies. Yet theory lags behind practice, and this hampers our ability to understand social innovation and make the most of its potential. This collection brings together work by leading social innovation researchers globally, exploring the practice and process of researching social innovation, its nature and effects.

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    Arts & Humanities Research Council

    Coordinated by

    Northumbria University Newcastle

    Coordinated by

    RMIT Design Research Institute