Scientists and activists concerned about the future of human society and the planet have pointed to the urgent need for what they term sustainability transitions (Clark 2001; Raskin et al. 2002). In other words, due to the complex, systemic, and interrelated nature of the serious social, economic, and environmental problems confronting us, we need entirely new forms of solutions. Clearly, we humans must learn to think differently about our complex world and to work together in unusual and very strategic new ways. We need to more fully see and understand the systems within which we all exist so that we can learn to identify and create conditions for social innovation.
This guide to social innovation labs is offered as a resource to peers, colleagues, practitioners, leaders from all sectors, and concerned citizens—all who have and/or will participate in change-making processes. One hope for this work is that these ideas on social innovation and these recommendations for new practice will result in a greater sense of agency for those who work on what often seem like impossible aspirations for a different, better world. Our greatest hope is that these ideas help to transform the impossible into the possible.