What Is Social Innovation?

Traditional policy approaches have failed to catalyze significant and lasting change for many complex social problems, such as homelessness, justice involvement and reentry, and educational achievement. Social innovation, which is an iterative, inclusive process using innovation frameworks to achieve more effective and just solutions to solve complex social problems, provides an alternative to traditional problem solving approaches. The Price Center conducts research on all aspects of social innovation, which offers both new processes and new models for solving society’s most persistent social challenges.

Explore Specific Research Concentrations

Social innovation uses a flexible, responsive approach built upon an iterative process of concurrent problem identification, design, implementation, and evaluation of pilot programs and other test strategies, with the ultimate goal of diffusing new practices into systems change.


Social innovation includes a wide range of new organizational structures, financial tools, and partnership models that are more effective, equitable, and sustainable than existing problem solving approaches.

Social Innovation Speaker Series: Are Social Impact Bonds an Innovation in Finance or Do They Help Finance Social Innovation?
Social Innovation Speaker Series: A Conversation with Marc Ventresca
Social Innovation Speaker Series: A Conversation About Collective Impact with Wilma Franco
Social Innovation Speaker Series: Why Is Social Innovation More Relevant Today Than 8 Years Ago?

Explore a selection of the Price Center’s contributions to the field of social innovation

From Citizen-Control to Co-Production: Moving Beyond a Linear Conception of Citizen Participation

Co-production recognizes that truly inclusive community development requires adaptive and enduring processes to address the political and economic power inequalities that shape local decision-making. This paper describes a Coachella Valley-based initiative’s evolution toward a co-production model of community engagement.

What is Collective Impact

Society is full of complex social issues that prove challenging for any single entity to solve on its own. The collective impact framework calls for organizations to work toward a common goal.

What is Pay for Success

Pay for Success (PFS) is an innovative approach to contracting social services that ties payments for service delivery to the achievement of a predetermined, measurable outcome.