The Social Competitiveness Index

What makes some countries better at social innovation than others?

Matthew Bishop suggests we find out, so policymakers can legislate the best possible environment for social innovation. Enter the SCI, a ranked list of countries in order of the social innovation-friendliness of their legal, fiscal, governance and cultural framework. It was conceived by the Global Agenda Council on Philanthropy & Social Investing, as a part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Redesign Initiative. (The Council, chaired by Bishop, includes several Big Names in Philanthropy, e.g., Jed Emerson, Martin Fisher, Jacqueline Novogratz and Sean Stannard-Stockton.)

Bishop & co. lay out their working hypothesis—summarized in the table below—on pages 103-108 of the 2010 Global Redesign Initiative Report. They posit that social innovation depends on the ability of the public, private and NGO sectors to:

  1. innovate new models and technologies
  2. test & refine new models and technologies
  3. scale up proven models and technologies

Nathaniel Whittemore, however, is all questions. Who cares? (Congressmen? CEOs? Nonprofit leaders? Brangelina? All of the above? Can one realistically cater to multiple audiences with conflicting interests?) What is the behavior that it aims to change? Are rankings and their inherent competitiveness the best framework for stimulating social innovation? Additionally, he suggests that Bishop & co. also consider the ability of different sectors to join forces and collaborate and the ability of the civil sector to come together in the absence of institutional leadership.


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