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Boston College Graduate School of Social Work
Center for Social Innovation

"The Social Innovation Lab at BC has given The Home For Little Wanderers a process to guide our team in its efforts to develop innovations we think will transform the lives of the young people we serve through our Young Adult Resource Network."

—Joan Wallace-Benjamin, president and CEO of the Home for Little Wanderers

Read more about the Social Innovation Lab in the Boston College Chronicle

Social Innovation Lab

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Our Social Innovation Lab helps social service organizations apply design thinking to solving social problems.  Central to the Lab is a series of fast-paced interactions that result in the development and refinement of a solution prototype. 

The Social Innovation Lab is a guided, nine-month learning experience designed to help participating agencies develop innovative solutions to social problems.  By the end of the Lab process, the agencies have pilot tested core elements of their social innovation prototype.

Each year, the Center for Social Innovation partners with Social Innovation Teams from social service agencies.  The Lab helps the agencies strengthen their capacity for social innovation so that they can continue to engage in social innovation after the Lab experience has been completed.

This year the Social Innovation Lab has partnered with Ruta N Medellin in Medellin, Colombia to offer an international Social Innovation Lab. Ruta N Medellin expressed interest in extending that innovation into the social sector.  Ruta N Medellin brought on local consultant, Compartamos con Colombia, to help recruit more than 65 lab participants from more than 30 organizations.  Four Lab teams, each with members representing a variety of organizations, will work on issues related to Housing, Mobility, Well-being, and Entrepreneurship. The organizations represented within the teams are nonprofits, for- profits, universities, and governmental organizations.

Benefits + Opportunities

Participating organizations will:

  • develop one or more custom prototypes to address agency responses to social problems;
  • engage in peer-to-peer consulting and dialogue about sustained change;
  • receive a customized summary report about their Lab experience;
  • offer unique development and leadership opportunities to team members;
  • practice ways to foster and support innovation.