There is no single accepted definition of social innovation in the UK. The one opted for in the Open Book of Social Innovation is as follows – ‘new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs and create new social relationships or collaborations.’ This emphasises innovation, which leaves behind a stronger capacity for society to act.
The UK has an estimated £24 billion social enterprise industry and has come to be regarded as a global leader in this field. In the last 15 years, more than £350 million of public money has been used to fund social entrepreneurship, charity capacity building and social ventures. Academic institutions are also taking a more active interest in social innovation whilst think tanks continue to help bridge the gap between the research community and policy makers.