Urenio Watch Watch: Innovation Measurement

Social Innovation Index 2016

sii-2016The Social Innovation Index 2016, created by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), measures the capacity for social innovation across 45 countries–G20 and OECD nations, together with select others to illustrate some notable trends in developing economies.

As a relatively novel concept,  Social Innovation lacks an established definition. Most broadly, it can refer to new services and products, or new processes, rules and regulations, that help meet a social need–for instance reducing the number of homeless people on the streets, keeping children in school, or ensuring commodities are produced sustainably for fair wages. The benefits of social innovation, wherever it arises, accrue to society as a whole rather than individuals, although in some cases socially innovative projects can also produce profits and investment returns.

Countries in the Index are scored on four pillars that together underpin their capacity to develop social innovation: their institutional and policy framework, the availability of financing, their level of entrepreneurialism and finally the depth of their civil society networks.

The key findings of the research include:

Overall Index results

  • The United States comes top of the Social Innovation Index 2016, scoring 79 out of 100
  • The UK has the best institutional framework and policy support for social innovation
  • South Korea stands out in the AsiaPacific region, ranking 12th
  • Japan and Spain are among the most notable underperformers

Policy and institutional framework

  • Social innovation needs data, but few countries are open enough
  • Legal frameworks for social enterprises are still rare


  • Canada has the best financing environment for social innovation
  • Funding is not the goal

Social entrepreneurship

  • Some African countries are well positioned to benefit from social enterprise
  • Entrepreneurship can only go so far

Civil Society

  • Nordic nations stand out for the depth of their civil society, and the potential to develop social innovation within well established and comprehensive welfare systems
Social Innovation Index 2016 Infographic