Social Innovation in the White House

In the midst of a thoughtful discussion at the Wagner Center of the competing demands on philanthropies for funding of overtaxed social services and of social-change advocacy, big news: the White House is about to announce creation of the long-proposed Office of Social Innovation to bring together government responses and resources to the concerns of the philanthropic and charitable sectors.

Bureaucratic-style confirmation: the office appears on the list at whitehouse.govSpeculation about possible leadership has begun.

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2 Responses to “Social Innovation in the White House”

  1. Yana Davis Says:

    Of course it’s an open question whether creation of this new White House office will bring about any appreciable benefits for nonprofits. My guess is that some minimal good will emanate from the office, but Nonprofiteer hit the nail on the head with the word “bureaucracy.”

    Even relatively freewheeling bureaucrats — i.e., those who are politically appointed and answer only to the highest levels, in this case the president — tend to move as slowly as maple syrup in winter getting things done. But, on the other hand, Obama has moved quickly to enact his program so maybe the new Office of Social Innovation will innovate just as quickly.

    • Nonprofiteer Says:

      And I’ll defend bureaucracy if I need to: the Small Business Administration “bureaucracy” has made it possible for thousands of business-people to create and sustain their businesses, simply by providing the advice they need to avoid making boneheaded mistakes and the capital they need to grow when the opportunities are there. In the same way, I hope the Office of Social Innovation makes useful advice and capital available to nonprofits who today are stymied by their own lack of experience and the free market’s lack of interest in lending to them.

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