Getting Ready: Recommended Reading


Josine Stremmelaar (NL) Hivos


It's The Penguin Lessons from Tom Mitchell:

I found this book so refreshing because it triggers an enormous curiosity for getting to know the other in a profound way. Just as the Jonathan Livingston Seagull story, it captivates your interest in a bird that behaves in an almost human way (both penguins and seagulls are very social and cooperative creatures). It makes you want to experience penguin interaction in their natural habitat, rather than in a zoo (an unnatural environment). For me, this is something we should continue to do as the social innovation field is maturing. Let's not mainstream curiosity and toolbox our experiences, but keep moving forward with an open mindset, will and heart.



Alice Evans (UK) Lankelly Chase

This is a book I think is amazing and relevant for all the work we’re doing. It’s John Gottman 7 Principles For a Healthy Relationship. I can give a description of why as well, otherwise people might think my relationship is in challenge.

My brilliant, non-work related recommendation is Viv Albertine's Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys

Also The Women’s Room has completely blown me away but, again, that’s not work related. But powerful and sadly still relevant feminist fiction from the 1970s – if you haven’t read it then please do.

Ibon Zugasti (EUK) Mondragon

My recommendation would be Shaping the Future - Thoughts on the Future of Society and Governance, a publication coordinated by the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), in which I recently wrote a small chapter with other authors, such as Geoff Mulgan. The publication is a collection of short essays from a range of experts that focus on the future of society and governance, and what some of the global, long-term trends facing the European Union are.

Jessica Seddon (IN) Okapi

My book recommendation is Silk Roads, by Peter Frankopan - it's a history of the area between the Mediterranean and China. It’s somewhat of an overview of the rise and fall of various empires, movements and markets in this area. It's interesting because it's about the interaction between all kinds of social organisation - no structures are taken for granted. It's a very clear reminder of how unusual our current arrangement of nation-states and still-visible cultural dominance of the west in many arenas is. Also just a good book.

The platform I would like to recommend is Along with the rise of citizen science (often empowered by new, lower-cost, easier-to-use data collection), this is a peek at a pretty significant shift in the production structure of "official, certified" knowledge. It allows the guts of research to be exposed for crowd peer review, extension, and addition. It's just starting, and very tech-y, but I believe it could be a new kind of basis for emergent social learning.

Also: Pue, Vandergeest, and Breznitz' Toward a Theory of Social Innovation (2016). I think the definition is particularly useful for framing both strategic approaches to action and attempting to pull together larger meta-analysis for learning about how to "do" social innovation. I also like the fact that it acknowledges the risk that attempts to do good will fall short or even do harm. 

Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli (NG) LEAP


The two things that I would like to share, which I realise may appear a little like self promotion, but I think really capture some breakthrough insights that I gained from interviewing over 80 social innovators working across Africa.

My new book, which broadly focuses on filling the knowledge gap for those tackling Africa’s serious social problems: Social Innovation In Africa - A practical guide for scaling impact

Also an article that I wrote a few years ago, that examines the importance of supporting local innovators to achieve new systems thinking and change: Creating a Level Playing Field for Social Innovators in Africa


Martin Stewart-Weeks (AU) PwC

Kriss Deigelemeir (US) Tides

My first book recommendation is The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly. Written by one of the leading technology thinkers and writers, this book forecasts and outlines twelve technological forces that will shape the next 30 years.

My other choice is Quantified: Redefining Conservation for the Next Economy by Joe S. Whitworth. In Quantified, Whitworth draws lessons from the world’s most tech-savvy, high-impact organizations to show how we can make real gains for the environment. He argues that environmental conservation can learn key lessons on innovation, efficiency and success from the likes of Apple, Uber and Google.

From Stephen Huddart (CA) The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

My recent Walrus talk entitled Social Innovation in the Era of Reconciliation: An open letter to Justin Trudeau


Written transcript:

From Nishant Lalwani (UK) Global Innovation Fund

In Science Magazine, "The long-run poverty and gender impacts of mobile money," by Tavneet Suri and William Jack

From Joeri van den Steenhoven (CA) MaRS Solutions Lab

In Journal of Design Strategies, "A Periodic Table for Systems Change," by Joeri van den Steenhoven

Cathy Glover (CA) Suncor energy Foundation


I’m a big fan of Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman and Michael Quinn Patton and Blindspot – Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji  and Anthony G. Greenwald. 


Edwin Huizing (NL) Hivos

For work I have been reading "Uganda Food Change Lab: Planning for the future food system of Kabarole district" by Hivos, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC). 

However, more fun,  personally I am reading Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.