Social Innovation Matrix

Social Innovation Matrix

How does it work?

The Social Innovation Matrix is a tool which allows you to explore problems and solutions in an easy, interactive and powerful way.

Social Innovation Matrix

Defining a problem requires a complete understanding of all the forces that make possible the birth, development and permanence of that problem until it becomes the status quo.

Systemic thinking, the science of complexity, and social innovation are fields of study that allow us to analyze these problems and their solutions at all scales, and The Social Innovation Matrix is ​​a tool that allows this exploration and understanding.

Its goal is to define whether a problem is a. new or existing one, to be able to find effective, efficient and sustainable solutions for which the value created corresponds mainly to society as a whole, and not only to individuals.

Matching. An existing problem could be solved with an existing solution:

1. Better enforcement of a public policy,
2.A reform or a better application of a Process or Methodology,
3. Technology Transfer,
4. Better collaboration & facilitation,
5. Improve Capacities,

Scale Up. A new problem could be solved with an existing solution:

1. Adaptation of Technology and Knowledge.
2. Application of Open Source Technologies.
3. New collaborations
4. Adaptation of existing products and services.

Disruptive. An existing problem could be solved with a new solution:

1. New products and services
2. Reform of Public Policy.
3. Adaptation of technologies
4. New methodologies.
5. Investment in Research & Development.

Radical. Where a new problem could be solved by new solutions:
1. New products and services
2. New public policies
3. New technologies
4. New knowledge


Step 1.

State the problem briefly by answering:

  • – What is the problem?
  • – Who benefits from the current status quo (the permanence of the problem)?
  • – Who benefits from solving the problem?
  • – How did that problem develop?
  • – Where did this problem start and under what social, economic, and natural context?


Step 2.

Define if the problem is NEW or EXISTING, its context, history, actors, and impact.


Step 3.

Explore new and existing solutions and distribute them to throughout your poster.

Help yourself with your sticky notes.


Even though it is a basic tool, it is also a very useful to start understanding more about a problem you want to solve, its context and multiple solutions.

This tool aims not to choose the best solution or the only solution to a problem, but to explore its complexity.


Example 1:

Problem: High price of drinking water in the suburbs of Yaounde (Capital of Cameroon).

An existing problem has affected other cities of the country and the continent over the past years.


Possible Solutions:

New or Disruptive (Disruptive): Development of water purifier run by solar energy.

Existing or Unification (Matching): Production of water purifiers made of ceramic and used by other cities in Africa that have proved success tackling the same problem.


Example 2:

Problem: Overexploitation from commercial fishery in the Lake Turkana in Kenya.

A new problem without precedent.



New or Radical (Radical): Ban on fishing.

Existing or Scaling (Scale-up): Grant fishing licenses, besides, a conservation effort to protect the native species from the lake, both policies with proven success in other lakes across Africa.

1. Leadership Self-Assessment. How can assess my leadership skills and capabilities?

2. Finding your purpose (Ikigai + Golden Circle). How can I find and link my purpose with the purpose of my project?

3. Social Innovation Matrix. How can explore problems and possible solutions? 

4. Humanity Development Goals. How can we work with development more holistically?

5. Social Intervention Frame. What is the best intervention to solve a problem?

6. Social Contract. How can design and model a social innovation project?

7. The Social Innovation Canvas. How can design and model a social innovation project?

8. Impact Investor Matrix. How do the investors measure impact on projects?

9. Social Economy. How can I finance my  project beyond traditional financing models?

10. Types of Funding. How can I find the best types of funding for my project?

11. Activist Journey. How can I build a movement to solve a social problem?

12. The Social Leader Storytelling. How can I build a powerful and meaningful message for my project?

13. Kite Customer Relationship Management CRM. How can I sell and raise funds for my project?

14. Team Values. How can I build trust among my stakeholder?

15. Recruitment Venn. How can I attract, keep and communicate with the best team for my project?

16. Productivity Board. How can I work more efficiently if I don´t have a clear work process?

17. OKRs. How can I work more efficiently if I already have work process?

18. Decision-Making. How can I discuss and make better decisions with my team

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Leaders in the field back the social innovation box up

Years of Research & Development

Countries where it has been applied

The best is the connnection

The best of this experience is not only to be around the coaches and mentors but the entrepreneurs who are here sharing their dreams.

Gabriel Ekman - Sweden


Sebastian - theglobal.schoo

The experience has been very enlightening and inspirational, recommended for those who are willing to challenge the status quo

Sebastian Baayel - Ghana
African Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre


Thanks for all the tools, but above all for the remarkable change-makers who I can call now my friends

Natalia Lever - Mexico

Well prepared

Inspiring presentations, well prepared, insightful, interactive and easy to work with.

Liana Taylor - Germany

They have worked with the Social Innovation Box