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the basics....

Here is a list of words and definitions you should know about creative problem solving, innovation and social innovation / enterprise.

The definitions have been carefully triangulated from various sources and then tailored to make it easier to understand, remember and use in your everyday work.

Contact Us if you want to add something to this list!

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The process when two or more individuals or organizations come together to achieve a common goal or complete a task. The collaboration may be for a single project or product or service or might lead to a merger of the two (or more) entities. When working toward social (and / or environmental) betterment, collaboration is considered the best way forward simply because no one person or organization can solve these vast and deep issues. A diverse set of skills and resources are required to solve social and environmental issues and it is considered prudent to collaborate with a diverse set of people and organizations.


A group of people either living in geographic proximity (people within a county /suburb /housing organization) or sharing a particular characteristic in common (a community of artists or a community of social entrepreneurs).


To bring something into existence as a result of ones' actions (the act of creating). A 'creation’ often requires imagination and talent and is often used interchangeably with something beautiful or one that is coveted. A creation largely though means bringing something into being - using skills and resources to turn an idea into a tangible entity.

Design Thinking

 A process, a methodology of solving problems by putting people at the center of everything. Popularly called 'the human centered approach', this method is used by every industry and business type. It is also considered a sure-fire way to jumpstart difficult conversations and often uses non-conventional methods and fun exercises to set the ball rolling. It is an excellent way to gather quick results which in turn can inform deeper decision making and put organizations on the path to knowing their client, customers and stakeholders better.

Early Stage Development

In the context of social innovation and enterprise, this refers to an idea in its nascent stage of being turned into a product or service. This involves asking the right questions, understanding the target audience and testing viability of one's idea in the market, examining competitors and so on. It also involves writing business plans, fund estimation and determining operational and business model.


Emotional intelligence. The ability to understand the feelings of another. To be able to imagine what the other person might be feeling.



Becoming stronger, becoming more independent and aware of one's rights.


A scientific procedure undertaken to prove (or disprove) a hypothesis. Experimenting is usually done in controlled conditions where the boundaries and parameters are under the control of those conducting the procedure. Experimenting also allows for iterations. This means one or more conditions can be changed (or tweaked) to see what the output will be, and which iteration answers the hypothesis best.

Impact measurement  


A way of understanding the outcome of your work. In the context of social change, it is a process by which we understand how much change has occurred. This also allows us to understand whether or not a particular intervention has worked (or not).

Positive change   


A change for the better.



Increase in one's material wellbeing. It is also used in the context of doing better, thriving.



An early, preliminary model of something on which later more developed forms are built or developed. This could be for a physical thing, a virtual product, a service or interaction. A prototype could accordingly be anything from a clay model to a paper-based prototype to conversations.



A systematic study or pursuit into a specific issue pertaining to any subject. Research leads to gaining answers, growing the field and creation of theoretical frameworks. Research can span several months and years or be as quick as a few days or hours depending on what one is investigating and what their expected output / outcome is.



To be able to live and flourish on their own without external assistance. In the field of social innovation and enterprise, this can be considered the end goal of every organization - to conduct their activities without reliance on external funding, charity or grants.

Social entrepreneurship:             


An approach where entrepreneurs pursue novel approaches to solve social, environmental problems from community to international levels. They develop business plans, fund and implement solutions borrowing knowledge from the business world. Social entrepreneurs are generally risk taking and do not hesitate to borrow knowledge or resources from any field, even if it far from the area of their own venture.

Social innovation            


We define social innovation as a set of practices that allows us to address existing social, environmental and governance related issues on a systemic level, and allows to solve those issues. The innovation could be anywhere in the process continuum, how we approach the problem, the research methods we use to solve it, the people and organizations we collaborate with, the funding mechanisms used and ultimately, the end product itself. The benefit from a socially innovative approach applies to the entire community and not just the main players.

Social purpose 


Social Purpose here at QV Consulting is defined as those initiatives, agenda and strategies used to incorporate and further social good. It is about blending social, environmental, governance and commercial value. Whilst this seems more appropriate for commercial and for-profit enterprises, it is not limited to any business model. Nonprofits can equally benefit from defining their social purpose, seeing how they can further their vision, mission and everyday work by understanding and defining the very purpose for which they exist. Social purpose also helps guide future decision making for newer product / service lines. "

Social responsibility 


Social responsibility here at QV Consulting is defined as an ethical obligation every individual and organization has toward benefiting society at large. This could pertain to environmental, social or governance issues.  This could be above and beyond the organization or individual's everyday work, or it could be incorporated into their core agenda so that over time the social responsibility and organizational goals seamlessly merge.

Systemic change             


A fundamental change in any system. This changes could be gradual but aimed at transforming the fundamental tenets of the entire system over time. Most social innovations aim to achieve this. When we fundamentally change the way we are doing things, the interventions we put in place could lead to the solving of social and environmental problems.

Triple bottom line (TBL) 


A framework that has three parts- financial, social and environmental. This is used by some companies as an accounting practice to evaluate their performance, look at their activities in larger perspective (beyond money) to enhance business value.

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