How risky is digital social innovation
The Trust is dedicated to exploring Social Innovation in Northern Ireland.

How risky is digital social innovation

24 March 2014

We all have a tendency to get comfortable with what we already know, but often those who step outside the box end up reaping the rewards.

If we had to take a straw poll on how many people have gone to the airport early to check-in in person, rather than ‘risk’ checking in online, we imagine that there would be quite a few hands up in the air at this point.

In reality, it was those people who took the risk and jumped into the unknown – and to the front of the queue - that made life easier for themselves.

We may attempt to avoid change, but eventually those changes have a way of catching up with us. 

Challenge the Challenges

There is growing interest in social innovation in Northern Ireland and already local entrepreneurs are developing new ways to meet the challenges arising in their communities.

Such is the power of this area that Building Change Trust has made it one of our core themes for 2014-2018.

There is now a recognition that new approaches are required to meet the social difficulties we are facing. These products, services, models, markets and processes all aim to meet a social need, while improving the use of resources within organisations.

At the heart of many of these changes there is digital technology, a term that can seem intimidating and ‘risky’ to organisations looking at it for the first time.

Digital technology can transform how people live and connect for social good. Nowadays few innovations take place without an element of technology being involved and many of the most exciting ones are being developed online. 

 Lessons to learn

While social good has been taking place on the internet since it was first established, there has never been much in the way of dialogue or discussion on how the best results can be achieved and how networks can come together to realise the highest level of impact.

We recently carried out research into digital social innovation in Northern Ireland and found that a shared understanding is vital to enable the voluntary, community and social enterprise and tech sectors to collaborate for the good of our communities.

Innovation is about taking risks and we encourage organisations to appreciate that not everything will always have a positive result. Lessons can be learned from failure.

First steps

We believe that a clear road map is required for digital social innovation to reach its full potential and for organisations to move past placing ‘risk’ as a boundary to embracing the future of our sector.

Our first step in creating the dialogue and linkages that are essential for digital social innovation to take root in Northern Ireland has been to announce a primetime sponsorship package for BelTech 2014.

The Belfast Technology Conference will take place at the Europa Hotel from the 2nd to the 4th April. Business leaders from around the world are set to come together to showcase emerging technological approaches, while international speakers will encourage and inspire digital innovation within the local economy.

We see this event as an opportunity to reach out to new audiences, create space for dialogue and begin tapping into some of the enormous potential for innovation that could result from partnerships between the digital technology and voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors.

We would be delighted if you could join us.

To find out more information or to book your tickets to BelTech 2014, please visit:

Leave A Comment

*All Comments are moderated before being added to the site.
Comments should be no more than 1000 characters

There are currently no comments for this article, use the form above to comment.