Transformative Social Innovation Manifesto

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The Transformative Social Innovation Manifesto was the result of a highly collaborative process involving input from researchers and participants in the EU-funded TRANSIT research project, during the project's closing stages in 2017.

The manifesto sets out 13 principles that collectively describe the necessary enabling conditions for innovation of the type and scale necessary to enable transformation:[1]

  1. Access to physical spaces for experimentation, which offer freedom to think and act in unconventional ways.
  2. Alternative and diverse economies, united by common social and ecological values, critical attitudes towards capitalism and mainstream economics, and commitment to changing existing power relations.
  3. Combining and integrating new and old ways of thinking, including by recovering old ways and adapting them to current contexts by creatively combining them with innovative methods and technologies.
  4. Establishment of social relations based on relational values such as trust, reciprocity, equality, collectiveness, sharing, solidarity, inclusion and transparency, and development of the collective capacities to enable this.
  5. Recognition of the interdependence of social and material change, and need to combine social and technological innovation.
  6. New forms of collaboration of civil society, governments and business, recognising and supporting social innovation in all these sectors and creating new hybrids that blur their boundaries.
  7. Social innovation that complements and supports the provision of essential public services, without legitimising their contraction or withdrawal
  8. Translocal empowerment via effective networking at all levels among community-scale initiatives, providing an alternative form of bottom-up globalisation.
  9. Fostering belonging, autonomy and competence: fundamental human needs that enhance collective action and empowerment.
  10. Transparent and inclusive decision-making via methods such as deep and deliberate democracy or ‘do-ocracy’, systemic consensus, sociocracy holacracy, all of which require shared ownership structures, cultures of open and transparent communication, and maturity, social competence and willingness to take responsibility and be self-reflective on the part of participating individuals.
  11. Alternative and diverse narratives that communicate and clarify complementary perspectives on why the world has to change, who has the power to do so and how this can be done.
  12. Higher levels of mutual recognition and strategic collaboration, including via meta-networks such as ECOLISE that provide spaces for encounter and reflection, including constructive confrontation and debate.
  13. Embracing paradoxes, particularly that between innovation and mainstreaming, in order to overcome social and political barriers, work intersectionally across diverse social struggles, and maintain flexible and dynamic strategies that reconcile wide acceptance and uptake of core values and practices with a continued integrity of purpose.


  1. Accessed December 6th 2018.