5 Trends Defining Social Innovation in 2015

03/19/2015 09:08 pm ET | Updated May 18, 2015

Over the past few years, we have experienced an incredible wave of social innovations that are changing the lives of millions of people around the world. Kite Patch is a product being developed that will block a mosquitoes' ability to track humans -- it has the potential to change mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, West Nile virus and dengue fever. Embrace is a watch that alerts loved ones when patients with epilepsy experience an unusual event like a convulsive seizure -- it has the potential to fundamentally improve the lifestyle of people with epilepsy. These are just a few of the thousands of innovations transforming the social sector.

In 2015, a number of converging trends will create an optimal environment for inspiring, launching and sustaining social innovations like never before. The increasing global focus on large-scale problems, illustrated by the upcoming launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, has generated greater international demand for creative social solution design. Combined with the availability of growth capital, rapid development of new technologies and data applications, and the introduction of new players in the social sector, 2015 will be a year for unprecedented social innovation.

Our team at Classy is fortunate to have a broad and unique perspective of these innovations. Based on our research and observations, and combined with the feedback of Leadership Council members and CLASSY Awards Nominees, we've compiled a list of the top five trends that will define the social innovation landscape in 2015.

1. Available capital for innovation will increase
The increasing influence of Millenials, the fast-paced growth of crowdfunding platforms and an increasing number of institutional funders focusing their investments on innovation will create a definitive increase in capital for social solutions.

2. Mobile solutions will focus on individual empowerment
The massive growth of mobile will be the catalyst for a new category of social innovations focused on community and individual empowerment.

3. Large NGOs and International Agencies will prioritize innovation
Continued investments in innovation labs and collaborative forums will illustrate greater participation by large NGOs and international agencies in driving social innovation.

4. Data intelligence will transform social solution design
Increased collaboration with data analysis groups will drive aggressive adoption of data intelligence for guiding social solution design.

5. Corporations will be more vested in addressing social problems
Tim Cook, Mark Benioff, Mark Zuckerberg and a growing number of prominent business leaders championing a "stakeholder vs. shareholder" approach will drive corporations to invest more in addressing social problems than ever before.

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