Accelerating the Solution Economy
Teaming up to solve society’s toughest problems
The Solution Revolution. Paul Macmillan and William D. Eggers on how business, government and social enterprises are solving big problems
Turn social problems into opportunities
Canada occupies an enviable place in the world: we’re among the top 5 in social progress, we rank 6th in life satisfaction and 11th in GDP per capita. But we face some tough challenges.
- Canadian governments spent $57B on interest payments last year.
- The gross national debt is growing 9% annually while GDP is growing at less than 2%. According to OECD estimates, close to 20% of our GDP – $345B annually – goes to public social expenditure.
- While employers face chronic skills shortages, 1.3 million Canadians are out of work.
- And despite government’s best efforts, Canadian productivity continues to fall relative to our largest trading partner.
From social services to education to employment, Canadians are at a crossroads.
What can we do differently?
Where tough societal problems persist, citizens, business and social enterprises are relying less and less on government-only solutions. They’re more likely to be crowd funding, ride-sharing, app-developing or impact-investing to design lightweight solutions for seemingly intractable problems.
A solution economy exists where traditional sectors overlap, where bottom lines are measured in social value, and where inventive, imaginative new business models create public value. The Solution Economy is estimated by Deloitte to be worth at least $50 billion per year in Canada in 2013. In an era of fiscal constraint and unmet needs these public innovations promise lower costs and better results.
Problem solvers can accelerate the solution economy by using 6 strategies:
- Change the lens
- Target gaps
- Rethink constraints
- Embrace lightweight solutions
- Buy differently
- Measure what matters