Answered By: Andrea Schulman
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2019     Views: 436

Social Innovation Lab
This resource guide will help you by providing context for your idea for a social venture. This contextualization will allow you to position your product or service in the reality of the market. We have identified resources that contain published information for you to use as a starting point to gain an understanding of the landscape for your social venture.



Research task

Suggested Resources

Define the Social Problem

These resources provide background information to assist you in clearly defining the social problem that your venture aims to solve. Many universities have centers or institutes dedicated to researching specific social issues. Baker Library staff can help you identify these organizations or you can use the International Research Centers Directory.


Research the Terrain

Use articles from scholarly publications, magazines and newspapers to investigate the current environment and to understand how the problem is or is not currently being addressed.  The information you are collecting at this point may help you formulate your business plan and we have included resources here to support that research as well.



Analyze the market for the product/service.

Use established approaches for analyzing and measuring the market.

Identify the past/current players in the space.

Find other organizations or companies who provide similar resources. The organizations could be future competitors or partners. They may provide rival, substitute or complementary services or products.

Analyze what has and what has not worked in previous attempts to alleviate or solve the social problem.

Being aware of the challenges and benefits of working within the sphere of your social issue will help you design solutions to the problem. Article searching is the best place for this type of research.


Explore possible funding opportunities at the local, state, national or international level.

Know which organizations, companies or agencies provide funding for specific social issues.