The late Elinor Ostrom: Cooperative action by users is almost always better than private sector or state action
Elinor Ostrom died on June 12. She received the Noble Prize in Economics in 2009 for her life's work. She showed through study after study that co-operative action by users is almost always better than private sector or state action. Her 30 minute lecture on the supremacy of self-organised systems over markets and states is here on the nobelprize site.
I particularly like the section on how the pre-occupation by researchers and policy makers on just two social actors (the private sector and the state) caused a loss of recognition of self-organised systems for many decades.
Social innovation is perhaps best understood as one form of retrieval of these insights about the supremacy of user-generated systems over the state and markets. It is however not the only form of retrieving this knowledge and is arguably less important than direct and independent cooperative action by users.