Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 18

Social innovation Related Abstracts

18 Social Innovation, Change and the Future of Resilient Communities in Tokyo

Authors: Heide Imai


The paper will introduce and discuss specific examples of urban practices which take place within the dynamic urban landscape of contemporary Tokyo. The rising interest and importance of derelict places as resilient and creative clusters will be analysed, before relating this to the rediscovery of small urban niches and the emergence of different forms of social entrepreneurs. Secondly, two different case study areas will be introduced before discussing different forms of hybrid lifestyles, social micro scale enterprises and social innovations, understanding the concept of ‘small places of resilience’ as zones of human interaction, desire and care in which spontaneous practices take place.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Social innovation, Urban Regeneration, Tokyo

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17 Inflating the Public: A Series of Urban Interventions

Authors: Veronika Antoniou, Rene Carraz, Yiorgos Hadjichristou


The Green Urban Lab took the form of public installations that were placed at various locations in four cities in Cyprus. These installations - through which a series of events, activities, workshops and research took place - were the main tools in regenerating a series of urban public spaces in Cyprus. The purpose of this project was to identify issues and opportunities related to public space and to offer guidelines on how design and participatory democracy improvements could strengthen civil society, while raising the quality of the urban public scene. Giant inflatable structures were injected in important urban fragments in order to accommodate series of events. The design and playful installation generated a wide community engagement. The fluid presence of the installations acted as a catalyst for social interaction. They were accessed and viewed effortlessly and surprisingly, creating opportunities to rediscover public spaces.

Keywords: Social innovation, Creativity, Urban Environments, Public space, bottom-up initiatives

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16 Exploring Barriers to Social Innovation: Swedish Experiences from Nine Research Circles

Authors: Claes Gunnarsson, Karin Fröding, Nina Hasche


Innovation is a necessity for the evolution of societies and it is also a driving force in human life that leverages value creation among cross-sector participants in various network arrangements. Social innovations can be characterized as the creation and implementation of a new solution to a social problem, which is more effective and sustainable than existing solutions in terms of improvement of society’s conditions and in particular social inclusion processes. However, barriers exist which may restrict the potential of social innovations to live up to its promise as a societal welfare promoting driving force. The literature points at difficulties in tackling social problems primarily related to problem complexity, access to networks, and lack of financial muscles. Further research is warranted at detailed at detail clarification of these barriers, also connected to recognition of the interplay between institutional logics on the development of cross-sector collaborations in networks and the organizing processes to achieve innovation barrier break-through. There is also a need to further elaborate how obstacles that spur a difference between the actual and desired state of innovative value creating service systems can be overcome. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate barriers to social innovations, based on qualitative content analysis of 36 dialogue-based seminars (i.e. research circles) with nine Swedish focus groups including more than 90 individuals representing civil society organizations, private business, municipal offices, and politicians; and analyze patterns that reveal constituents of barriers to social innovations. The paper draws on central aspects of innovation barriers as discussed in the literature and analyze barriers basically related to internal/external and tangible/intangible characteristics. The findings of this study are that existing institutional structures highly influence the transformative potential of social innovations, as well as networking conditions in terms of building a competence-propelled strategy, which serves as an offspring for overcoming barriers of competence extension. Both theoretical and practical knowledge will contribute to how policy-makers and SI-practitioners can facilitate and support social innovation processes to be contextually adapted and implemented across areas and sectors.

Keywords: Social innovation, Service Systems, barriers, research circles

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15 Financial Inclusion from the Perspective of Social Innovation: The Case of Colombia

Authors: Maria Luisa Jaramillo, Alvaro Turriago Hoyos, Ulf Thoene


Financial inclusion has become a crucially important factor in debates on economic inequality posing challenges to the financial systems of countries around the world. Nowadays, governments and banks are concerned about creating products that allow access to wide sectors of the population. The creation of banking products by the financial sector for people with low incomes tends to lead to improvements in the quality of life of vulnerable parts of the population. In countries with notable social and economic inequalities financial inclusion is a key aspect for equitable economic growth. This study is based on the case of Colombia, which is a country with a strong record of economic growth over the past decade. Nevertheless, corruption, unemployment, and poverty contribute to uncertainty regarding the country’s future growth prospects. This study wants to explain the situation of financial exclusion and financial inclusion with respect to the Colombian case. Financial inclusion is going to be studied from the perspective of social innovation.

Keywords: Social innovation, Colombia, financial inclusion, financial exclusion

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14 Social Entrepreneurship and Inclusive Growth

Authors: Sudheer Gupta


Approximately 4 billion citizens of the world live on the equivalent of less than $8 a day. This segment constitutes a $5 trillion global market that remains under-served. Multinational corporations have historically tended to focus their innovation efforts on the upper segments of the economic pyramid. The academic literature has also been dominated by theories and frameworks of innovation that are valid when applied to the developed markets and consumer segments, but fail to adequately account for the challenges and realities of new product and service creation for the poor. Theories of entrepreneurship developed in the context of developed markets similarly ignore the challenges and realities of operating in developing economies that can be characterized by missing institutions, missing markets, information and infrastructural challenges, and resource constraints. Social entrepreneurs working in such contexts develop solutions differently. In this talk, we summarize lessons learnt from a long-term research project that involves data collection from a broad range of social entrepreneurs in developing countries working towards solutions to alleviate poverty, and grounded theory-building efforts. We aim to develop a better understanding of consumers, producers, and other stakeholder involvement, thus laying the foundation to build a robust theory of innovation and entrepreneurship for the poor.

Keywords: Development, Social innovation, Social Enterprise, Poverty Alleviation

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13 Practice of Social Innovation in School Education: A Study of Third Sector Organisations in India

Authors: Prakash Chittoor


In the recent past, it is realised especially in third sector that employing social innovation is crucial for achieving viable and long lasting social transformation. In this context, education is one among many sectors that have opened up itself for such move where employing social innovation emerges as key for reaching out to the excluded sections who are often failed to get support from either policy or market interventions. In fact, education is being as a crucial factor for social development is well understood at both academic and policy level. In order to move forward to achieve better results, interventions from multiple sectors may be required as its reach cultivates capabilities and skill of the deprived in order to ensure both market and social participation in the long run. Despite state’s intervention, it is found that still millions of children are out of school due to lack of political will, lapses in policy implementation and neoliberal intervention of marketization. As a result, universalisation of elementary education became as an elusive goal to poor and marginalised sections where state obtain constant pressure by corporate sector to withdraw from education sector that led convince in providing quality education. At this juncture, the role of third sector organizations plays is quite remarkable. Especially, it has evolved as a key player in education sector to reach out to the poor and marginalised in the far-flung areas. These organisations work in resources constrain environment, yet, in order to achieve larger social impact they adopt various social innovations from time to time to reach out to the unreached. Their attempts not only limited to just approaching the unreached children but to retain them for long-time in the schooling system in order to ripe the results for their families and communities. There is a need to highlight various innovative ways adopted and practiced by the third sector organisations in India to achieve the elusive goal of universal access of primary education with quality. With this background, the paper primarily attempts to present an in-depth understanding about innovative practices employed by third sectors organisations like Isha Vidya through government schools adoption programme in India where it engages itself with government and build capabilities among the government teachers to promote state run schooling with quality and better infrastructure. Further, this paper assess whether such innovative attempts succeeded in to achieving universal quality education in the areas where it operates and draws implications for State policy.

Keywords: Social innovation, School Education, third sector organisations, market domination

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12 Relationships between Social Entrepreneurship, CSR and Social Innovation: In Theory and Practice

Authors: Krisztina Szegedi, Gyula Fülöp, Ádám Bereczk


The shared goal of social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility and social innovation is the advancement of society. The business model of social enterprises is characterized by unique strategies based on the competencies of the entrepreneurs, and is not aimed primarily at the maximization of profits, but rather at carrying out goals for the benefit of society. Corporate social responsibility refers to the active behavior of a company, by which it can create new solutions to meet the needs of society, either on its own or in cooperation with other social stakeholders. The objectives of this article are to define concepts, describe and integrate relevant theoretical models, develop a model and introduce some examples of international practice that can inspire initiatives for social development.

Keywords: Social innovation, social entrepreneurship, Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR

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11 Creating Smart and Healthy Cities by Exploring the Potentials of Emerging Technologies and Social Innovation for Urban Efficiency: Lessons from the Innovative City of Boston

Authors: Mohammed Agbali, Claudia Trillo, Yusuf Arayici, Terrence Fernando


The wide-spread adoption of the Smart City concept has introduced a new era of computing paradigm with opportunities for city administrators and stakeholders in various sectors to re-think the concept of urbanization and development of healthy cities. With the world population rapidly becoming urban-centric especially amongst the emerging economies, social innovation will assist greatly in deploying emerging technologies to address the development challenges in core sectors of the future cities. In this context, sustainable health-care delivery and improved quality of life of the people is considered at the heart of the healthy city agenda. This paper examines the Boston innovation landscape from the perspective of smart services and innovation ecosystem for sustainable development, especially in transportation and healthcare. It investigates the policy implementation process of the Healthy City agenda and eHealth economy innovation based on the experience of Massachusetts’s City of Boston initiatives. For this purpose, three emerging areas are emphasized, namely the eHealth concept, the innovation hubs, and the emerging technologies that drive innovation. This was carried out through empirical analysis on results of public sector and industry-wide interviews/survey about Boston’s current initiatives and the enabling environment. The paper highlights few potential research directions for service integration and social innovation for deploying emerging technologies in the healthy city agenda. The study therefore suggests the need to prioritize social innovation as an overarching strategy to build sustainable Smart Cities in order to avoid technology lock-in. Finally, it concludes that the Boston example of innovation economy is unique in view of the existing platforms for innovation and proper understanding of its dynamics, which is imperative in building smart and healthy cities where quality of life of the citizenry can be improved.

Keywords: Social innovation, open data, Emerging Technologies, Smart City, computing paradigm, healthy cities, equitable healthcare

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10 Co-Designing Health as a Social Community Centre: The Case of a 'Doctors of the World Project' in Brussels

Authors: Marco Ranzato, Maguelone Vignes


The co-design process recently run by the trans-disciplinary urban laboratory Metrolab Brussels for outlining the architecture of a future integrated health centre in Brussels (Belgium) has highlighted that a buffer place open to the local community is the appropriate cornerstone around which organizing a space where diverse professionals and patients are together. In the context of the migrants 'crisis' in Europe, the growing number of vulnerable people in Brussels and the increasing complexity of the health and welfare systems, the NGO Doctors of the World (DoW) has launched a project funded by The European Regional Development Fund, and aiming to create a new community centre combining social and health services in a poor but changing neighborhood of Brussels. Willing not to make a 'ghetto' of this new integrated service, the NGO looks at hosting different publics in order to make the poorest, marginal and most vulnerable people access to a regular kind of service. As a trans-disciplinary urban research group, Metrolab has been involved in the process of co-designing the architecture of the future centre with a set of various health professionals, social workers, and patients’ representatives. Metrolab drawn on the participants’ practice experiences and knowledge of hosting different kinds of publics and professions in a same structure in order to imagine what rooms should fit into the centre, what atmosphere they should convey, how should they be interrelated and organized, and, concurrently, how the building should fit into the urban frame of its neighborhood. The result is that, in order for an integrated health centre framed in the landscape of a disadvantaged neighborhood to function, it has to work as social community centre offering accessibility and conviviality to diverse social groups. This paper outlines the methodology that Metrolab used to design and conduct, in close collaboration with DoW, a series of 3 workshops. Through sketching and paper modeling, the methodology made participants talk about their experience by projecting them into a situation. It included a combination of individual and collective work in order to sharp participants’ eyes on architectural forms, explicit their thoughts and experience through inter-subjectivity and imagine solutions to the challenges they raised. Such a collaborative method encompasses several challenges about patients’ participation and representation, replicability of the conditions of success and the plurality of the research findings communication formats. This paper underlines how this participatory process has contributed to build knowledge on the few-documented topic of the architecture of community health centres. More importantly, the contribution builds on this participatory process to discuss the importance of adapting the architecture of the new integrated health centre to the changing population of Brussels and to the issues of its specific neighborhood.

Keywords: Health, Social innovation, co-design, urban lab

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9 Informing, Enabling and Inspiring Social Innovation by Geographic Systems Mapping: A Case Study in Workforce Development

Authors: Cassandra A. Skinner, Linda R. Chamberlain


The nonprofit and public sectors are increasingly turning to Geographic Information Systems for data visualizations which can better inform programmatic and policy decisions. Additionally, the private and nonprofit sectors are turning to systems mapping to better understand the ecosystems within which they operate. This study explores the potential which combining these data visualization methods—a method which is called geographic systems mapping—to create an exhaustive and comprehensive understanding of a social problem’s ecosystem may have in social innovation efforts. Researchers with Grand Valley State University collaborated with Talent 2025 of West Michigan to conduct a mixed-methods research study to paint a comprehensive picture of the workforce development ecosystem in West Michigan. Using semi-structured interviewing, observation, secondary research, and quantitative analysis, data were compiled on workforce development organizations’ locations, programming, metrics for success, partnerships, funding sources, and service language. To best visualize and disseminate the data, a geographic system map was created which identifies programmatic, operational, and geographic gaps in workforce development services of West Michigan. By combining geographic and systems mapping methods, the geographic system map provides insight into the cross-sector relationships, collaboration, and competition which exists among and between workforce development organizations. These insights identify opportunities for and constraints around cross-sectoral social innovation in the West Michigan workforce development ecosystem. This paper will discuss the process utilized to prepare the geographic systems map, explain the results and outcomes, and demonstrate how geographic systems mapping illuminated the needs of the community and opportunities for social innovation. As complicated social problems like unemployment often require cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder solutions, there is potential for geographic systems mapping to be a tool which informs, enables, and inspires these solutions.

Keywords: Social innovation, Data Visualization, Workforce development, cross-sector collaboration, geographic systems mapping

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8 Enabling Community Participation for Social Innovation in the Energy Sector

Authors: Budiman Ibnu


This study investigates about enabling conditions to facilitate social innovation in the energy sector. This is important to support the energy transition in Indonesia. This research provides appropriate project direction, including research (and action) gaps for the energy actors in Indonesia. The actors are allowed to work further with the result of this study to stimulate the energy transition in Indonesia. This report uses systemic change framework which recognizes four drivers of systemic change in a region: 1. transforming political ecologies; 2. configuring green economies; 3. building of adaptive communities; 4. social innovation. These drivers are interconnected, and this report particularly focuses on how social innovation can be supported by other drivers. This study used methods of interview and literature review as the main sources for data collection in this report. There were interviews with eight experts in the related topic which come from different countries which have experienced social innovation in the energy sector. Afterwards, this research reviewed related journal papers from last five years, to check the latest development within the topic, to support the interview result. The result found that the enabling condition can focus on one of the drivers of systemic change, which is building communities by increasing their participation, through several integrated actions. This can be implemented in two types of citizen energy initiatives which are energy cooperatives and sustainable consumption initiatives. This implementation requires study about its related policy and governance support, in order to create complete enabling conditions to facilitate social innovation in the energy transition.

Keywords: Social innovation, community participation, enabling condition, citizen initiatives

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7 Simple Model of Social Innovation Based on Entrepreneurship Incidence in Mexico

Authors: Vicente Espinola, Luis Torres, Christhian Gonzalez


Entrepreneurship is a topic of current interest in Mexico and the World, which has been fostered through public policies with great impact on its generation. The strategies used in Mexico have not been successful, being motivational strategies aimed at the masses with the intention that someone in the process generates a venture. The strategies used for its development have been "picking of winners" favoring those who have already overcome the initial stages of undertaking without effective support. This situation shows a disarticulation that appears even more in social entrepreneurship; due to this, it is relevant to research on those elements that could develop them and thus integrate a model of entrepreneurship and social innovation for Mexico. Social entrepreneurship should be generating social innovation, which is translated into business models in order to make the benefits reach the population. These models are proposed putting the social impact before the economic impact, without forgetting its sustainability in the medium and long term. In this work, we present a simple model of innovation and social entrepreneurship for Guanajuato, Mexico. This algorithm was based on how social innovation could be generated in a systemic way for Mexico through different institutions that promote innovation. In this case, the technological parks of the state of Guanajuato were studied because these are considered one of the areas of Mexico where its main objectives are to make technology transfer to companies but overlooking the social sector and entrepreneurs. An experimental design of n = 60 was carried out with potential entrepreneurs to identify their perception of the social approach that the enterprises should have, the skills they consider required to create a venture, as well as their interest in generating ventures that solve social problems. This experiment had a 2K design, the value of k = 3 and the computational simulation was performed in R statistical language. A simple model of interconnected variables is proposed, which allows us to identify where it is necessary to increase efforts for the generation of social enterprises. The 96.67% of potential entrepreneurs expressed interest in ventures that solve social problems. In the analysis of the variables interaction, it was identified that the isolated development of entrepreneurial skills would only replicate the generation of traditional ventures. The variable of social approach presented positive interactions, which may influence the generation of social entrepreneurship if this variable was strengthened and permeated in the processes of training and development of entrepreneurs. In the future, it will be necessary to analyze the institutional actors that are present in the social entrepreneurship ecosystem, in order to analyze the interaction necessary to strengt the innovation and social entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Social innovation, model, technological parks

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6 Social Network Analysis as a Research and Pedagogy Tool in Problem-Focused Undergraduate Social Innovation Courses

Authors: Sean McCarthy, Patrice M. Ludwig, Will Watson


This exploratory case study explores the deployment of Social Network Analysis (SNA) in mapping community assets in an interdisciplinary, undergraduate, team-taught course focused on income insecure populations in a rural area in the US. Specifically, it analyzes how students were taught to collect data on community assets and to visualize the connections between those assets using Kumu, an SNA data visualization tool. Further, the case study shows how social network data was also collected about student teams via their written communications in Slack, an enterprise messaging tool, which enabled instructors to manage and guide student research activity throughout the semester. The discussion presents how SNA methods can simultaneously inform both community-based research and social innovation pedagogy through the use of data visualization and collaboration-focused communication technologies.

Keywords: pedagogy, Social innovation, Data Visualization, Social Network Analysis, Problem-Based Learning, information communication technologies

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5 The Driving Force for Taiwan Social Innovation Business Model Transformation: A Case Study of Social Innovation Internet Celebrity Training Project

Authors: Shih-Jie Ma, Jui-Hsu Hsiao, Ming-Ying Hsieh, Shin-Yan Yang, Chun-Han Yeh, Kuo-Chun Su


In Taiwan, social enterprises and non-profit organizations (NPOs) are not familiar with innovative business models, such as live streaming. In 2019, a brand new course called internet celebrity training project is introduced to them by the Social Innovation Lab. The Goal of this paper is to evaluate the effect of this project, to explore the role of new technology (internet live stream) in business process management (BPM), and to analyze how live stream programs can assist social enterprises in creating new business models. Social Innovation, with the purpose to solve social issues in innovative ways, is one of the most popular topics in the world. Social Innovation Lab was established in 2017 by Executive Yuan in Taiwan. The vision of Social Innovation Lab is to exploit technology, innovation and experimental methods to solve social issues, and to maximize the benefits from government investment. Social Innovation Lab aims at creating a platform for both supply and demand sides of social issues, to make social enterprises and start-ups communicate with each other, and to build an eco-system in which stakeholders can make a social impact. Social Innovation Lab keeps helping social enterprises and NPOs to gain better publicity and to enhance competitiveness by facilitating digital transformation. In this project, Social Innovation Lab exerted the influence of social media such as YouTube and Facebook, to make social enterprises and start-ups adjust their business models by using the live stream of social media, which becomes one of the tools to expand their market and diversify their sales channels. Internet live stream training courses were delivered in different regions of Taiwan in 2019, including Taitung, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Hualien. Through these courses, potential groups and enterprises were cultivated to become so-called internet celebrities. With their concern about social issues in mind, these internet celebrities know how to manipulate social media to make a social impact in different fields, such as aboriginal people, food and agriculture, LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability), environmental protection and senior citizens. Participants of live stream training courses in Taiwan are selected to take in-depth interviews and questionnaire surveys. Results indicate that the digital transformation process of social enterprises and NPOs can be successful by implementing business process reengineering, a significant change made by social innovation internet celebrities. Therefore, this project can be the new driving force to facilitate the business model transformation in Taiwan.

Keywords: Business Process Management, Social innovation, Digital transformation, live stream

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4 Innovation Eco-Systems and Cities: Sustainable Innovation and Urban Form

Authors: Claudia Trillo


Regional innovation eco-ecosystems are composed of a variety of interconnected urban innovation eco-systems, mutually reinforcing each other and making the whole territorial system successful. Combining principles drawn from the new economic growth theory and from the socio-constructivist approach to the economic growth, with the new geography of innovation emerging from the networked nature of innovation districts, this paper explores the spatial configuration of urban innovation districts, with the aim of unveiling replicable spatial patterns and transferable portfolios of urban policies. While some authors suggest that cities should be considered ideal natural clusters, supporting cross-fertilization and innovation thanks to the physical setting they provide to the construction of collective knowledge, still a considerable distance persists between regional development strategies and urban policies. Moreover, while public and private policies supporting entrepreneurship normally consider innovation as the cornerstone of any action aimed at uplifting the competitiveness and economic success of a certain area, a growing body of literature suggests that innovation is non-neutral, hence, it should be constantly assessed against equity and social inclusion. This paper draws from a robust qualitative empirical dataset gathered through 4-years research conducted in Boston to provide readers with an evidence-based set of recommendations drawn from the lessons learned through the investigation of the chosen innovation districts in the Boston area. The evaluative framework used for assessing the overall performance of the chosen case studies stems from the Habitat III Sustainable Development Goals rationale. The concept of inclusive growth has been considered essential to assess the social innovation domain in each of the chosen cases. The key success factors for the development of the Boston innovation ecosystem can be generalized as follows: 1) a quadruple helix model embedded in the physical structure of the two cities (Boston and Cambridge), in which anchor Higher Education (HE) institutions continuously nurture the Entrepreneurial Environment. 2) an entrepreneurial approach emerging from the local governments, eliciting risk-taking and bottom-up civic participation in tackling key issues in the city. 3) a networking structure of some intermediary actors supporting entrepreneurial collaboration, cross-fertilization and co-creation, which collaborate at multiple-scales thus enabling positive spillovers from the stronger to the weaker contexts. 4) awareness of the socio-economic value of the built environment as enabler of cognitive networks allowing activation of the collective intelligence. 5) creation of civic-led spaces enabling grassroot collaboration and cooperation. Evidence shows that there is not a single magic recipe for the successful implementation of place-based and social innovation-driven strategies. On the contrary, the variety of place-grounded combinations of micro and macro initiatives, embedded in the social and spatial fine grain of places and encompassing a diversity of actors, can create the conditions enabling places to thrive and local economic activities to grow in a sustainable way.

Keywords: Social innovation, innovation-driven sustainable Eco-systems, place-based sustainable urban development, sustainable innovation districts, urban policie

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3 Diffusion of Social Innovation in Thai Community Enterprises

Authors: Thanisa Sirithaporn


The study aims to examine the diffusion of social innovation among Thai Community Enterprises in conjunction with a singular case study of a medium-sized corporation that has successfully transitioned from a charitable foundation to a sustainable, profitable entity creating value for both shareholders and the communities in which it operates. It seeks to bridge the gap between different streams of aligned research in the fields of diffusion, social innovation, and community enterprises into a more cohesive conceptual framework and thus to better understand the historical and current impediments that have resulted in so many enterprises failing to be sustainable. The methodology is mixed and dual phased. The initial quantitative phase uses a questionnaire as the main research instrument distributed among community enterprises throughout Thailand which will provide the themes for the qualitative phase through semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders at a commercial enterprise actively engaged in social innovation. The findings seek to present a more comprehensive conceptual framework and actionable guidelines to aid community enterprises to develop social innovation in a sustainable manner that creates value to its beneficiaries.

Keywords: Social innovation, Thailand, diffusion, community enterprises

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2 Measuring the Impact of Social Innovation Education on Student’s Engagement

Authors: Irene Kalemaki, Ioanna Garefi


Social Innovation Education (SIE) is a new educational approach that aims to empower students to take action for a more democratic and sustainable society. Conceptually and pedagogically wise, it is situated at the intersection of Enterprise Education and Citizenship Education as it aspires to i) combine action with activism, ii) personal development with collective efficacy, iii) entrepreneurial mindsets with democratic values and iv) individual competences with collective competences. This paper abstract presents the work of the NEMESIS project, funded by H2020, that aims to design, test and validate the first consolidated approach for embedding Social Innovation Education in schools of primary and secondary education. During the academic year 2018-2019, eight schools from five European countries experimented with different approaches and methodologies to incorporate SIE in their settings. This paper reports briefly on these attempts and discusses the wider educational philosophy underlying these interventions with a particular focus on analyzing the learning outcomes and impact on students. That said, this paper doesn’t only report on the theoretical and practical underpinnings of SIE, but most importantly, it provides evidence on the impact of SIE on students. In terms of methodology, the study took place from September 2018 to July 2019 in eight schools from Greece, Spain, Portugal, France, and the UK involving directly 56 teachers, 1030 students and 69 community stakeholders. Focus groups, semi-structured interviews, classroom observations as well as students' written narratives were used to extract data on the impact of SIE on students. The overall design of the evaluation activities was informed by a realist approach, which enabled us to go beyond “what happened” and towards understanding “why it happened”. Research findings suggested that SIE can benefit students in terms of their emotional, cognitive, behavioral and agentic engagement. Specifically, the emotional engagement of students was increased because through SIE interventions; students voice was heard, valued, and acted upon. This made students feel important to their school, increasing their sense of belonging, confidence and level of autonomy. As regards cognitive engagement, both students and teachers reported positive outcomes as SIE enabled students to take ownership of their ideas to drive their projects forward and thus felt more motivated to perform in class because it felt personal, important and relevant to them. In terms of behavioral engagement, the inclusive environment and the collective relationships that were reinforced through the SIE interventions had a direct positive impact on behaviors among peers. Finally, with regard to agentic engagement, it has been observed that students became very proactive which was connected to the strong sense of ownership and enthusiasm developed during collective efforts to deliver real-life social innovations. Concluding, from a practical and policy point of view these research findings could encourage the inclusion of SIE in schools, while from a research point of view, they could contribute to the scientific discourse providing evidence and clarity on the emergent field of SIE.

Keywords: Education, Social innovation, Engagement, students

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1 Cultivating Students’ Competences through Social Innovation Education

Authors: Ioanna Garefi, Irene Kalemaki


Education is not solely about preparing young people for the world of work but also about equipping them with competences that will enable them to become socially proactive, empowered, responsible, and engaged citizens who will collectively contribute to and benefit from an inclusive and sustainable future. Hence, progress assessment towards competence development is an ongoing process where continuous efforts are needed. This paper abstract presents the work of the H2020 NEMESIS project that aims to investigate, experiment and co-create together with schools a model for introducing and embedding social innovation education (SIE henceforth) in European primary and secondary schools. All in all, during the 2018-2019 academic year, 8 schools from 5 European countries involving 56 teachers, 1030 students, and 80 external stakeholders, experimented with different methodologies for embedding SIE in their contexts. This paper captures briefly the impact of these efforts towards the cultivation and progression of students’ social innovation (SI henceforth) competences. As part of the model, 14 SI competences, whose progress was evaluated, have been introduced falling under 3 interrelated categories: competences for identifying opportunities for social and collective value creation, competences for developing collaborations and building meaningful relations and competences for taking action both on an individual and collective level. Methodologically wise, the evaluation strategy employed was informed by a realist approach, enabling the researchers to go beyond synthesizing 'what happened' and towards understanding 'why it happened', delving into ‘what works, for whom and in what circumstances’. The reason for choosing such an approach was because it goes beyond attempting to answer the basic yes or no question of evaluation and focus on an ‘explanatory quest’ tracing the limits of when and where intervention is effective. A rich mix of sources of evidence have been employed, from focus groups with 80 people from the 5 EU countries to an online survey to 206 students, classroom observations, students’ narratives granting them with the opportunity to freely express their opinions, short stories letting students express their feelings through their imagination and also, drawings so that younger children can express their perception of reality. All these evidences offered insights on the impact of SIE on the development of students’ competences. Research findings showed that students progressed in all 14 SI competences through their involvement in the different activities. This positive progression is attributed to the model’s three core principles: 1) the student-centered approach, rendering students active and self-determined producers of their own learning, 2) the co-creation process fostering intergenerational interactions, empowering thus students by making their voices heard and valued and also, 3) the transformative social action whereby through their projects, students are able to witness the impact they are bringing about with their actions. Concluding, these initial findings, together with the forthcoming evaluation research to a pool of 30 schools around Europe, have the potential to raise the dynamics of the under-investigated field of SIE and encourage its embeddedness in more schools around Europe.

Keywords: Education, Social innovation, students, competence development

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