In search of the conceptualization and
measurement of SOCIAL
INNOVATION
Mónica Edwards-Schachter, Phd.
Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Management (INGENIO, CSIC-UPV)
[email protected]
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Keynotes

Focus: What is Social Innovation (SI)?

SI: An approach for a new nature (and new measurement
problems) of innovation ?

SI as research topic: Within or outside of the innovation
studies field?
 Developing indicators of SI: Exploring “social places and
spaces”
 Final comments …
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Focus: What is Social Innovation?
 SI is an outstanding paradigm that is increasingly attracting the
interest of research, organizations and policy makers (Andrew &
Klein, 2010; EU/The Young Foundation, 2010; Howaldt &Schwartz,
2010; Hubert, 2010)
 The Renewed Social Agenda (EC 2008) emphasizes the role of SI as
an opportunity to address Europe’s response to new social realities
and promoting a better quality of life.
 SI is seen as a powerful instrument to address the economic crisis
(and “other” global crisis) requiring both quick
solutions to pressing social problems and the long term
development of a sustainable social system (BEPA, 2009).
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But …
 The concept of social innovation is often used
interchangeably with a number of different topics including
innovation activities in the non-profit sector,
social entrepreneurship,
social economy,
social enterprise …
(Moulaert et al, 2005; Mulgan et al., 2007; Rodríguez & Alvarado,
2008; Andrew & Klein, 2010; Howaldt & Shwarz, 2010).
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The SOCIAL
side of
TECHNOLOGICAL
innovation?
SOCIAL
IMPACT OF
INNOVATION?
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The
TECHNOLOGICAL
side of SOCIAL
innovation?
DIFUSSION OF
INNOVATION?
SI: An approach for a new nature (and new
measurement problems) of innovation ?
 Mulgan (2006:8) affirms that “Social innovation refers to innovative
activities and services that are motivated by the goal of
meeting a social need and that are predominantly diffused
through organizations whose primary purposes are social”.
 Phills et al. (2008) have underlined the mechanisms involved in
bringing about positive social change, bolstered by the “crossfertilization” of the non-profit, government, and business sectors
 For MacCallum et al. (2009:1)- is an anchor concept for research in
creative arts, human organization, economic diversity, neighbourhood
regeneration, regional renaissance, governance and other areas”.
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SI: An approach for a new nature (and new
measurement problems) of innovation ?
 A recent report of The Young Foundation (2010, p. 10) identifies
four drivers of future innovation:
1) Co-creating value with customers and tapping
knowledge about users;
2) Global knowledge sourcing and collaborative networks;
3) Global challenges as a driver of innovation;
4) Public sector challenges as a driver of innovation
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SI: An approach for a new nature (and new
measurement problems) of innovation ?
 In words of Howaldt and Schwarz (2010) “innovations are
deliberative interventions designed to initiate and establish
future developments concerning technology, economics, and
social practices”
 How can people act as lead users and contribute to social
innovation?
 How can share social innovation best practices?
 How to measure social innovation …?
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SI as research topic:
Within or outside the innovation field?
 The introduction of the social to innovation –and viceversa, as well as
of innovation to the social– has been considered from multiple
research perspectives, embracing social science and economic
literatures, as well as in the socio-political practice (Brooks 1982).
 Brooks (1982) has analyzed the social dimensions of invention and
innovation, classifying social inventions and innovations as market,
managerial, political, or institutional. When distinguishing between
"pure social inventions and innovations, socio-technical system
innovations, and pure technical innovations" he cautions that "there
are no entirely pure types"
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 “Schumpeter underscores the necessity of social innovation
occurring in tandem in both the economic arena as well as in culture,
politics and a society's way of life in order to guarantee the economic
efficacy of technical innovations” (Howaldt & Schwarz , 2010: p. 9) .
But …
 However, the mention of social innovation in literature after
Schumpeter is rare and only marginal and the focus is essentially in
technological innovations.
 The presence of SI in innovation research literature
is still scarce and marginal …
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Developing indicators of SI
 Murray et al. (2009) in their working paper “How to
innovate: The tools for social innovation” list 260
methods, processes and examples of social
innovation in their proposal of social economy
framework.
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Developing indicators of SI
 Indicators
 Measurement should “capture” the different aspects
of the phenomena
 In-puts ... Needs to building “social innovation capabilities” ?
 Process ... Problems with indicators of “traditional” innovations

(technological, in services, organizational ...) !
 Out-puts... Values co-generation, quality of life, well-being
improvement, ... diffusion and Impact?
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EXAMPLE 1
Bringing light to the poor: “A litre of light” project
http://isanglitrongliwanag.org/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14967535
Eco-entrepreneurs students from MIT using 2-liter soda bottles and
bleach to bring a 60 watt light bulb's worth of light into the building
below.
A bit of brightness into the lives of the country's poorest people in
the Philippines.
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EXAMPLE 2
CVida
http://www.cvida.com
http://es-es.facebook.com/CvidaVilareal
LOCAL COMPANIES
AND AUTHORITIES
CVida Vilareal is an
association of multiple actors
in the city of Vilareal
(Castellon, Spain) .
• The improvement of
people’s quality of life and
the creation of employment.
• The city as a local social
innovation space.
•Innovation opportunities
•Improvement opportunities
•Governance support
PEOPLE
 Goals
LOCAL
RESOURCES
ITC
SYSTEM
PEOPLE
NEEDS
Quality of life
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EXAMPLE 2
CVida
http://www.cvida.com
http://es-es.facebook.com/CvidaVilareal
FINAL COMMENTS …
 Social Innovation is a multi-faceted concept which can be
placed at the intersection of spontaneous and rationally
organized movements at the micro, meso or macro levels of
society (bottom-up).
 Further research on social innovation will be important in order
to increase our understanding of the concept and theoretical
interrelationships between technological, non-technological
and social innovation (and the development of appropriate
measurement methodologies and instruments).
 Part of innovation studies … or a new discipline?
FINAL COMMENTS …
 In Cvida initiative, our principal purpose is to explore the
transformational potential of mechanisms of the process of
collective action and urban governance practices, promoting
both the intentional cross-sector fertilization and a systembuilding or “scaffolding” endeavour that accomplishes the
mechanisms of social innovation.
 We are also exploring the development of indicators,
considering in-puts, process and out-puts ...
References
 ANDREW, C. and KLEIN, J. L. (2010). Social Innovation: What is it and why
is it important to understand it better. ET10003. Ontario Ministry of Research
and Innovation. Toronto. Cahiers du Centre de recherche sur les innovations
sociales (CRISBROOKS, H. (1982). ES). Collection Études théoriques, no
ET1003.
 BROOKS, H. (1982). Social and technological innovation. In Lundstedt, Sven
B. and Colglazier, E. William, Jr. (Eds.), Managing innovation. Elmsford, NY:
Pergamon Press, 9-10.
 EUROPEAN UNION/THE YOUNG FOUNDATION. (YF) (2010). Study on
social innovation. Report prepared by the Social Innovation eXchange
(SIX) and the Young Foundation for the Bureau of European Policy Advisors.
 HOWALDT, J. and SCHWARTZ, M. (2010). Social innovation: concepts,
research fields and international trends. Report of ESF, EU and Aachen
University. Dortmund, May 2010.
 HUBERT, A. (2010). Empowering people, driving change: Social innovation in
the European Union.
 http://ec.europa.eu/bepa/pdf/publications_pdf/social_innovation.pdf
 MACCALLUM, D.; MOULAERT, F.; HILLIER, J. an VICARI HADDOCK, S.
(2009). Social Innovation and Territorial Development. Ashgate.
 MOULAERT, F.; MARTINELLI, F. and SWYNGEDOUW, E. (Eds.). (2005).
Social innovation in the governance of urban communities: a multidisciplinary
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perspective. Urban Studies Vol. 42(11).
References
 MULGAN, G.; TUCKER, S.; RUSHANARA, A. and SANDERS, B. (2007).
Social Innovation: What it is, Why it matters and How it can be accelerated.
Oxford: Said Business School.
 MULGAN, G. (2006). The Process of Social Innovation, Innovations, pp. 145162.
 MURRAY, R.; MULGAN, G. and CAULIER-GRICE, J. (2009). How to
innovate: The tools for Social Innovation. NESTA and the Young Foundation.
 PHILLS JR., J. A., DEIGLMEIER, K., and MILLER, D. T. (2008).
Rediscovering social innovation. Stanford Social Innovation Review, Vol. 6(4):
34-44.
 RODRÍGUEZ HERRERA, A. and ALVARADO UGARTE, H. (2008). Claves de
la innovación social en América Latina y el Caribe. CEPAL: Santiago de Chile
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THANKS!!!
www.ingenio.upv.es
INGENIO (CSIC-UPV)
INSTITUTE OF INNOVATION DE GESTIÓN DE LA INNOVACIÓN Y DEL CONOCIMIENTO