Theorising the Economics of SI
Social innovation comes into live in specific social, cultural, economic and territorial contexts.
It is often driven both by altruism and by the localism of the social innovators. On the one hand
a social innovation may remain embedded in its particular setting. On the other, it may spread to different contexts
and may have the potential to initiate institutional or systemic social change across geographical cultural and sectoral
boundaries. An evolutionary approach is best placed to help us understand the growth and distribution of
social innovations, recognising that evolutionary change often occurs in ways that are unplanned and
unintentional. However, it is recognised that ad hoc evolution is insufficient to generate the smart and
inclusive growth required by Europe 2020.
In addition, the development of a robust and relevant theory necessitates to combine evolutionary
thinking with an understanding of the competing paradigms and forces which shape public policy
making at strategic level. The challenge for strategic policy in Europe is to establish means of
identifying promising initiatives within their specific contexts and to extract the lessons, practices
and generators that can stimulate comparable innovations on a large scale across diverse settings.
This has two dimensions: Firstly, it requires understanding of the windows of opportunity and related
political streams that are needed to initiate and implement political action to support social innovation.
The focus here is on the mutually reinforcing and cumulative effect of multiple policy streams.
Secondly, evidence-based policy requires a clear understanding of the ways in which markets,
the public sector and institutions function (or not) in addressing the needs of marginalized and vulnerable groups
in society and managing the co-evolution social innovation and technology-based growth.
Applying Go to Middle-range Theorymiddle-range theorising,
a comprehensive architecture for understanding the economic dimensions of social
innovation shall be provided.
SIMPACT's core aspect of theoretical foundation is based on critical reflections
on the economic factors of how markets, public sector and institutions function (or not) for marginalised
and vulnerable groups in society and how social innovations co-evolve with technology-based growth, underpinned by
the diffusion of technologies. Understanding social innovation as an outcome and a process further core elements
considered are differences and similarities of technological and social innovations, economic principles,
objectives and components as well as drivers and barriers of social innovation.
Based on Go to Literature Reviewliterature review in
combination with the input from the contextualisation of
Go to Interplay of SI and TItechnologically-bounded social innovation
plus the identified of specifics in the
Go to SI in NMSNew Member States (NMS) an
interdisciplinary discourse in form of laboratories of consortium partners representing the relevant disciplines will
be undertaken. Following the idea of theoretical co-conception the laboratories will
be enriched by external scientific experts' contributions collected via related LinkedIn groups and from scientific
Go to MACMAC members.
For cross-verification of the theorising process, methodological triangulation will be
applied by feeding the results of the desk research into the simulation model (WP2) and the participatory action
research, i.e., the experimental stakeholder games
Go to SI Behaviour Scenarios(WP2),
policy action learning Go to Policy Instruments(WP6) and
indicator laboratories Go to Indicator Sets(WP5).
To collect feedback from the scientific community on the methodology of middle-range
theorising in the field of social innovation, a discussion paper will be prepared and circulated.