SI Biographies


SIMPACT establishes strong synergies between the production of theory, strategy and appropriate methodologies. The evolutionary character of social innovations and the dynamics of related policy streams will be reflected in the narrative of the case studies, taking the form of social innovation biographies (SIBs). The methodology matches the evolutionary approach by capturing the social innovation throughout its life cycle; they are also compatible with main stream innovation theory but embrace the different principles, objectives and components that characterise social innovation.


Social Innovation Biographies (SIBs) of successful and less successful initiatives will be carried out in order to deepen our understanding of development paths, knowledge trajectories and stakeholder interactions. Sectors (market, public sector, civil society) and vulnerable groups (unemployed, non-educated and elderly) will structure the fieldwork. To cover the variety of creative strategies connected to innovation, it is foreseen that SIBs cover different economic factors and concepts identified under Go to Middle-range TheorisingWP1.


Developed at IAT and tested in the framework of FP7 projects, innovation biographies (IBs) provide a methodology designed to study the time-space dynamics of knowledge and ways of knowledge integration within innovation processes. They allow to capture relationships, contextual settings and different kinds of knowledge, and therewith provide insight into the evolution and development of social innovations. By following the process of creation with narrative interviewing methods and triangulation, the biography of an innovation is reconstructed including the evolution of related knowledge. Data collection is able to transcend sectoral as well as local, regional or national categories, and sheds light on cross-sectoral knowledge combinations and its multiscale reach. Forasmuch, IBs appear as an ideal methodology for the analysis of social innovation process.

Due to the specifics of social innovations as opposed to other forms of innovation, the methodology will - in an initial step - be adjusted to case of social innovation (herein refered to as «Social Innovation Biographies», SIBs). Based on the joint analysis framework, sectors (private, public, no-profit, informal sector) and marginalised/vulnerable groups in society (unemployed, non-educated and elderly) will structure the fieldwork.

To cover the variety of creative strategies connected to innovation, it is foreseen that SIBs cover different economic factors and concepts identified under Go to TheorisingWP1. Narrative interviews with central actors in the innovation process of the concrete social innovation cases will be undertaken and findings stored in an SIB factsheet for qualitative analysis. The interviews with social innovators will also cover indicator-related questions defined by Go to Indicator SetsWP5.

Finally, the results will feed into the Go to SI Behaviour Scenariossimulation iterations and the Go to WP4improvement of SI solutions. Moreover, they will inform the development of Go to WP5indicator sets and Go to WP6public policy instruments.

Basic Information

  • Coordinator
  • Contact
    Judith TERSTRIEP
  • Involved Partners
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Latest News

Comparative Report on Social Innovation across Europe

August 22, 2015

SIMPACT publishes its «Comparative Report on Social Innovation across Europe», which summarises the findings of 60 social innovation cases for which Business Case Studies and Social Innovation Biographies were conducted.

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Results Meta-Analysis

August 1, 2015

SIMPACT publishes the findings on meta-component, meta-objectives and meta-princripples across distinct welfare regimes derived from the meta-analysis of 94 social innovation cases collected from existing databases.

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    Social Innovation Biographies (SIB's)

    SIB's allow for the reconstruction of social innovation from its idea to scaling and diffusion identifying involved actors, processes and networks as well as their interplay plus related economic principles, objectives and components appyling narrative interviewing methods and triangulation.

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    Narrative Interviewing (NI)

    NI is a form of interviewing that involves the generation of detailed «stories» of experience, not generalised descriptions. Participants engage in an evolving conversation and collaboratively make meaning of processes and experience.

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    «Triangulation of sources» involves using multiple data sources in an investigation to produce an understanding. «Theory Triangulation» refers to the use of multiple theoretical perspectives - as is the case of social innovation - to examine and interpret the data.