Social Innovation News – 10th August 2010

A quick scan of the web over the last few weeks…

1. A couple of posts on what makes social innovation distinct – one by Tim Draimin (Social Innovation Generation) on the demise of Corporate Social Responsibility and heralding its replacement – Corporate Social Innovation – and another by Adil Abrar that sees social innovation as the “new rave“.

2. Lots on social innovation and technology (esp internet) as usual.  A quick scan – Social Innovation Clouds – an article on how governments can use technology to engage citizens to achieve “network-powered social innovation”, an interview with Charles Leadbeater in The Guardian, and a new crowdsourcing platform – OpenIDEO – where your contributions can build your personal DQ which has nothing to do with Dairy Queen :) (all explained in their promo video).

3. Some blogs to check out – eg Conversations for a Better World, to The Gates Notes and IDE

6. And some research articles:

Goldstein, J., Hazy, J. K., & Silberstang, J. (2010). A Complexity Science Model of Social Innovation in Social Enterprise. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 1(1), 101. doi:10.1080/19420671003629763

Biggs, R., Westley, F., & Carpenter, S. (2010). Navigating the Back Loop: Fostering Social Innovation and Transformation in Ecosystem Management. Ecology & Society, 15(2), 1-25. [Post to follow].

7. And finally, there are 11 winners of the US Social Innovation Fund.

Social Innovation Clusters…in Montreal

Just scanned the June bulletin of ECO-SOC Info and it highlighted an academic article on social innovation that relates to clusters (see last post).  Abstract below (review to follow).

This paper analyses the role of social economy-based local actors in developing social innovation in Montreal. On the basis of a case study in the garment industry, the paper analyses the role played by community economic development corporations in the economic and urban reconversion in the city. The paper has five sections: 1) the problems and the issues facing Montreal’s garment industry; 2) the theoretical concepts used in the analysis, i.e., proximity, social innovation, and governance; 3) a brief introduction of community economic development corporations (CDEC) in Montreal; 4) presentation of a case study in which a CDEC promotes the implementation of a fashion designers’ cluster in a Montreal neighbourhood; 5) the analysis of the specific role played by the CDEC in the development of this cluster. The paper shows that innovation is not the exclusive playing field of high-tech sectors and aims to expand our vision of innovation to include stakeholders who mobilise resources that are not academic but rather the result of institutionally and locally-based learning.

Juan-Luis Klein, Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay, Denis R. Bussieres (2010). Social economy-based local initiatives and social innovation: a Montreal case study. International Journal of Technology Management, 51(1), 121-138.

Social innovation: Needing an academic home?

Studying social innovation isn’t easy.  Especially for those who haven’t gained their academic stripes and still need to care about what others think.

The problem is that social innovation doesn’t have an academic home.  As an emerging field its proponents are scattered across the academic world with no obvious central point of contact to share ideas and carve out a credible space. Despite the increasing popularity of the term there is no dedicated academic journal and limited academic currency.

So, studying social innovation can become a ‘side of the desk’ type of project.  There is kudos for being seen as involved in something progressive, but this is peripheral work – at the edge of more established disciplines. For example, Business Schools like the idea of social innovation and are integrating it into their teaching curriculums (e.g., Brown, 2009; Samuelson, 2009) but there is a pitiful amount of research on the topic – dwarfed by research into accounting, strategy and marketing.

Continue reading