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.

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