Overview of the system of Social Innovation (Work Package 1)


WP 1 will provide an overview of the field of social innovation, provide the theoretical underpinnings of the broader programme, a content and methodological framework as well as ensuring consistency of definitions and understandings across all work packages. It will deliver ongoing monitoring of the policy environment and development of new practices to ensure all work packages remain relevant, up-to-date and part of a coherent whole over the duration of the programme.

Description of work

The overview will include two elements:

First, the state of theoretical and analytical knowledge in relevant disciplines with an emerging interest in social innovation, including economics, sociology, business studies, organisational studies, non-profit studies and the study of innovation. This will include an attempt at a more rigorous definition of the micro-economics of social innovation as well as other relevant theoretical models of causation. We will seek to survey and if possible advance the state of knowledge on key issues including:

  • Motivations, incentives and rewards (and how these differ to mainstream markets)
  • Key input factors (finance, human, social and relational capital – and their mix)
  • Organisational forms
  • Range of stakeholders engaged and involved in social innovation
  • The impact of social innovation
  • The effects of networks (including understanding critical mass)

Second, the state of knowledge on national, local and other institutional models and assessments of how well they determine priorities for action, implement and achieve goals. Here the key will be to map the different types of strategy being pursued in different countries, some primarily driven by civil society goals, others by social economy goals, regional development and technology. We will also bring together other surveys, evaluations and assessments of policy and programmes. We expect this to be quite patchy, though there will be some evaluations of individual programmes, enterprises and technologies.

Tasks include:

  • Learning from innovation in the field
  • Ongoing monitoring of practice and policy environment
  • Final synthesis of the programme of research