Growing what works (Work Package 7)


The objective of WP7 is to provide a theoretical and empirical informed analysis of how social innovations and enterprises spread and grow, drawing on evidence from around the world and to understand the educational and training infrastructure required to grow social innovation and increase the numbers and skills of social entrepreneurs in Europe.

Description of work

There are marked differences in the spread and diffusion of innovations between the social and market economies. The private economy is structured to reserve the benefits of an innovation to its own organisation or to those licensees or franchises willing to pay for it. The social economy, being primarily orientated around social missions, favours rapid diffusion of innovations, rather than keeping them private. Therefore, understanding the growth of social innovations and enterprises should not be looked at only in terms of the organizational growth. There are a range of strategies for growing and spreading an innovation, including the growth of organisations, licensing and franchising, but also those involving much more organic processes of diffusion, with ideas spreading and adapting rather growing through a single organisation. Many of the most influential ideas have spread not through the growth of an organisation but through emulation. This work package looks at how social innovations and enterprises are growing, scaling and spreading and what policies and infrastructures may be required to ensure the growth of this field in Europe.

Tasks include:

  • Review existing literature and evidence on supporting the growth of social innovation and social enterprises¬†
  • Develop a strong knowledge and experience base of what is needed to grow social innovation and social enterprises
  • An analysis of the support structures required for growing social innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe