Now available: First Comparative Analysis on the Worldwide Mapping of Social Innovations

The Comparative Analysis is based on empirical data of more than 1.000 social innovation cases. It delivers new insights into the diversity of social innovation approaches in different parts of the world used by practitioners, researchers and policy makers. It also provides an overview of various types of social innovations in seven policy areas (education, employment, environment and climate change, energy supply, transport and mobility, health and social care, and poverty reduction and sustainable development).

The main results at a glance:

  1. Social needs and societal challenges are the focus, start, motivation, trigger and driver
  2. Variety of forms and concepts and high dynamics appear
  3. Manifold actors and cross sector collaborations are the emerging backbone
  4. Empowerment and user involvement are a core element
  5. Complexity of the innovation processes needs different modes of governance
  6. Emerging ecosystems in front
  7. Different levels of intervention are necessary
  8. Practice Field approach helps to combine social innovations
  9. Resources and barriers are manifold
  10. Framework conditions and enabling factors still to be developed
  11. Social innovation Initiatives – driven by problems and depending on individuals!

Social innovation has become a ubiquitous concept. The results of the global mapping reveal its importance for addressing social, economic, political and environmental challenges of the 21st century on a global scale. And there is an increased awareness of the complexity of innovation processes. Like technological innovations, successful social innovations are based on presuppositions and require appropriate infrastructures and resources. Moreover, social innovations are requiring specific conditions because they aim at activating, fostering, and utilizing the innovation potential of the whole society. This is not only a matter of appropriate funding but also of new participation and collaboration structures, co-creation and user involvement, empowerment and human resources development.

The mapping demonstrates that social innovation processes and the underlying resources, capabilities and constraints are also very much related to the actors of the different sectors of the social innovation ecosystem. This includes a new role of public policy and government for creating suitable framework and support structures, the integration of resources of the economy and civil society as well as supporting measures by science and universities.

SI-DRIVE is combining qualitative research (reviewing and reporting social innovation relevant theories and state-of-the art) with a first quantitative mapping of the world of Social Innovation. While the SI-DRIVE Critical Literature Review provided a general depiction of how social innovation resonates within the wider frameworks of existing innovation theory and research, the concepts and perceptions of social change and of societal and policy development, the purpose of the Comparative Analysis was to check the theoretical framework against the first empirical dataset of SI-DRIVE. A qualitative in-depth analysis of selected social innovation cases will be completed in 2017.