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Unpacking the social innovation ecosystem

An empirically grounded typology of empowering network constellations

This contribution unpacks the social innovation ecosystem concept and distinguishes five ideal-types, based on an international comparison of 20 transnational social innovation networks.
 
Social innovation is on the rise as a mode of governance through which to address societal challenges. Seeking to empower social innovation initiatives, researchers and policy makers are concerned with the development of supportive “ecosystems”. This concept usefully calls attention to the distributed nature of social innovation agency, but many questions remain on the kinds of network constellations involved.
 
This contribution unpacks the social innovation ecosystem concept, specifying how the empowerment afforded through social innovation networks rests on (1) local embedding, (2) transnational connectivity and (3) discursive resonance. Charting the variety of network constellations as studied in an international comparison of 20 transnational social innovation networks, a typology of social innovation ecosystems is constructed. Distinguishing five social innovation ecosystem ideal-types ranging from loosely integrated and locally focused co-creation hubs to globally connected and widely resonating political movements, the typology informs a differentiated approach to their understanding and development.
 
Citation
Pel, B., Wittmayer, J.M., Dorland, J. & Jørgensen, M.S. (2019). Unpacking the social innovation ecosystem: an empirically grounded typology of empowering network constellations. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, DOI: 10.1080/13511610.2019.1705147
 
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Date
January 13, 2020