The new Industry and Innovation Special Issue on Social Innovation and Services is out! Access the new issue here.

Articles in Industry and Innovation 25/6:


Understanding social innovation in services industries
Faiz Gallouj, Luis Rubalcaba, Marja Toivonen & Paul Windrum

Abstract: This paper puts forward a framework for understanding the relationship between service industries and social innovation. These are two, previously disconnected research areas. The paper explores ways in which innovation in services is increasingly becoming one of social innovation (in terms of social goals, social means, social roles and multi-agent provision) and how social innovation can be understood from a service innovation perspective. A taxonomy is proposed based on the mix between innovation nature and the locus of co-production. The paper additionally puts forward a theoretical framework for understanding social innovation in services, where the co-creation of innovation is the result of an interaction of competences and preferences of multiple providers, users/citizens, and policy-makers. This provides the basis for a discussion of key avenues for future research in theory, measurement, organisation, appropriation, performance measurement and public policy. This provides a context for the papers presented in this special issue.

Co-creation of social innovations and new professional institutions: diffusion of therapeutic patient education (TPE) for diabetes in Austria
Paul Windrum, Doris Schartinger & Justin Waring

Abstract: The paper examines the link between institutional change and the development and diffusion of social innovations. Patient-centred education in diabetes is a radical social innovation that alters the social and medical relationship between patients and medics. This paper discusses the ways in which institutional work conducted by national and international professional associations has shaped development and diffusion of this social innovation within the Austrian health system. The case study contributes to our understanding of social innovation and institutional change in two respects. First, it highlights the need for purposive institutional work in order to disrupt pre-existing institutions and, thereby, ensure the development and diffusion of a social innovation amongst a community of medical practitioners. Second, the case shows the overtly political work, policing and educating work that professional associations undertook with funding bodies and key policy-makers in order to develop a national programme for diabetes education.

Co-delivery of social innovations: exploring the university’s role in academic engagement with society
Maureen McKelvey & Olof Zaring

Abstract: The paper provides a tripartite definition of social innovations, a type of public good involving collective action by multiple stakeholders. This public good can be regarded as a service, as it is co-delivered based on the development of multiple network and partner relationships. In explaining what social innovations are and how they are delivered, much research emphasises the role of NGOs and community-based collective action. This article starts by observing that universities can play various roles in social innovation, then theoretically explains how and why universities are involved in providing this public good. These roles have been neglected with the recent emphasis on university commercialisation, for example, via patents and start-ups. We use this insight to propose a conceptual framework for understanding how and why universities can organise the co-delivery of social innovations through education. This framework is illustrated with a case study, leading to propositions for later research.

Social innovation for urban liveability. Empirical evidence from the Italian third sector
Paola Garrone, Angelamaria Groppi & Paolo Nardi

Abstract: Large cities are currently at the centre of important growth trajectories, but social polarisation and environmental degradation impair the daily life of many citizens. Social innovation has emerged as a promising approach to tackle the challenge of urban liveability. Nevertheless, our understanding of the processes through which social innovations are developed and managed in critical sectors for large cities is still somewhat limited. This paper has analysed 19 case studies pertaining to third sector organisations operating in large Italian cities to find out how they produce social innovations and enhance urban liveability. The empirical results have revealed that these initiatives address some of previously neglected needs of citizens through flexible mode of service provision and gradual implementation of a bundle of services. In many cases, they include a diverse base of users and involve volunteers. Enhanced accessibility and equity have been shown to be the most pervasive liveability effects.

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