An analysis of social innovation discourses

This paper captures the on-going debate on defining the concept of innovation in the social sphere as change which is social both in its goal and means.

Discussions around social innovation make the heads of the governmental and organisational agendas nowadays. The focus of these discussions is to address societal challenges through the instrumentality of policies, programmes and projects that enhance the quality of life and social cohesion through innovative social processes. The institutions and agents that theorise, stimulate and implement social innovation function according to the principles of social structures. The present paper argues that this specific operational mode limits the understanding, as well as the performance of social innovation. The existing related body of literature addresses the questions of what, where and who makes social innovation happen, but overlooks the issue of how it is initiated it and why it happens at all. For this reason, we propose post-structuralism as a critical perspective on social innovation which deals less with the accountability of the process and more with acknowledging the multitude of innovation sources starting from individuals and groups in the community and a broader field of practice.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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