Project

CrESSI, Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation

Goal: CrESSI explores the economic underpinnings of social innovation with a particular focus on how policy and practice can enhance the lives of marginalized and disempowered citizens. Between 2014 and 2018, our team of researchers from Oxford, Budapest, Delft, Greifswald, Heidelberg, Pavia and Vienna will work on the question of creating economic space for social innovation.

For our conceptual framework we take inspiration from three sources: We approach social innovation as a question of an interrelated grid of actors, institutions and cognitive frames drawing on Jens Beckert's social grid model of social change. We analyze the complex ends and means of social innovation drawing on the capabilities approach. This approach, pioneered by Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen, takes people's capabilities - their real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value - to be of primary importance for ethical evaluation. We further analyze the ends and means of social innovation as embedded in redistributions of distributive and collective power in historical context, as pioneered by Michael Mann's work on the social sources of power.

Further information: http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/faculty-research/research-projects/creating-economic-space-social-innovation-cressi

Methods: Public Policy Analysis, Survey Research, Historical case studies

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Klaus Kubeczko
added 2 research items
CRESSI Working Papers No. 28/2016 The CRESSI project explores the economic underpinnings of social innovation with a particular focus on how policy and practice can enhance the lives of the most marginalized and disempowered citizens in society. “Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation” (CRESSI) has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 613261.
CRESSI Policy Briefing on Deliverable 4.1 “Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation” (CRESSI) has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 613261. CRESSI is a collaboration between eight European institutions led by the University of Oxford and will run from 2014-2018.
Lara Maestripieri
added an update
Dear followers of CRESSI project,
you might be interested in a call for papers for the next IPPA conference 2021 to be held in Barcelona (July 6th-8th). The panel is entitled "T12P03 - Linking social innovation and empowerment: A public policy role?" and wants to investigate the role of social innovation in fostering women's empowerment, with a specific focus on public policies able to enhance citizens’ collective and individual capabilities.
The panel is coordinated by Raquel Gallego (Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona) and Lara Maestripieri (Politecnico di Milano/Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona) and welcomes proposals assessing the capacity of social innovation to empower women and promote diversity, using an intersectional analytical framework.
Deadline for abstract proposal: January, 29th at the IPPA website: www.ippapublicpolicy.org
 
Attila Havas
added an update
Oxford University Press has put together a collection of its titles on corporate responsibility for the EGOS 2020 Conference at: https://pages.oup.com/socsci/46891684/organizing-sustainable-future
Several chapters can be downloaded from that site free of charge until the end of August, including "Trajectories of Social Innovation: Housing for All?", ch. 5 of the CrESSI book.
Seize this opportunity and enjoy reading this chapter!
 
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
Congratulations to Gyorgy Molnár and colleagues from the Kiûtprogram. ”We Give Nets, Not Fish - but Eggs, Yes! ”, devised, funded, and implemented by the Kiútprogram received a 2020 social innovation prize awarded by Sozialmarie https://www.sozialmarie.org/en/projects/8063.
You can read more about ideas, structure and history of this social innovation here:
You can listen to Gyorgy and participants of the Kiûtprogram explain some of the aspects of this ideas in this CrESSI documentary: https://getidos.uni-greifswald.de/en/publications/and-moving-images/air-beneath-their-wings/
 
Gudrun-Christine Schimpf
added 5 research items
The basis of this chapter is a comprehensive case study on freshwater supply in European countries from the nineteenth century to the present. First, the chapter introduces the different phases of freshwater supply during that time span as well as various modes of provision (self-provision, informal provision, market provision, public provision, and professional provision). Then, the chapter turns to a change in cognitive framing, and the important achievement of framing water provision as a social challenge in the nineteenth century, as well as the role civic participation played for this. Next the analysis concentrates on the central question of provision as it is visible in the debate on market versus public provision. How can civic involvement help keep the institutionalized innovation on target so as to ensure clean and affordable water for all? The issues of knowledge, path dependency, and niche modes of provision are also discussed.
This chapter describes two empirical approaches with which social innovation and its potentially transformative role can be studied. Both are oriented towards the Extended Social Grid Model (ESGM) and strive to bring its abstract categories on the ground and facilitate empirical analyses; first an analysis of long-term comprehensive case studies; and second a mixed-method approach inspired by the capability approach for evaluating the impact of social innovations. Both approaches enter new ground in social innovation research and supply valuable insights into the nature of social innovation and how it can be examined. The historical approach reveals the complexities of social innovation trajectories; the agency oriented approach of the more quantitative study opens new paths for a measurement of social innovation impacts that can be applied in many situations.
This chapter addresses key issues that public policy seeking to support social innovation faces. Combining theoretical insights of the Extended Social Grid Model with empirical results obtained from EU policy surveys and case studies, it identifies key policy implications and recommendations. It first introduces key notions for social innovation policy, including the multifaceted landscape into which support is inserted; the necessity to recognize its political character; to what extent insights from business innovation studies can be useful; and why successful support of social innovation must imply institutional change. The chapter then outlines a series of recurrent policy dilemmas such as whether horizontal support should be preferred; the trade-off between degree and costs of marginalization that wish to be targeted; the difficulty to promote a capability to associate; and how the subsidiarity principle may clash against the need to overcome marginalizing processes.
Attila Havas
added 2 research items
On 25th April 2016, the Institute of Economics, CERS, Hungarian Academy of Sciences organised a practitioner seminar on social co-operatives in Hungary. Participants included leaders of social co-operatives and local governments of small villages (mayors, village notaries), researchers, as well as government officials drafting and operating policy schemes supporting social enterprises, in particular social co-operatives (from Ministry for National Economy, and OFA, Hungarian Employment Public Benefit Non-profit LLC, respectively). György Molnár introduced the seminar by talking about the overall CrESSI project and then explaining WP6 in more detail (i.e. the goals, research questions, methods, results obtained in Hungary). That was followed by an overview of measures aimed at supporting social co-operatives, planned by the NGM. These measures have been introduced since then. The main topics of the discussion were as follows: (i) new type social co-operatives; (ii) the role of social co-operatives, (iii) societal vs. business benefits, (iv) schemes aimed at supporting social cooperatives, (v) regulation, and (vi) networking.
On 27th April 2016, the Institute of Economics, CERS, Hungarian Academy of Sciences organised a policy roundtable on social co-operatives in Hungary. Participants included policy-makers, experts, researchers and a representative of the National Association of Social Cooperatives. A former MP was also present who initiated to introduce the legal form of the so-called ‘new type’ social co-peratives (currently he is leading several associations of co-operatives, but not in the field of social co-operatives.) Experts and officials from two ministries also attended the policy roundtable. György Molnár introduced the seminar by talking about the overall CrESSI project and then explaining Workpackage 6 in more detail (i.e. the goals, research questions, methods, results obtained in Hungary). The main topics of the discussion were as follows: (i) new type social co-operatives; (ii) social co-operatives (both the ‘traditional’ and ‘new type’ ones) operating in poor regions; and (iii) schemes aimed at supporting social co-operatives. The major policy tasks identified by the participants concern these issues.
Rafael Ziegler
added a research item
This book draws upon economic and sociological theory to provide a comprehensive discussion of economic space for social innovation, addressing especially marginalized groups and the long-term projects, programmes, and policies that have emerged and evolved within and across European states. It approaches the explanatory and normative questions raised by this topic via a novel approach: the Extended Social Grid Model (ESGM). Taking inspiration from the fields of economic sociology and ethics, this model shows that social innovation processes must be structural, and require change in power relations, if marginalization is to be effectively dealt with via social innovation. Part I of the book sets out the ESGM, including an exposition on the model along with background chapters on innovation, power and marginalization, ethics and social innovation, and empirical methods. Part II explores the model with a focus on social innovation trajectories of social housing, drinking water provision , poverty alleviation, education, and food provision. It also explores the operationalization of the model with a view to agency and empowerment, as well as social innovation policy in Europe and the use of social impact bonds as a tool for financing social innovation. Part III revisits the ESGM and considers the explanatory adequacy and fruitfulness of the model for innovation research and for theorizing social innovation, addressing questions on the role and limitations of participation in social innovation for the marginalized, the role of capital for creating economic space for capabilities, and how we can approach the social impact of social innovation. This collection of essays presents a diverse range of perspectives on understanding and addressing the key issue of marginaliza-tion, and offers key recommendations for policy makers engaging with social innovation across the European Union and beyond.
Lara Maestripieri
added a research item
Solidarity Purchasing Groups (SPGs) are emblematic of social innovation in agriculture. Scholars coined the term to refer to groups of individuals who organize themselves to collectively buy primary goods, avoiding mass retailers’ intermediation and putting in question the actual economic relations behind the system of food distribution. Their main declared aim is to foster the economic and social conditions of the producers they collaborate with. A closer look at their inner functioning, however, gives a more nuanced panorama, in which the altruistic dimensions of SPG activities do not exclude paternalistic practices. Drawing from forty interviews conducted in Italy in 2015, the chapter highlights how and to what extent their socially innovative practices have reduced the economic marginalization of producers.
Lara Maestripieri
added a research item
La mercantilización del sector de la comida y la creciente importancia de los minoristas de masas han creado una cadena de suministro desequilibrada donde, sobre todo, los pequeños productores y los consumidores son más débiles. En contra de este escenario, en los últimos veinte años la agricultura y los mercados de proximidad se han ido situando como espacios relevantes de experimentación de prácticas sociales innovadoras con el objetivo de solucionar esta anomalía y de reequilibrar la distribución del valor en el conjunto de cadena de suministro. Las cooperativas de consumo solidario forman parte de estas experiencias innovadoras y pueden representar una de las medidas más relevantes para contrastar el poder de negociación de los minoristas de masa. No obstante, el análisis en este artículo muestra como las cooperativas de consumo solidario son innovaciones sociales que sólo consiguen parcialmente el objetivo de reducir la marginalización económica de sus proveedores al crear una cadena de suministro alternativa.
Attila Havas
added 2 research items
Thorough case studies clearly indicate that in many cases social innovations can only be successful when supported by various types of business innovations, be they product, process, management, organisation, business model or market innovations. Both business and social innovations have been studied for several decades by now. Yet, these two communities still seem to live in their own fiefdoms. This review is aimed at stressing the need and possibilities for more interactions and exchanges between these two ‘tribes’. As a first step, lessons from business innovation studies are highlighted below, indicating opportunities to refine the analytical tools and methods we use, and thus improve our understanding of social innovation processes. These insights – on the degree of novelty, level of change, the ‘dark side’ of innovation, policy rationales to justify interventions, and policy implications – can be useful for practitioners, social innovation scholars, policy analysts and policy-makers.
Attila Havas
added a research item
The presentation, based on a forthcoming book chapter, analyses the specific features of social innovation for marginalised people (SIM), using the example of Kiútpgram, a Hungarian social microcredit programme. It offers a review of the marginalisation of the Roma in Hungary, considering the major factors of becoming marginalised as well as the processes reproducing marginalisation, stressing the impacts of interactions between institutions, networks and cognitive frames, showing that the complex nature of the reproduction of marginalisation requires complex interventions, including empowering and capability building. The presentation highlights several policy and practical implications, including trade-offs to be considered when planning and implementing SIMs – in particular, those between exact targeting in a SIM versus building inter-community connections; the degree of assistance provided versus the short-term empowerment effect; and the degree of marginalisation of the participants versus the costs of a given SIM.
Attila Havas
added a research item
The poster presents a complex social innovation for the marginalised (SIM), namely the Kiútprogram, a social microcredit programme for the Roma in Hungary. It sheds light on the peculiarities of SIM within the wider field of social innovation and offers several theoretical and policy implications concerning SIM.
Lara Maestripieri
added an update
Finally the postprint version available for #openscience ! Please access Does social innovation reduce the economic marginalization of women? insights from the case of italian solidarity purchasing groups - on Dipòsit Digital de Documents de la UAB
The article is part of the Special Issue published on the Journal of Social Entrepreneurship that collects the empirical evidence on social innovation collected during the CrESSI project.
 
Rafael Ziegler
added a research item
The capability approach, an influential development in ethics, provides a way for the consideration of justice and democracy at the core of social innovation. It creates space for a critical reflection on and promotion of social innovation that is social both in its ends and in its means.
Lara Maestripieri
added a research item
Over the last twenty years, Alternative Food Networks (AFN) have become increasingly successful at reducing the length of the chain that connects food production and consumption in an attempt to counteract the impact of the contradictions of the industrial food system and its supermarket-dominated distribution. Their grassroots actions, aimed at overcoming pre-existing socioeconomic structures, are in line with social innovations, which have the objective of promoting the social participation of consumers and producers in food systems (empowerment, socio-political activism or social integration in society). In Italy, the Solidarity Purchasing Groups (SPGs), have been the subject of numerous academic studies, but the scope of these studies has, to date, been limited to the political activism of the consumer. The ability of this experience to foster the social participation of the groups' suppliers and the effects that the exchange has on the economic life of the producers have not yet been adequately studied. This article addresses this gap by investigating the extent to which SPGs can reduce the economic marginalisation of their suppliers and evaluates if the activities they promote could increase their social participation. Based on quantitative and qualitative data, this study shows that SPGs, in contrast to other AFNs, maintain a clear separation between consumers and producers and this could mitigate the positive impact of these initiatives on their suppliers. Our analysis of the suppliers shows that SPGs can act as a safety net against economic downturns and that the social participation of the producers involved is higher at the macro, meso and individual levels, compared to producers who do not cooperate with the SPGs.
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
1. "Robots and us: towards an economics of the ‘Good Life’ ", by C. W. M. (Ro) Naastepad & Jesse M. Mulder in Review of Social Econmy, 76/3:
(Expected) adverse effects of the ‘ICT Revolution’ on work and opportunities for individuals to use and develop their capacities give a new impetus to the debate on the societal implications of technology and raise questions regarding the ‘responsibility’ of research and innovation (RRI) and the possibility of achieving ‘inclusive and sustainable society’. However, missing in this debate is an examination of a possible conflict between the quest for ‘inclusive and sustainable society’ and conventional economic principles guiding capital allocation (including the funding of research and innovation). We propose that such conflict can be resolved by re-examining the nature and purpose of capital, and by recognising mainstream economics’ utilitarian foundations as an unduly restrictive subset of a wider Aristotelian understanding of choice.
Read the whole paper here (open access):
2. "For a holistic social science: the NACEVP model applied to the environment, gender and populism", by Risto Heiskala in Journal of Political Power:
The paper builds a research programme reaching beyond the contemporary fragmentation of social sciences toward a holistic approach considering society as one whole and capable of bridging the gap between the human and natural sciences. It is based on Michael Mann’s IEMP model studying the Ideological, Economic, Military, and Political power sources in historical sociology. Here it is extended to the NACEVP model, which is a social-theoretical research programme for the study of all objects covering Natural, Artefactual, Cultural, Economic, Violence-related, and Political power sources. Brief case analyses on environmental problems, gender, and the rise of populism follow as evaluations.
Read the whole paper here (open access):
 
Lara Maestripieri
added a research item
The article here presented offers an analysis of Solidarity Purchasing Groups under the frame of the social innovation debate. By relying on two main axes of analysis that take into account the features of the territory in which the activities of the groups are embedded (economic vulnerability and density), it investigates how networks, institutions and cognitive frames – as theorised by Beckert (2010) – are effective in reducing the economic marginalisation of the beneficiaries of their activities, identified by small family farmers. The empirical investigation is based on 35 semi-structured interviews (completed by short organisational questionnaires) that investigate solidarity purchasing groups as organisations, focusing on their activities in favour of their suppliers. Results show that groups are rarely oriented towards local communities and their activities only rarely succeed in involving systematically their suppliers in the activities of the group.
Nadia von Jacobi
added a research item
Social innovation has increasingly been referred to as a potential driver for–transformative and disruptive -- social change because it offers the potential to provide solutions to social needs that the current institutional status quo neglects or only partially attends to. In this introduction to the special issue on social innovation and marginalisation, the editors provide an overview of the theoretical framework, with which the two phenomena can be put into connection. It introduces the Extended Social Grid Model, in which an institutionalist perspective on social forces can be combined with the capability approach that puts human agency at its core.
Lara Maestripieri
added a research item
The Social Forces theory was proposed by Beckert (2010) to study the interconnecting dynamic interrelations between institutions, networks and cognitive frames that underlie economic phenomena. In the context of this article, this theoretical perspective was applied to study Solidarity Purchasing Groups as a social innovation and to assess their capacity to create a new process of social inclusion for their suppliers. Despite being the most relevant alternative food networks in Italy, Solidarity Purchasing groups are only partially able to fulfil the promise of social innovation (by increasing the participation of beneficiaries and challenging pre-existing socio-economic dynamics) through the establishment of an alternative supply-chain alongside the one proposed by mass retailers. The results were obtained from an empirical investigation of 35 solidarity purchasing groups (2015/2016, nationally based), under the frame of the EU-funded CRESSI project.
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
In preparation of our Cressi social innovation conference, three more blog contributions have been published:
Attila Havas on lessons from business innovations for social innovation.
Lara Maestripieri on social innovation protecting households but necessarily women.
Risto Heiskala on policy design in the European Union.
These and further blog contributions are are available here: http://cressi.sbsblogs.co.uk/
 
Rafael Ziegler
added a research item
Economic space for social innovation is not bounded by markets. Further to the money based exchange relations in markets, there is self and informal provision based on social norms such as reciprocity, community and; public provision of entitlements and public goods organised via political processes; as well as professional provision based on expert knowledge. While these ideal-types blur in practice, they show the rich contours and collaborative pluralism of economic space in practice. Fostering fair space for social innovation requires to take all these modes and their relations into account. Social innovations as messages signal to the public where a change in mode or a reconfiguration of modes is demanded. Fairness as a matter of taking the perspective of those marginalised and least advantaged, calls for evaluative scrutiny with respect to such messages: do social innovations empower beneficiaries to become agents; and do they consider their well-being as patients?
Attila Havas
added 3 research items
Various economics schools define and analyse innovation in different ways. That has fundamental implications for measuring innovation. This presentation provides an overview of the major economics paradigms from the angle of innovation (that is, how innovation is understood in a given paradigm), linear and networked models of innovation, as well as the widely used indicators to measure innovation. It argues that evolutionary economics of innovation offers a more accurate, more reliable account of innovation activities than mainstream economics. The former considers all knowledge-intensive activities leading to new goods (products or services), processes, business models, as well as new organisational and managerial solutions, and thus take into account various types, forms and sources of knowledge exploited for innovation by all sorts of actors in all economic sectors. In contrast, mainstream economics mainly focuses on the so-called high-tech goods and sectors. The former, broad, approach to innovation is needed to collect data and other types of information, on which sound theories can be built. These theories, in turn, can offer a reliable and comprehensive description of innovation activities to decision-makers to underpin innovation policies and company strategies.
The presentation analyses why and how the previously unknown legal form of social co-operatives has been introduced in Hungary, characterised by wide social gaps and severe tensions, and why the history of genuine social co-operatives was cut short drastically in 2017.
The paper analyses why and how the previously unknown legal form of social co-operatives was introduced in Hungary in 2006, and why the history of genuine social co-operatives was cut short drastically in 2017.
Nadia von Jacobi
added 2 research items
Empirical investigation of social innovation and its effects is a much under-explored terrain. Difficulties range from the conceptual complexity of social innovation processes to empirical implementation. This study applies a conceptual framework (ESGM) that envisages multi-layered effects of social innovation on individuals and societies. It analyzes subjective, primary data to compare three different European cases, proposing an empirical strategy to capture their effects. Perceptions of participants report improvements in autonomy and that social innovations mainly produce intangible outcomes such as knowledge and personal relationships, which are unlikely to be captured in synthetic measures such as average effects or money metrics.
Lara Maestripieri
added an update
For those CrESSI followers interested in social innovation and welfare, it might be relevant to know that I'm coordinating a session at the next SISEC 2018. The session is entitled “Between Investment and Austerity: welfare facing social innovation” and aims at collecting contributions on contemporary trends in welfare research, with particular attention to social investment, welfare recalibration, social innovation, social impact finance and workplace welfare arrangements.
The conference is going to be held in Catholic University, Milano January 25th-27th 2018 and it will attract international and national researchers around the contemporary debates of economic sociology. For those willing to contribute, you have to send a long abstract (1500 words) to convegnosisec2018@gmail.com (object: “Call for papers SISEC 2018 – Session 15”) by October 16th. The full CfP follows along for your convenience.
Session 15: Between Investment and Austerity: welfare facing social innovation
The economic crisis and the fiscal compact’s measures adopted for facing the crisis of the sovereign debts has negatively impacted on welfare’s recalibration process, increasing inequalities in access to social security and igniting process of marginalisation that distributed the costs of austerity unequally across social groups. At the same time, the goals at the basis of European Social Agenda (explicitly framed in the social investment approach) are pursued in several countries by costs’ savings strategies which concur at expanding or keeping unaltered the level of social interventions, but at the cost of new and deeper trade-offs. Trade-offs that lies between the increase of coverage rates in services for new social risks and low-waged labour in the same services; between access to minimum income schemes and work-first activation strategies in community services; between public and private expenditure, being it of financial nature (social impact finance) or occupational (workplace welfare arrangements/ employee welfare benefits).
If in austerity times a “low” road-map to social investment is likely to emerge as a convergence perspective among European countries, empirical investigations can also be found as well that show how bottom-up reactions are emerging, with the aim of counterbalancing the public retrenchment and of innovating in content and practices the welfare supply, also thanks to new technologies. Process of hybridisation are also emerging, in which public and private tends to contaminate, in seek of unprecedented solutions not necessarily guided by costs containment. The session proposed in SISEC 2018 aspires at collecting empirical and theoretical contributions with the aim of investigating effects of different process of change in European, Italian and locally-based experiences, within case studies or in comparative perspective.
Starting from this viewpoint, we invite papers that deals with the following phenomena:
  • New and old inequalities in access to social services, which the post-crisis welfare system is not able to face;
  • Trade-offs related to local welfare supply, care labour market (formal and informal), public and private social expenditure;
  • Process of hybridisation between public and private actors in local welfare, between privatisation and neo-mutualism, informal welfare and technological innovation;
  • Process of social innovation able to retrieve richness and diversity of civil society, in order to offer new solutions to needs that private and public actors are not able to satisfy;
Paper are welcome in Italian and English. The full call for papers is available at the conference website: http://sociologia-economica.it/?p=34150#more-34150
 
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
Friday, 15.12. 2017, 16:00 -17:30 Central European Time, 19:30-21:00 Delhi Time, 12:00 – 13:30 Eastern Standard Time
While the concept of social innovation is becoming increasingly popular in the social sciences, empirical evidence on it is still rather scarce and fragmented and there is still a search for consolidated methods regarding social innovation measurement and its impact. Of particular interest from a human development and capabilities approach perspective is the agency of those involved in social innovation processes. However, how can we track agency, and the interplay of structure and agency in social innovation process? And based on this: What is the evidence: does social innovation promote agency and empower those “benefiting” from social innovation?
The webinar will present preliminary results from the EU-research project CrESSI (Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation). Drawing from its extended social grid approach, CrESSI researchers operationalized agency in terms of autonomy and conducted an empirical survey with innovators and beneficiaries across three European social innovation cases (solidarity purchasing groups, interest communities for decentralized drinking water supply and wastewater removal and complementary currencies). The webinar will introduce methods and results of this approach. Moreover, the approach will be critically contrasted with insights and findings from the EU-research project TRANSIT (Transformative Social Innovation Theory).
The case will be presented by Nadia von Jacobi (Oxford University) and Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti (University of Pavia), followed by an initial round of comments by Rene Kemp (Maastricht University), and Graciela Tonon (Universidad de Palermo). The webinar host is Rafael Ziegler (GETIDOS). The webinar is a joint event of the HDCA Thematic Group Technology, Innovation and Design, the HDCA Thematic Group Quantitative Research Methods, and the EU-project CrESSI (Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation) that explores the economic underpinnings of social innovation, drawing inter alia on long-term studies of social innovations such as social housing and freshwater supply.
Participants must register in advance: To register please send a brief email to getidos@uni-greifswald.de. Once you have registered, you will receive further instructions on how to participate in the webinar.
Suggested readings (Texts will be made available to participants prior to the webinar):
Nadia von Jacobi, Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti, Rafael Ziegler, Martjin van der Linden and Cees van Beers, "Social Innovation and Agency: Empirical Results from three European Case Studies on Perceived Autonomy", Chapter 10 of Alex Nicholls and Rafael Ziegler “Creating economic space for social innovation” (in preparation for 2018).
Haxeltine A., Jørgensen, M. S., Pel, B., Dumitru, A., Avelino, F., Bauler, Lema, Blanco, I., T. Chilvers, J., Cipolla, C., Dorland, J., Elle, M., Garido, S., Kemp, R., Kunze, I., Longhurst, N., Pataki, G., Rach, S., Renema, J., Ruijsink, S., Strasser, T., Tawakol, D., Weaver, P. and Wittmayer J. M. (2016) On the agency and dynamics of transformative social innovation, TRANSIT working paper #7.
Further readings:
Special Issue “Social Innovation and Marginalization” in the Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 3/2017
Alex Nicholls and Rafael Ziegler, An extended social grid model for the Study of Marginalization Processes and Social Innovation, CrESSI Working Papers #2
Further information:
 
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
A special issue for the Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, edited by Nadia von Jacobi, Alex Nicholls and Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti, explores the role of social innovation for overcoming marginalization and exclusion. The issue offers new empirical and theoretical material with which to explore social innovation as a driver of structural, socio-hierarchical change. Four in-depth case studies from Germany, Hungary, Italy, and the Netherlands provide rich quantitative and qualitative material for the empirical and conceptual exploration of the CrESSI extended social grid model.
Three of the cases - solidarity purchasing groups (Italy), community interest groups for decentralized water management (Germany) and systems of private money (Netherlands) – are built upon coordinated, primary data collection in a mixed method approach, which makes a comparison across cases possible. For each case, 30 interviews were conducted and on this basis a quantitative questionnaire with beneficiaries was carried out. The analysis of the Hungarian case is based on other, secondary data, collected within the programme described.
The first article by Nadia von Jacobi and Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti explores how to capture empirically the multi-layered insights framed by the extended social grid model. This study provides insights on the methods for primary data collection. The authors propose a methodology in which effects on both individuals and societies can be measured in an integrated way. The paper compares effects across solidarity purchasing groups, private capital systems and community interest groups The empirical analysis is centred on capturing processes through which social innovation changes society by modifying both structural factors and individuals' agency. Read the article here:
; if you do not have institutional access to the journal, a limited number of full article downloads is available here: http://mailchi.mp/40b68443d01f/cressi-news-17).
In the second contribution, Martijn van der Linden and Cees van Beers explore Dutch private capital systems. They propose a new classification of different designs according to how capital is created and governed. By combining insights gathered in qualitative interviews with accounting analysis, van der Linden and van Beers introduce the d article link ifferent mechanisms by which private capital innovates within the existing economic system. They conclude that private capital systems generally can be qualified as social innovations but that their potential for disruptiveness is limited by design. It is the externalities that come with the public and network nature of monetary systems that are likely to impede disruption by private (digital) moneys. Read this open access article here: .
In her paper on gender and social innovation, Lara Maestripieri investigates whether social innovation can have an effect on the economic marginalization of women drawing specifically from the Italian case of solidarity purchasing groups. Despite their growing labour market participation, many women still tend to have part-time or temporary jobs in order better to combine work and child-care activities. Moreover, Italy is subject to post-industrial transformations that have changed the overall European labour force, with employment in agriculture declining at the expense of growing numbers of service jobs, a trend of increasing labour market participation among women and the effects of deregulation in the labour market increasing flexibility but also insecurity. The Italian agricultural sector - the context within which this social innovation is embedded - can be considered as an exemplary case as employment is traditionally strongly gendered in favour of men. Maestripieri’s analysis is based on a logistic regression using the survey data collected in 2016. The results show that participation in social innovation does protect households from worsening economic conditions. However, there is no evidence that there is a significant difference between men and women in the benefit enjoyed from the participation in solidarity purchasing groups. Read the article here:
If you do not have institutional access to the journal, a limited number of full article downloads is available here: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/gqtmS4zDH7FwqTX97a2w/full ).
In the next paper, Rafael Ziegler draws on the material gathered via the extended social grid model to identify a mode of social innovation in late modernity: Citizen innovation as niche restoration. It is about civic action that creates novelty by seeking to restore the places and practices citizens already value. Drawing from an in-depth case study on decentralized water management in Southern Germany – hamlets, villages and towns providing their own drinking water supply and waste water treatment, and organizing themselves in a network of initiatives – Ziegler explores niche restoration and the tools of critical delegation used by citizens. A republican element of civic control is central to this mode of social innovation that pits local communities against centralizing tendencies. While the paper focuses on the freshwater case, niche restoration is relevant beyond the case for grassroots innovation and indigenous innovation and their creative responses to power dynamics in late modernity. Read the article here:
; if you do not have institutional access to the journal, a limited number of full article downloads is available from here http://mailchi.mp/40b68443d01f/cressi-news-17).
In the final contribution, @György Molnár discusses the ambivalent role of microfinance as a social innovation for the marginalized. In theory, by providing access to credit to the poor, microcredit programmes offer the potential to change power structures significantly. However, drawing on the capability approach developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, he shows that providing loans without additional capability building is insufficient to combat social exclusion. He uses empirical insights from a case study on a Hungarian non-profit corporation that provides unsecured loans and mentoring primarily to the socially excluded Roma to underscore that only through the provision of complementary support, such as business advice, financial training, skill development, help in registering businesses and in book-keeping, can microfinance promote changes in the relative position of marginalized people and, thus, be an effective tool for empowerment. In addition, Molnár points out that a lack of inter-community social ties and the prejudices against the Roma mutually reinforce each other. Molnár's paper shows that, if microfinance is meant to alter power structures, it also requires careful design that addresses the main structural disadvantages of the poor. Failing this, it risks a mission drift towards focusing on less disadvantaged groups, whereby the exclusion of the most disadvantaged may even increase. Read the article here:
If you do not have institutional access to the journal, a limited number of full article downloads is available from here http://mailchi.mp/40b68443d01f/cressi-news-17).
This special issue complements the historical long-term case studies in CrESSI (see WP5 and Working Paper 29 and 35). In CrESSI, qualitative and quantitative case studies are used to explore the extended social grid model developed within the project.
 
Lara Maestripieri
added a research item
This paper explores the relationship between gender and social innovation to highlight the possible positive effects of women's participation in social innovation in terms of protection from economic marginalization. It focuses on Italian solidarity purchasing groups as a case of social innovation in the domain of food and agriculture. The analysis is based on logistic regression using primary data collected in 2016 for the EU funded project CrESSI. The results show that participation in social innovation does protect households from worsening economic conditions. However, it was not empirically proven that there is a significant difference between men and women in the benefit enjoyed from the participation in solidarity purchasing groups.
Rafael Ziegler
added 3 research items
The rise of social innovation expresses a discontent with innovation as we know it, and its ability to deliver just and sustainable outcomes. Yet, social innovation is also notoriously vague as a concept, thereby putting into doubt whether the concept offers any real improvements or alternatives. This paper issues an invitation to think about social innovation as a collaborative concept. The conceptual framework shows collaboration, rather than contestation, to offer a space for the working together of different perspectives and actors. The collaborative concept frame welcomes and seeks to explain a diversity of uses. Singling out key features of social innovation as a collaborative concept, it seeks to contribute to an emerging practice that makes different contributions part of a progressive conversation about social innovation, the evaluative ideas associated with it and the evidence from policies and projects. Identifying transformative, taxonomical and transitional–sceptical uses of social innovation, the paper highlights the importance of analysing the evaluative aspects of the multisectoral reconfigurations associated with social innovation so as to keep track of its role for justice and sustainability.
There have been many creative responses to modern economic, political and technological developments and their (un)intended social and ecological consequences. These responses provide the soil for the type of social innovation identified in this article: citizen innovation as niche restoration. It is about civic action that creates novelty by seeking to restore the places and practices citizens already value. Drawing from an in-depth case study on decentralized water management, the concept of citizen innovation as niche restoration is explored, and its implications for political participation and sustainability discussed.
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
The final conference of the project CrESSI is scheduled for 26.1.2018 at the SBS, University of Oxford. The programme for the conference is available here: https://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/school/events-0/creating-economic-space-social-innovation-final-conference.
 
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
The publisher of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities (Volume 2/2017) offers free downloads to two articles. If you do not have access to the journal, you can read
 
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
Special Issue Social Innovation and the Capability Approach
Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti, Christopher Houghton-Budd and Rafael Ziegler have edited the first multi-authored discussion of social innovation and the capability approach for the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities. It includes eight research articles as well as three policy briefs.
The first paper in this special issue by Nadia von Jacobi, Daniel Edmiston and Rafael Ziegler (2017) explores the possibility of tackling marginalisation through social innovation, and on this basis criticises a mismatch between EU social innovation policy documents and the polices actually carried out so far. Drawing from work on justice and disadvantage from a capability perspective, the paper develops a conception of marginalization and discusses strategies designed to overcome it. It argues that effective social innovation capable of tackling marginalisation not only depends on the active participation of marginalised individuals, but also on addressing the institutional embeddedness of their disadvantage. It then uses this account of marginalization and social innovation for a survey of EU social innovation policy. It discovers bias towards prevailing institutional and cognitive ends – such as putting people into jobs – that belies the transformative potential of social innovation emphasised in EU policy documents. One way of dealing with this bias from a human development perspective, is to include marginalised groups in the policy design and implementation processes, thereby incorporating from the outset the ‘doings’ and ‘beings’ they value. As we will see, subsequent papers in this special issue make a variety of suggestions how the goal of such a bottom-up, emancipatory process could be advanced.
Prior to this, a second paper by Jürgen Howaldt and Michael Schwartz (2017), Social innovation and human development – how the capabilities approach and social innovation theory mutually support each other, suggests that some more theoretical ground work is needed, not least so as to prevent the capture of social innovation in conventional, narrow conceptions of innovation and the economy. For this, recourse to the sociology of Gabriel Tarde and his analysis of social change is helpful. ‘The real causes of change consist of a chain of certainly very numerous ideas, which however are different and discontinuous, yet they are connected together by even far more numerous acts of imitation, for which they serve as a model’ (Tarde cited in Howaldt and Schwartz’s article). Such a sociological grounding leads to a focus on practices and the change of social practices at the core of social innovation. If such change is to be intentional and effective in an ethically ‘good’ way, which social innovation discourse tends to assume, linking practice theory with the evaluative language of the capability approach can stimulate a more reflective use of social innovation, and its consequences for different people, as well as for problems where it is needed most.
In her exploration of the role of the capability approach in social innovation, Meera Tiwari (2017) reminds us that in spite of the current hype, social innovation is nothing new. In particular, the emergence of the co-operative movement in the nineteenth century around social visionaries such as Robert Owen initiated early on one of the most important social innovations. The example of Owen as an individual experimenting in New Lanark in 1799 with an improved, economic and cooperative process is well chosen, as Tiwari argues that it is the aspirations of people that are crucially important. If there is a space for individual and group articulation of aspirations, this creates the space for social innovations that in turn serve as conversion factors for people to expand their real freedoms. She further discusses this thesis with three examples: self-help groups, M-Pesa and the Indian Freedom Movement under Gandhi.
Following these three papers on the capability approach and social innovation in relation to theories of injustice and disadvantage, practice theory and the analytic tool box of the capability approach, the next set of papers turn to a challenge that clearly emerges from these papers in spite of their quite different conceptual starting points: how to take the perception and values of people as agents seriously in social change process? How to liberate the creative and emancipatory potential of an innovation process that is not only outcome-focused? The first response to this challenge is offered by Solava Ibrahim (2017) in her paper on Building Collective Capabilities: The 3C-Model for Grassroots-led Development. She notes that the poor need to engage in acts of collective agency to generate new collective capabilities that each individual alone would not be able to achieve. But is there any systematic way to initiate, support and sustain such as process? Ibrahim suggests the 3C: (1) Conscientization; (2) Conciliation and (3) Collaboration. Conscientization, defined by her as a process that encourages citizens to think critically about their realities and nurture their ‘capacity to aspire’ for better lives. This C incorporates the thesis observed earlier in relation to Owen, as well as ex negativo in relation to the failure of EU policy practice to take the ends of people rather than of prevailing institutions as a starting point. The next two Cs focus on the dynamic between individuals, groups and institutions: conciliation seeks to blend individual and collective interest so as to create a common vision; collaboration refers to working with the state, civil societies and donors so as to challenge power relations effectively. The paper concludes with three Ss – success, sustainability and scalability – and the importance of individual behavioural change, collective agency and institutional reform.
The second response to the challenge comes from Joel Matthews (2017). In his paper Understanding Indigenous Innovation in Rural West Africa: Challenges to Diffusion of Innovations Theory and Current Social Innovation Practice, Matthews notes that even with a switch to social innovation, a modernist approach to innovation diffusion frequently prevails. An example is the idea of technology transfer, externally devised inventions diffused by local innovators. This approach is not only problematic, Matthew argues, it also overlooks a genuine source of creative responses: innovation processes originating in marginalised communities themselves. Drawing on a case study of rural farming in West Africa, he makes the case for a discovery-based model of innovation within indigenous communities, and questions the prevailing focus on scaling up.
In a third response, Almas Mazigo (2017) turns to action research. His paper, Enhancing social innovation through action research: evidence from an empirical study in the fishing sector of Ukerewe District, Tanzania, presents a series of group meetings he organized with stakeholders in the fishing sector. They were designed to provide the participants with opportunities to reflect on individual and collective challenges, and to propose and discussed novel ideas, strategies, services and products. We would like to highlight specifically his findings on ideas and how the fisherfolk where able to change their framing: from poor actors to ‘constrained wealth creators’. This change in perception of social status is no doubt an important aspect in regard to the aspirations concerning individual and collective capacities. Accordingly, this contribution adds the role of action research for social innovation and the capability approach.
The next paper by Victoria Pellicer-Sifres, Sergio Belda-Miquel, Aurora López-Fogués & Alejandra Boni Aristizábal (2017) contributes grassroots innovation to the discussion of social innovation and the capability approach. Grassroots innovation here refers to networks of activists and organizations generating bottom-up solutions for sustainable development, i.e. the innovations originate from and primarily operate in civil society rather than in business. In their paper, Grassroots Social Innovation for Human Development: An Analysis of Alternative Food Networks in the City of Valencia (Spain), the authors discuss such innovations in relation to agency, purposes, drivers and processes and their specification in terms of the capability approach. On this basis, they propose a novel framework – Grassroots Social Innovation for Human Development – for improved understanding of bottom-up, transformative social innovation processes.
In the final paper, Information technology, innovation and human development: hospital information systems in an Indian state, Sundeep Sahay and Geoff Walsham (2017), turn to a mega-trend in innovation: information and communication technologies (ICT). They ask how innovations based on ICT can contribute to human development. For this, they note that ICT itself involves technological, social and institutional innovation and then explore how these innovations can contribute to human development. On this basis, they study the development and use of a hospital information system in Himachal Pradesh, India. They identify three processes of relevance for human development: strengthening processes to include the disadvantaged, empowering the patient and making communal voices count. Their framework has wider applicability for the analysis of ICT-based innovations and human development.
In conclusion, this special issue, while based on independently written contributions and notwithstanding the diversity of cases and insights, still suggests a shared story. To overcome marginalisation, exclusion and poverty in any meaningful way it is necessary to include the marginalised in projects, programmes and policies by devising them with rather than about or for them. If this is to be effective, the challenge is to liberate reflection and imagination from narrowly economic and political perspectives and from cognitive and institutional pressures to ‘fit’ people into prevailing structures with the attendant risk of merely reproducing ways of doing and being. To this end, in their different ways the contributions in this special issue suggest that there is a need to pay attention to perspectives and voices from indigenous groups, civil society groups, and the working poor: both as individuals reflecting on their needs and aspirations, and as members of groups and social networks. As such reflection processes, group formation, and insertion in institutional change cannot be taken for granted, not least as there are countervailing pressures for more rapid, disruptive change that shortcuts such potentially slow and at any rate multi-voice, co-determined processes, the role and responsibility of scientists is a tacit background theme throughout these papers. Taking a step back, social innovation research emerges as one way to complement the long-standing tradition of capability research on manifest injustice and basic justice and with it, to use a Rawlsian term, the most disadvantaged groups in society (Sen 2009, Nussbaum 2006, Rawls 1999). It complements the search for improved principles and accounts of justice and equality with a bottom up actor-perspective. Given the malleability of the concept of social innovation, and the difference between rhetoric and practice it permits, as an also evaluative perspective the capability approach can critically accompany social innovation discourse so as to help it stay ‘on track’, and remain focused on urgent issues within a global perspective.
It is therefore fitting that, in addition to the research papers just outlined, this special issue also includes three policy briefs: one on creating economic space for social innovation by proposing a series of policy considerations from the CrESSI research project on social innovation for human development (Ziegler, Molnár, Chiappero-Marinetti and von Jacobi 2017); another, drawing on the research project EFESEIIS, on enabling ecosystems for social enterprises and social innovation (Biggeri, Testi and Bellucci 2017); and a third on social innovation in Latin America (Domanski, Howaldt and Schröder 2017) based on research carried out in the project SI-Drive.
Special issue contributors also on researchgate:
 
Daniel Edmiston
added a research item
Social impact bonds are payment by results contracts that leverage private social investment to cover the up-front expenditure associated with welfare services. The introduction of private principles and actors through outcome-based commissioning has received a great deal of attention in social policy research. However, there has been much less attention given to the introduction of private capital and its relation to more established forms of quasi-marketisation. This paper examines what effect private social investment has on outcome-based commissioning and whether the alternative forms of performance measurement and management, that social impact bonds bring to bear on service operations, demonstrate the capacity to engender: innovation in service delivery; improved social outcomes; future cost savings; and additionality. This paper draws on an in-depth study of four social impact bonds in the UK context, as the welfare regime at the vanguard of this policy development. The findings suggest that the introduction of private capital in outcome-based commissioning has had a number of unique and unintended effects on service providers, operations and outcomes. The paper concludes by considering whether social impact bonds represent a risk or an opportunity for public service reform both in the UK and further afield.
Lara Maestripieri
added an update
A session coordinated by D. Arcidiacono, Y. Chiffoleau, A. Loconto, L. Maestripieri and A. Podda is now live for submission at the next ISA World Congress of Sociology, to be held July 2018 in Toronto. The session is entitled "Prosumers and Social Innovation in Alternative Food Networks": it develops theoretically the implications for the social innovation debate that the case of Solidarity Purchasing Groups in CrESSI project have underlined in the Italian agricolture and food sector.
Deadline for submitting your paper proposal at the ISA World Congress of Sociology is 30 September 2017: https://isaconf.confex.com/isaconf/wc2018/webprogrampreliminary/Session9696.html.
 
Private Profile
added a research item
The paper deals with financing social innovation today and during the Victorian age. It explores ways in which capital markets can create value beyond private profit today and how private actors did the same thing back then. The ways to do this are nowadays often subsumed under the heading of social impact investing and one of the historical paths was called five percent philanthropy. When successful, both approaches create financial as well as social, yet there are substantial differences. We look at both concepts and how they are/were practiced, practitioners’ motivations, contexts/ecosystems, driving forces, investment fields, financial performance and their impact on beneficiaries’ capabilities. We do so by applying two theoretical lenses: The extended social grid model and the multi-level perspective. We found that the Victorian approach did not target the most marginalized, and so did not enhance their capabilities significantly and therefore would not completely qualify as an early form of financing social innovation; but it did fare quite well economically. In contrast, social impact investing today has the potential to make a difference for the most marginalized, however it needs to be seen whether or not it can leave its niche status behind and gather momentum, and that in turn depends on whether practitioners succeed in finding enough economically successful investment opportunities. However, the historical case provides some evidence for the claim that in order to make a difference with severe social problems, a finance first investment approach may not be sufficient.
Attila Havas
added 2 research items
This article reviews various approaches to measuring business innovation with the aim of drawing lessons for measuring social innovations, and offers several methodological and policy conclusions. First, Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS) indicators, in principle, could be useful in settings where the dominant mode of innovation is based on R&D activities. In practice, however, both R&D and non-R&D-based modes of innovation are important. IUS, therefore, only provides a partial picture. Social innovations can also rely on R&D-based technological innovations; their essence, however, tends to be organisational, managerial, and behavioural changes. The IUS indicators do not capture these types of changes. Second, an assessment of the 81 indicators used to compile the Global Innovation Index reveals that it would not be fruitful to rely on such indicators to capture social innovations. Third, given the diversity among innovation systems, a poor performance signalled by a composite indicator does not automatically identify the area(s) necessitating the most urgent policy actions; only tailored, thorough comparative analyses can do so. Finally, analysts and policy makers need to be aware of the differences between measuring (i) social innovation activities (or efforts); (ii) the framework for social innovations (prerequisites , available inputs, skills, norms, values, behavioural patterns, etc.); and (iii) the economic, societal, and environmental impacts of social innovations. Keywords: Evolutionary economics of innovation; business innovation; social innovation; measurement of innovation; composite indicators; scoreboards; league tables; unit of analysis
Lara Maestripieri
added an update
Lara Maestripieri (University of Pavia) and Davide Arcidiacono (Catholic University of Milan) will organise the session "Pro-sumers on the move. Resilience, cooperation and social innovation of active consumers for a new economy" at the SISEC Conference 2017 (Italian Society for Economic Sociology), to be held 26-28 January 2017.
During the session, it will be presented a paper co-authored by Daniel Edmiston, Rafael Ziegler and Nadia von Jacobi entitled "Tackling marginalisation through social innovation? Examining the EU social innovation policy agenda from a capabilities perspective". Please find the program in attachment, for info: http://sociologia-economica.it/?page_id=32006.
 
Daniel Edmiston
added an update
CRESSI Seminar: How can public and social innovation build a more inclusive economy?
Time: 12:00 to 17:00, 27 January 2017
Location: Nesta, 58 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0DE, United Kingdom
This CrESSI event is in partnership with Nesta and will bring together policymakers, public sector commissioners, social finance and social impact investment entities to explore how social innovation policy can better address inequality and marginalisation. For further information about this event and registration, please click here: http://www.nesta.org.uk/event/how-can-public-and-social-innovation-build-more-inclusive-economy
 
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
Tackling homelessness through social innovation:
The Paavo Housing Programme in Finland
Based on the ‘Housing First’ principle, the PAAVO housing programme sought to tackle long-term homeless in Finland. The initiative converted temporary shelters and dwellings to provide stable and secure accommodation for those experiencing long-term homelessness. Alongside housing support, residents also receive social and health care services that are tailored to meet their long-term needs and ambitions. The scheme has proven highly successful with many targets exceeded and the rate of long-term homelessness reduced by more than a third.
Recent research undertaken by Jari Aro (CrESSI Tampere) has examined the particular ways in which the PAAVO housing programme engendered social innovation within the public and social economy sector.
Based on lesson learnt, the research findings were presented and debated at a practitioner seminar in Tampere and a policy roundtable in Helsinki.
 
Attila Havas
added a research item
This presentation is based on a paper with the same title, as well as on other papers also written for the CrESSI projects. It reviews various approaches to measuring business innovation from the angle of capturing social innovations and offers several methodological and policy conclusions. First, the Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS) indicators in principle could be useful in settings where the dominant mode of innovation is based on R&D activities. In practice, however, both R&D and non-R&D-based modes of innovation are fairly important. IUS, therefore, only provides a partial picture. Social innovations can certainly rely on R&D-based technological innovations. Their essence, however, tends to be organisational, managerial and behavioural changes. The IUS indicators do not capture these types of changes. Second, an assessment of the 81 indicators used to compile the Global Innovation Index reveals that it would neither be a fruitful effort to rely on those indicators to capture social innovations. Third, given the diversity among innovation systems, a poor performance signalled by a composite indicator does not automatically identify the area(s) necessitating the most urgent policy actions. Only tailored, thorough comparative analyses can do so. Fourth, analysts and policy-makers need to be aware of the differences between measuring (i) social innovation activities (efforts) themselves, (ii) the framework conditions (pre-requisites, available inputs, skills, norms, values, behavioural patterns, etc.) of being socially innovative, and (iii) the economic, societal or environmental impacts of social innovations. Finally, the presentation also considers the relevance of some other results of ’classical’ innovation studies for analysing social innovations, especially the importance of the unit of analysis (or subject and level of change) and degree of novelty. It offers several observations and caveats by using these notions.
Nadia von Jacobi
added a research item
This paper demonstrates that the capabilities approach offers a number of conceptual and evaluative benefits for understanding social innovation and – in particular, its capacity to tackle marginalisation. Focusing on the substantive freedoms and achieved functionings of individuals introduces a multidimensional, plural appreciation of disadvantage, but also of the strategies to overcome it. In light of this, and the institutional embeddedness of marginalisation, effective social innovation capable of tackling marginalisation depends on a) the participation of marginalized individuals in b) a process that addresses the social structuration of their disadvantage. In spite of the high-level ideals endorsed by the European Union, social innovation tends to be supported through EU policy instruments as a means towards the maintenance of prevailing institutions, networks and cognitive ends. This belies the transformative potential of social innovation emphasised in EU policy documentation and neglects the social structuration processes from which social needs and societal challenges arise. One strategy of displacing institutional dominance is to incorporate groups marginalised from multiple institutional and cognitive centres into the policy design and implementation process. This incorporates multiple value sets into the policymaking process to promote social innovation that is grounded in the doings and beings that all individuals have reason to value.
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
Working Paper: Creating (economic) space for social innovation. A new CrESSI-policy brief outlines six policy considerations for creating (economic) space for social innovation in Europe. Some of these were presented yesterday at the first European social innovation policy forum, organized by simpact.The paper is available from here:
 
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
Scheuerle, T., Schimpf, G.-C., Glänzel, G., Mildenberger, G. (2016) Report on Relevant Actors in Historic Examples and an Empirically Driven Typology on Types of Social Innovation. Deliverable 5.1.
A new CrESSI report draws on long-term historical case studies of social housing, freshwater supply and access to education so as to analyse social innovation (SI) ecosystems and lifecycles, to identify actor constellations and types of actors, contribute to a typology of SI as well as to the analysis of power relations within the SI lifecycle. The report critically discusses the CrESSI approach vis à vis  idealised lifecycle models and major models of ecosystems and lifecycles from innovation research. The researchers show that a long-term perspective fosters a better understanding of the “messy” constellations and dynamics between actors, institutions and ways of framing issues, or what the Cressi-project calls an “extended social grid model”.
The team of the University of Heidelberg presents a journey through the lifecycles of three SI (social housing, fresh water supply, access to education) for a period of more than 150 years and proposes new insights in lifecycles and ecosystems as well as agency and impact. Their most important recommendation for SI policy: cultivate social innovations in niches as a reservoir of ideas. They are ready to be adapted when societal needs rise in scale or major changes challenge the mainstream approach.
Additional aspects are covered in chapters by researchers from the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (CERS-HAS) and the University of Pavia. In analysing the transformation of the social housing sector in Vienna from the 19th to the 20th century, Susanne Giesecke from the AIT further adds to the theoretical social grid discussion by adding a multi-level perspective for the analysis of four transitions in social housing. She argues that a multi-level perspective contributes to a better explanation of the trajectory of social innovation György Molnár (CERS-HAS) shows with the example of the Hungarian Kiútprogram for microcredit and self-employment how different aspects of the social grid reinforce each other and reproduce marginalisation of Roma communities. He argues that SI must aim to affect all three social forces of the extended social grid model to prevent the reproduction of marginalisation, and that this important point should be considered in the set-up of SI programmes or projects on the national or EU level. Finally, Lara Maestripieri (University of Pavia) studies solidarity purchasing groups, which started in the early 90s but draws on the much older Italian cooperative tradition. Meastripieri argues that public investors could play a bigger role in sustaining and promoting the organization of farmers and producers.
 
Lara Maestripieri
added a research item
Solidarity Purchasing Groups (GAS) movement is a peculiar bottom-up social innovation that has been spreading over the past 20 years in Italy. It is composed mostly of self-organised groups of citizens who collectively buy from small organic producers in Italy. They promote several practices that sustain the alternative food networks in the country, such as: solidarity and critical consumption, organic and km-0 productions as ways to promote environment protection, respect of labour regulation and fair economic relations. Several authors have recognised their role in reducing the marginalization of small and micro farms in the country (Forno and Graziano, 2014; Grasseni, 2014). The historical foundation of GAS can be traced back to the 19th century, when mutual purchasing groups had been promoted in the experience of consumers’ cooperatives. More recently, the NoGlobal movement and the expansion of fair trade during the `90s have favoured the progressive increase of consumerism awareness among the middle classes (both in terms of purchasing power and in terms of cultural capital) that sustained the progressive growth of the GASs movement. GASs are now in a mature phase of the social innovation cycle and new more institutionalised forms (such as emporiums and formal associations) have now been established next to the original informal groups of consumers. The aim of this paper is to describe origins, features and transformations of the GASs movement in Italy. Our analysis is based on documents, materials and interviews out of WP7 qualitative phase in order to sketch a case study about Solidarity Purchasing Group. Between September 2015 and January 2016 35 interviews have been conducted with social innovators belonging to 35 GASs, distributed nation-wide. GASs have been selected randomly, stratifying the sample on the basis of a composite index aimed to capture the vulnerability of the contexts, being classified as low, medium and high vulnerable territories. The Italian team has interviewed at least ten social innovators for each type of context. In order to fully understand the life cycle of the social innovation and to trace the historical foundation of GASs movement, starting from the original experience of mutual consumer cooperatives, we have also added up 7 key-informant interviews with national and local representatives of GAS movement and with academic experts.
Attila Havas
added a research item
This paper reviews various approaches to measuring business innovation from the angle of capturing social innovations and offers several methodological and policy conclusions. First, the Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS) indicators in principle could be useful in settings where the dominant mode of innovation is based on R&D activities. In practice, however, both R&D and non-R&D-based modes of innovation are fairly important. IUS, therefore, only provides a partial picture. Social innovations can certainly rely on R&D-based technological innovations. Their essence, however, tends to be organisational, managerial and behavioural changes. The IUS indicators do not capture these types of changes. Second, an assessment of the 81 indicators used to compile the Global Innovation Index reveals that it would neither be a fruitful effort to rely on those indicators to capture social innovations. Third, given the diversity among innovation systems, a poor performance signalled by a composite indicator does'nt automatically identify the area(s) necessitating the most urgent policy actions. Only tailored, thorough comparative analyses can do so. Fourth, analysts and policy-makers need to be aware of the differences between measuring (i) social innovation activities (efforts) themselves, (ii) the framework conditions (pre-requisites, available inputs, skills, norms, values, behavioural patterns, etc.) of being socially innovative, and (iii) the economic, societal or environmental impacts of social innovations.
Nadia von Jacobi
added an update
We just uploaded the pre-print version of our article "How and when does speech-acting generate social innovations" for those who are interested to read it! NvJ
 
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
Our CRESSI Colleauge Nadia von Jacobi has published a new article together with Gran Thorvald: Gran, Thorvald & Jacobi, Nandia (2016), ‘How and when does speech-acting generate social innovations’, in: Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, pp. 1–17. Available for download from here: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/PYKWYJmUHhTSviHJUHyz/full
 
Rafael Ziegler
added an update
Our CrESSI Colleagues Attila Havas has published a new article:
Havas, Attila (2016), ‘Social and Business Innovations: Are Common Measurement Approaches Possible?’, in Foresight and STI Governance, 10 (2): 58-80
Availabl for download from here:
 
Rafael Ziegler
added a project goal
CrESSI explores the economic underpinnings of social innovation with a particular focus on how policy and practice can enhance the lives of marginalized and disempowered citizens. Between 2014 and 2018, our team of researchers from Oxford, Budapest, Delft, Greifswald, Heidelberg, Pavia and Vienna will work on the question of creating economic space for social innovation.
For our conceptual framework we take inspiration from three sources: We approach social innovation as a question of an interrelated grid of actors, institutions and cognitive frames drawing on Jens Beckert's social grid model of social change. We analyze the complex ends and means of social innovation drawing on the capabilities approach. This approach, pioneered by Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen, takes people's capabilities - their real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value - to be of primary importance for ethical evaluation. We further analyze the ends and means of social innovation as embedded in redistributions of distributive and collective power in historical context, as pioneered by Michael Mann's work on the social sources of power.