Transformative social innovation: a sustainability transitions perspective on social innovation

Haxeltine, A., Avelino, F., Wittmayer, J., Kemp, R., Weaver, P., Backhaus, J. and O’Riordan, T.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


    Solutions to the grand societal challenges faced by the knowledge society of the early 21st century will necessarily involve systemic change. This in turn implies a need to understand the ways in which social innovation can be ultimately transformative (creating the conditions for systemic change). This paper addresses the question “how can social innovation be analysed in relation to
    systemic change and grand societal challenges?” Social innovation is re-conceptualised in relation to systemic change, drawing upon a transitions perspective and emphasizing the important roles of: empowerment, transformative discourses and game-changing developments. This provides a
    broad conceptual framework, suitable for critically evaluating the hypothesis that social innovation is able to bring about new forms of social interaction that empower people to undertake strategies and actions which, under certain conditions, lead to transformative, systemic change. We propose a methodology for the development of a theory of transformative social innovation linked to a
    comprehensive programme of empirical research; a comparative case-analysis approach is required to test and refine theory-based propositions about transformative social innovations. In presenting such a novel conceptual foundation for a systemic approach to social innovation research, this paper
    is highly relevant to a discussion of future social innovation research agendas
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventSocial Frontiers: the next edge of social innovation research - Shoreditch, London, United Kingdom
    Duration: 14 Nov 201315 Nov 2013


    ConferenceSocial Frontiers
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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