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SIMPACT: Report about "contexts" of social innovation published

In the course of the SIMPACT project the report "D4.2 Criteria & Recommendations to Strengthen SI" has now been published. SFS authors Dr Bastian Pelka and Mona Markmann are therein introducing a model describing the framework conditions for social innovations. The report results in a questionnaire enabling social innovators to explore the framework conditions of "their" innovation in order to determine hindering and stimulating factors.



The report (link to the pdf) functions as a funnel between the project’s empirical findings (illustrated in "D3.2 Comparative Analysis of Social Innovation across Europe") and the "business toolbox", developed towards the end of the project. While SIMPACT’s empirical report displays the functioning of social innovations (e.g. in which kinds of legal forms, in which relationships to investors and existing providers and solutions, in which kinds of networks, with which kinds of production factors and under which economic circumstances) and the business toolbox will compile numerous instruments for the economic support of social innovations (e.g. business plans, resource plans, self-analysis tools, impact measurement methods, investment and costing methods…), the new published report analyses the context variables of social innovative initiatives and condenses them into a self-analysis questionnaire.


Pelka and Markmann do admit the extensive meaning of the "context" of social innovations, but ask concretely how "context" may be interpreted. For that means, they are consulting the empirical report’s results. These show that the success of social innovations depends to a great extent on their referral to existing solutions – thus the encounter of "old" and "new" practices. To rise from an "invention" to an "innovation" a diffused real application has to take place – however this often meets already existing solutions, actors, systems and interests and has to assert its rank. The report "D4.2 Criteria & Recommendations to Strengthen SI" provides a model to map these existing solutions and hence to identify hindering and stimulating factors.


For this purpose, the report initially focuses on existing models for describing the "context"/ the "ecosystems" of social innovations. Pelka and Markmann however conclude that none of the examined models considers the preliminary empirically determined context components to an adequate extent and thus suggest adapting a context model derived from the analysis of media systems to the requirements of the exploration of social innovations. As a result, they are introducing social innovation as surrounded by four "layers" of "context". These four layers affect social innovation inwardly and have to be perforated outwardly in order to initialize diffusion processes. The report ends in a catalogue of questions which can be used by social innovators to examine the context of "their" social innovation and thus can create a picture of the "existing solutions" as well as the connected interests, actors and system relations. In October 2016, SIMPACT will introduce with its "business toolbox" a range of instruments which can be used to follow up on the inquiries of "context" to improve the economic underpinnings of social innovations.

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Link to the report