Exploring various approaches of social innovation: a francophone literature review and a proposal of innovation typology

2018-01-17T02:58:05Z (GMT) by Maud Gregoire

ABSTRACT Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to clarify the multiple different approaches of social innovation, focusing on francophone literature. Originality/gap/relevance/implications: We propose an in-depth literature review that questions the meaning of the adjective "social" when used by authors to qualify an innovation, that highlights the different approaches of the concept, their relations to each other and their limits, and that illustrates these approaches with concrete examples. Finally, we build on these materials to propose a new innovation typology that wholly integrates social innovation. Key methodological aspects: The literature review is based on a selection of 25 papers in French - the mother language of the author - which were collected and analyzed using the "theoretical saturation point" method: we stopped the review when we felt there was no new crucial element in the next articles read, that is, when it seemed that a "saturation point" of information had been reached about theories on social innovation. Summary of key results: The definition of social innovation as new answers provided to unsatisfied or badly-satisfied social demands seems to prevail in the literature. It can be divided into three sub-approaches: the public policies, the social entrepreneurship, and the participatory dynamics, which strikes us as the most interesting, without excluding the others. Key considerations/conclusions: We propose a new innovation typology, which presents social innovation's relations to other types of innovation. We conclude with some considerations about social innovation context of emergence, and about its ambiguous position in the neoliberal system.