A framework for social innovation identification: a case study

Sometimes, in promoting a solution, a policy or strategy, its innovative character is used to legitimize its implementation based on the fact that the effort needed to verify such an assertion is relatively high not only epistemologically speaking, but ontologically, as well. On the other hand, as the conditions that stimulate innovation are yet to be clearly established, although there are efforts made in this direction, innovation cannot be assumed to appear automatically, if some efforts are made to support it. This issue is even more acute when it comes to social innovation. Consequently, in researching social innovation it is important to be able to decide which innovations should be disseminated based on a relevant set of criteria. Moreover, as most areas of the social sciences have overlapping elements, and thus, as one cannot simply assume that what is not an economical, political or other type of innovation is necessarily a social innovation, it becomes useful to integrate the links between these areas into the analysis. In the first section I propose a working definition and contrast it with existing ones. The second section will use the working definition to give an example of how we might classify innovations. After constructing the framework, in section three, I shall give, in the fourth section, one example of how it might be used, based on an analysis of two community projects. The concluding remarks will summarize the ideas of the project and suggest further development of the framework.