Social Innovation, a Plurality of Concepts: What Issues and Challenges for the Analysis?

By Nadine Richez-Battesti, Francesca Petrella, Delphine Vallade

The scope of the current crisis favors a renewed interest in innovation, which is assumed to enable a new growth regime. In this context, social innovation appears to be the new solution, likely to promote not only growth but also more equitable sharing, even to redefine social policies. It is often presented as a way to combine the desire for change and a guarantee of fairness and social justice that will build on creativity on the part of the economic actors, and in particular private actors. However, its definition remains unclear. Three main approaches to social innovation are presented, then three dominant issues are identified: the nature of innovation, the meaning and scope of the social dimension of innovation, and the characteristics of entrepreneurship (individual or collective), in connection with the form of governance and the participation of a number of stakeholders. JEL Codes: A13, A14


  • social innovation
  • entrepreneurship
  • governance
  • diversity of stakeholders
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