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New Frontiers in Social Innovation Research

This book, published by Palgrave Macmillan, brings together the latest thinking on social innovation from researchers around the world.

This book, published by Palgrave Macmillan, brings together the latest thinking on social innovation from researchers around the world.

Key findings

  • Social innovation is now a truly global phenomenon. While practice has rushed ahead, theory has lagged behind.

  • Social innovation can be problematic - for instance, what’s seen as ‘social good’ might change over time, and expectations that it can solve all society’s biggest challenges may be unrealistic. Academic research can provide a much-needed critical perspective.

  • But social innovation holds significant potential to show a new path for society - if, we take an ambitious, or as political philosopher Roberto Unger puts it, “maximalist” approach in pursuing it.

  • If we can better understand social innovation, we have a better chance of making the most of its potential.

This important new collection explores the practice and process of researching social innovation, its nature and effects. Combining theoretical chapters and empirical studies, it shows how social innovation is blurring traditional boundaries between the market, the state and civil society, thereby developing new forms of services, relationships and collaborations.

New Frontiers in Social Innovation Research was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and Nesta, building on the successful Social Frontiers conference held in London in 2013. The book is published under a Creative Commons licence, and is available as a free download or in hard copy from Palgrave Macmillan.

Editors: Alex Nicholls, Julie Simon and Madeleine Gabriel

Contributors: Geoff Mulgan, Juergen Howaldt, Ralf Kopp, Michael Schwarz, Frances Westley, Katharine McGowan, Catherine Trudelle, Marie Bouchard, Louise Briand, Juan-Luis Klein, Benoît Lévesque, David Longtin, Mathieu Pelletier, Jane Jenson, Adalbert Evers, Benjamin Ewert, Ezio Manzini, Carla Cipolla, Patricia Melo, Jacob Torfing, Eva Sørensen, Sojung Rim, Ahyoung Park, Sunkyung Han, Jungwon Kim, Ola Tjornbo, Lina Sonne, Roberto Mangabeira Unger