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Social Innovation: Buzz Word Or Enduring Term?

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Abstract

One of the striking features of our society is the incessant urge for the creation, adoption and diffusion of innovations. Innovation takes many forms: technological, organizational, social, artistic, for example. The term ‘social innovation’ has come into common parlance in recent years. Some analysts consider social innovation no more than a buzz word or passing fad that is too vague to be usefully applied to academic scholarship. Some social scientists, however, see significant value in the concept of social innovation because it identifies a critical type of innovation. In this paper we suggest a working definition of social innovation that captures the common denominator of the existing definitions of the term. We show that when its empirical meaning is distilled, the term is of great importance. We distinguish social innovation from business innovation, and identify a subset of social innovations that requires government support. A subsidiary message of the paper –obvious, but often forgotten– is that interdisciplinary communication may be more fruitful if we realize that terminological discipline is a necessary condition in the search for improved knowledge.

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File URL: http://www.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@commerce/@econ/documents/doc/uow042312.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia in its series Economics Working Papers with number wp08-09.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uow:depec1:wp08-09

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Postal: School of Economics, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong NSW 2522 Australia
Phone: +612 4221-3659
Fax: +612 4221-3725
Web page: http://business.uow.edu.au/econ/index.html
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Keywords: Business innovation; Social innovation; Quality of life; Pure social innovation; Bifocal innovation; Government support;

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References

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  1. Valadkhani, Abbas & Worthington, Andrew, 2005. "Ranking and Clustering Australian University Research Performance, 1998-2002," Economics Working Papers wp05-19, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
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  7. Abbas Valadkhani & Simon Ville, 2009. "Discipline-specific forecasting of research output in Australian universities," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(18), pages 1875-1880.
  8. Richard Pomfret & Liang Choon Wang, 2003. "Evaluating The Research Output Of Australian Universities' Economics Departments," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 418-441, December.
  9. Joseph Macri & Dipendra Sinha, 2006. "Rankings Methodology for International Comparisons of Institutions and Individuals: an Application to Economics in Australia and New Zealand," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 111-156, 02.
  10. J. C. Glass & D. G. McKillop & G. O'Rourke, 2002. "Evaluating the productive performance of UK universities as cost-constrained revenue maximizers: an empirical analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(9), pages 1097-1108.
  11. Abbott, M. & Doucouliagos, C., 2003. "The efficiency of Australian universities: a data envelopment analysis," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 89-97, February.
  12. Jerry G. Thursby, 2000. "What Do We Say about Ourselves and What Does It Mean? Yet Another Look at Economics Department Research," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 383-404, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Ayla ESEN & Ozen ASIK-DIZDAR, 2014. "Regional Innovation As Part Of Regional Development Agenda In Turkey: The Role Of Development Agencies," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 14(1), pages 145-158.
  2. Iizuka, Michiko, 2013. "Innovation systems framework: still useful in the new global context?," MERIT Working Papers 005, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  3. Anna Dimitrova & Katarina Hollan & Daphne Laster & Andreas Reinstaller & Margit Schratzenstaller & Ewald Walterskirchen & Teresa Weiss, 2013. "Literature review on fundamental concepts and definitions, objectives and policy goals as well as instruments relevant for socio-ecological transition," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 40, WWWforEurope.
  4. Andreas Reinstaller, 2013. "An evolutionary view on social innovation and the process of economic change," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 43, WWWforEurope.
  5. Carla Susana MARQUES & Chris GERRY & Francisco DINIZ & Ana Luísa FERREIRA, 2012. "Social Innovation: Determinants of the Demand for High-Quality Institutional Care by the Elderly," Journal of Knowledge Management, Economics and Information Technology, ScientificPapers.org, vol. 2(2), pages 3, April.

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