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The Evolution of Social Innovation

Building Resilience Through Transitions Edited by Frances Westley, J.W. McConnell Chair in Social Innovation, Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, University of Waterloo, Katharine McGowan, Assistant Professor, Bissett School of Business, Mount Royal University and Ola Tjörnbo, Adjunct Professor, Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, University of Waterloo, Canada
In a time where governments and civil society organizations are putting ever-greater stock in social innovation as a route to transformation, understanding what characterizes social innovation with transformative potential is important. Exciting and promising ideas seem to die out as often as they take flight, and market mechanisms, which go a long way towards contributing to successful technical innovations, play an insignificant role in social innovations. The cases in this book explore the evolution of successful social innovation through time, from the ideas which catalysed social and system entrepreneurs to create new processes, platforms, projects and programs to fundamental social shifts in culture, economics, laws and policies which occurred as a result. In doing so, the authors shed light on how to recognize transformative potential in the early stage innovations we see today.
Extent: c 288 pp
Hardback Price: $145.00 Web: $130.50
Publication Date: December 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78643 114 1
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  • Development Studies
  • Development Studies
  • Economics and Finance
  • Institutional Economics
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Public Administration and Management
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Comparative Social Policy
  • Sociology and Sociological Theory
  • Urban and Regional Studies
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At a time when governments and civil society organizations are putting ever-greater stock in social innovation as a route to transformation, understanding what characterizes social innovation with transformative potential is important. Exciting and promising ideas seem to die out as often as they take flight, and market mechanisms, which go a long way towards contributing to successful technical innovations, play an insignificant role in social innovations. The cases in this book explore the evolution of successful social innovation through time, from the ideas which catalyzed social and system entrepreneurs to create new processes, platforms, projects, and programs to fundamental social shifts in culture, economics, laws, and policies which occurred as a result. In doing so, the authors shed light on how to recognize transformative potential in the early stage innovations we see today.

This comparison of multiple historical cases across problem domains creates a map of social innovation over time – shifting our thinking on both current issues and established programs. From the American national parks and the joint stock company to the intelligence test and the financial derivatives that led to the 2008 crash, this book acts as a useful reflection and a cautionary tale, looking back to gain insight and inform the vibrant discussion of social innovation’s future. 

This book pushes the theoretical and methodological boundaries of the field through approachable narratives, making it an ideal resource for social innovation students, scholars, instructors, and practitioners.
Contributors include: E. Alexiuk, N. Antadze, J. Blacklock, S. Geobey, D. McCarthy, K. McGowan, M.-L. Moore, P. Olsson, O. Tjornbo, F. Westley

















 

Contents:

1. The History of Social Innovation
Katharine McGowan, Frances Westley and Ola Tjornbo

2. National Parks in the United States
Nino Antadze

3. The Intelligence Test
Katharine McGowan

4. Synthesis: Agency And Opportunity
Per Olsson

5. The Legalization of Birth Control in North America
Nino Antadze and Jaclyn Blacklock

6. The Duty to Consult and Accommodate in Canada
Erin Alexiuk

7. The Internet: A Dynamic History
Ola Tjornbo

8. Synthesis: Self-Organization, Strange Attractors and Social Innovation.
Daniel McCarthy

9. The Global Derivatives Market as Social Innovation.
Sean Geobey

10. Indian Residential Schools
Katharine McGowan

11. “A Fever for Business”: Dutch Joint Stock Companies
Katharine McGowan

12. Synthesis: Tracking Transformative Impacts and Cross-scale Dynamics.
Michele-Lee Moore

13. Conclusion: Recognizing Transformative Potential
Frances Westley

Index