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Micro and macro approaches to social innovation: mapping the approaches of significant funders and advocates - comparative experience in East Asia, Europe and the United States

Beryl A. Radin and Wai Fung Lam

Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, 2015, vol. 37, issue 3, 161-181

Abstract: Despite the global interest in social innovation, limited attention has been given to the diverse ways in which this effort has been approached. Much of the literature highlights the bottom-up approach and does not deal with the complexity of the broader institutional settings that play a role in the process. While there has been rhetorical attention to issues related to "getting to scale", this goal is often confronted by diverse structural and political institutions and actors. This diversity limits the ability of advocates to devise approaches that straddle sectoral and national divides. In response, this article focuses on the approaches of a number of different organisations that have emphasised social innovation in their work and have provided resources for the efforts now underway. It analyses and compares the work undertaken in Western countries, including that of the US Social Innovation Fund, the USAID Forward programme, the Kennedy School Innovations in American Government Awards, and the European Commission, with that undertaken in East Asia, including the more socially embedded approach to incubating social innovation in Hong Kong and South Korea. The analysis draws on extant studies and reports issued by the relevant organisations, and provides a skeleton framework for future attempts to analyse the varied social innovation efforts.

Date: 2015
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