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Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 527–545 | Cite as

How Can Social Innovation be Facilitated? Experiences from an Action Research Process in a Local Network

  • Miren EstensoroEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper explores how social innovation can be facilitated, a subject that has not been addressed adequately by literature. The results identify five key factors based on a local network developed in Goierri County (Basque Country, Spain). The network was created to foster local economic development through an action research process. The engagement of the author in this action research process permitted her to adopt an “inside-out” position that enabled her to explore similarities in the assumptions that support social innovation and action research. Through an analysis of this process, the nature of the facilitator’s knowing how is made explicit in understanding how social innovation is facilitated. The main argument is that action research can facilitate social innovation. The process approach that is applied for this analysis increases the reflexive capacity of the author, leading to a contribution of both new theoretical insight and new practical knowledge.

Keywords

Social innovation Action research Facilitation Local network Territorial development 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This is a modified version of a paper presented at the EMES 2013 Conference in Liege (Belgium) and the RIP 2013 Conference in Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain). I am very grateful to Ken Dovey for his inspiring and patient assistance with the writing of this paper and to James Karlsen and Miren Larrea for their helpful comments and for encouraging me to write ‘inside out’. I also acknowledge the thoughtful criticism of Øyvind Pålshaugen and the very practical and valuable comments from two anonymous reviewers.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness and University of DeustoDonostia-San SebastiánSpain

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