New Combinations of Social Practices in the Knowledge Society

  • Josef HochgernerEmail author


Paraphrasing the famous quote from Schumpeter, who initially explained innovation as a ‘new combination of production factors’, social innovation can be defined as a new combination of social practices. In order to qualify as social innovations, such combinations or the creation and implementation of absolutely new practices must be intentional, aiming at solving a social issue, and produce effects in terms of novel social facts. Implementation and impact distinguish social innovations from social ideas. Social objectives and rationales, rather than economic ones, make them differentiable from business-driven innovations. However, social innovations take place in business as well as in the public sector and civil society. From a particular sociological point of view, social innovations are becoming of increasing relevance not only because of the frequently mentioned so-called ‘Grand Challenges’ the knowledge society faces in the twenty-first century. On the one hand, re-integration of the most effective economy ever is on the agenda in society, aiming at the ‘management of abundance’. On the other, even the nexus between man-made social systems and human nature may need re-configuration.


Civil Society Innovation Process Social Practice Synthetic Biology Knowledge Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zentrum für Soziale InnovationViennaAustria

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