Introduction: Dimensions of Social Innovation

  • Alex Nicholls
  • Julie Simon
  • Madeleine Gabriel
Open Access


Social innovation is not new, but it appears to be entering a new phase — a phase in which it is increasingly seen as offering solutions not just to localised problems but to more systemic and structural issues. Nevertheless, the growing set of examples and attendant discourses and logics of social innovation have yet to coalesce around a single, common definition, a set of standards or performance measures or an agreed policy agenda. Partly, this is the consequence of the ‘liability of newness’ experienced by all new fields of action: namely, they lack the legitimacy needed to support significant investment or research. It may also be because the range and variety of action that constitutes social innovation today defies simple categorisation. Indeed, this fluidity and diversity may be seen as one of the field’s great strengths in terms of addressing complex social problems and challenges. So, as yet, there is no established paradigm of social innovation (see also Nicholls, 2010a).


Civil Society Fair Trade Social Enterprise Social Entrepreneurship Social Entrepreneur 
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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Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Nicholls
  • Julie Simon
  • Madeleine Gabriel

There are no affiliations available

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