The emergence of social innovation in social enterprise: an analytical framework

Fiona Henderson, Audrey Mutongi, Geoffrey Whittam

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Generating socially innovative ways to provide sustainable social care for older people is increasingly important as the UK population ages and the costs of providing social care rise dramatically. However we know very little about how social innovation emerges in social enterprise as a response to policy developments. A gap also exists in the engagement of social policy researchers with social innovations arising from welfare reforms (Ayob et al, 2016; Evers & Brandsen, 2016). To address these concerns, this study examines socially innovative services developed by the social enterprise sector in response to the Social Care (Self-Directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013. This act requires local authorities to manage Self-Directed Support (SDS) implementation, including promoting four options for individuals to control their own social care budget. This research investigated four social innovations located in social enterprises specialising in older people’s social care. Interviews were conducted with social enterprise staff responsible for creating and/or managing each social innovation. Additional interviews were conducted with external representatives who independently identified the activities as socially innovative. Stakeholders were asked to describe their perception of the emergent process; their understanding of what social innovation is; and the internal and external facilitators and constraints impacting upon its development. Secondary data was collected from sources such as marketing materials, business documentation and media reports on each social innovation. A thematic analysis was then conducted to broadly organise the data and develop a descriptive narrative before further thematic analysis developed categories from the emergent patterns. These findings then informed the construction of a definitional matrix and an analytical framework describing the emergence of social innovation in social enterprise. This paper critiques the motivations emerging within the social innovation discourses presented by each stakeholder during interview, and considers evidence of differing agendas driving their use of the term.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'The emergence of social innovation in social enterprise: an analytical framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this