Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The Case of Porto Region

Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The Case of Porto Region

João M. S. Carvalho (CICS.NOVA.UMinho/UNICES/ISMAI, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9567-2.ch023
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This chapter provides a summarized and objective review over the relationships among innovation, social innovation, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, new business models (NBM), and product (good, service, idea) value and sustainability (economic, social, ecological, and psychological). A study has been done in Porto region through interviews with 13 social innovators and entrepreneurs, in order to evaluate those relationship. The conceptual base for analysis is the theories developed by Jonker (2012) and Carvalho and Jonker (2015). It has been concluded that market-oriented social innovation has a crucial role in the development social entrepreneurship. Moreover, these NBM should be adjusted to population needs towards societal well-being, by combining creation of shared value, co-creation of value, and multiple value creation. Thus, the value set (social innovation) contributes to economic, social, ecological, and psychological sustainability, and consequently to human, social and territorial development.
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This chapter begins with the theoretical framework that underlies the concepts of entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial partnerships, innovation, social innovation, social sustainability, new business models (NBM), and the relations among them and their impact on regional development.

Jonker’s theory (2012) was applied to the analysis of 13 cases of social innovation and entrepreneurship. Based on this study, the main characteristics of this NBM were assessed, as well as their link to a balanced value proposition (Carvalho & Jonker, 2015) that considers economic, ecological, social, and psychological factors. These case studies illustrate what is happening in Porto region in terms of social innovation and social entrepreneurship. The methodology followed is qualitative, based on interviews with the leaders of the projects and institutions. The analysis allows to draw conclusions about the new trends of social innovation in the region and in Portugal, as well as the adjustment of the social sector to population needs and towards a societal well-being, helping to reduce social exclusion.

The impact on regional and national development is perceived indirectly by the positive impact of these organizations on economic, ecological, social, and psychological sustainability. The latter is a new broad concept developed in connection to the concepts of psychological value (Carvalho & Jonker, 2015) and mental well-being (European Union, 2011).

The organizational pattern behavior is also assessed, namely using the combination of three approaches (Jonker, 2012): (1) sharing, in terms of social capital, equipment, property, data, time, transport, and skills, among partnerships; (2) trading, concerning transactions with associated benefits, like alternate payment methods or with services exchange, and the generation of value other than profit; and (3) creating, related to the creation of multiple values in win-win situations. These behaviors are related to the concepts of creation of social and shared value (Austin & Seitanidi, 2012b; Porter & Kramer, 2011); co-creative networks (Chatterjee, 2013; Zott, Amit, & Massa, 2011); and multiple value creation (Elkington, 1997).

In the end of the chapter, a new model is presented, which considers psychological sustainability as the fourth pillar of human, social, and territorial development.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Innovation: Generation of new ideas, processes, products or services that are successful in the market.

Entrepreneurship: Creation of something (company, product, project), most of the times through an organization, in order to serve and satisfy human wants and needs.

Business model: Conceptual and operational tool that describes the value proposition (economic, social, ecological and psychological value) offered to the stakeholders through a product (good, service or idea), the organization and coordination of key activities (team and partners), and the design of a marketing plan, to deliver those values and achieve economic, social, ecological, and psychological sustainability.

Social Sustainability: Preservation of social cohesion in terms of social well-being, nutrition, shelter, health, education, justice, social equity, quality of life, etc.

Ecological Sustainability: Conservation of natural resources, environment and biodiversity.

Entrepreneurial Partnerships: Collaboration between sectors (non-profit, business, government, academia) in order to promote innovation and new ventures.

Social Entrepreneurship: Creation of something (company, product, project), most of the times through an organization, in order to serve and satisfy human needs (social and psychological), where the promoter has the main purpose to contribute to the resolution of a social problem.

Economic Sustainability: Financial equilibrium through an efficient use of resources, producing the products (goods, services, ideas) that satisfy the customers/clients/users and other stakeholders.

Social Innovation: Generation of new ideas, processes, products or services that are successful in the resolution of social issues.

Psychological Sustainability: Mental well-being manifested by healthy behaviors and feelings of fulfilment and happiness.

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