Social Innovation as Driver of Regional Competitiveness: A Conceptual Framework

Social Innovation as Driver of Regional Competitiveness: A Conceptual Framework

Ayla Esen (Istanbul Kemerburgaz University, Turkey), Ozen Asik-Dizdar (Fairleigh Dickinson University, Canada) and Ceyda Maden (Istanbul Kemerburgaz University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8348-8.ch008
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This chapter focuses on the issue of regional competitiveness from a social innovation standpoint. It argues that social innovation plays an important role in enhancing the competitiveness of regions, since social innovation initiatives constitute an ideal context for partnerships between business organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to utilize local capabilities and create value. The region will ultimately be able to offer a balanced standard of living and will remain competitive by providing for the well-being of the communities and society at large.
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Social innovation plays an important role in the development of the society and economy. Cooperation and synergies between public and private, academic and business sectors to create social change are the essence of social innovation. Organizations and institutions at all levels of the society are increasingly getting aware of the fact that economic sustainability goes hand in hand with social sustainability. This awareness helps business organizations recognize the fact that leading competitive edge in today’s world is only possible through leading and supporting social innovation initiatives in the regions they operate. This section defines the notions of social innovation and competitiveness, laying the groundwork for their role in ensuring regional sustainability.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Innovation: Technological advancements in products, services and/or processes that are novel and that can be commercialized. Harvard Business Review, (September): 2–9.

Competitive advantage: A unique position that a nation, region, or firm develops in comparison with its competitors.

Social Innovation: New solutions to social problems that create social value, involve public good and affect the society, mostly developed by participation of stakeholders that have interest on the problem.

Collaboration: A process by which parties cooperate for mutual gain that is independent of market or hierarchical instruments of control.

Competitiveness (Micro-Level): Competition among the firms operating in a nation and its reflections to international markets.

Collaborative Advantage: Building synergy between organizations towards the attainment of common goals; meeting an objective which no individual organization could have attained alone.

Social Value: Value created by different actors (public, private and/or non-governmental organizations) in order to meet a social need or to solve a problem that has social implications.

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