The importance of Social Innovation for successfully addressing the social, economic, political and environmental challenges of the 21st century has been recognised not only within the Europe 2020 Strategy but also on a global scale. So, “in recent years, social innovation has become increasingly influential in both scholarship and policy”. This boom of Social Innovation is not only proven by its growing importance in public discussions but also by its supposed potential for solving recent and upcoming challenges (e.g. refugee relief, economic and financial crises, unemployment) and the increasing number of (public) programes initiating and supporting social innovations on the local, regional, national and global level.
A new innovation paradigm International innovation research is providing numerous indications of a fundamental shift in the innovation paradigm. This new understanding of innovation is characterized by three key characteristics: (1) the innovation process being opened up to society, (2) its orientation by the major societal challenges, and (3) a stronger recognition of non-technological innovations geared to changing social practices.