Digital Technologies for Social Innovation: An Empirical Recognition on the New Enablers

Riccardo Maiolini, Alessandro Marra, Cristiano Baldassarri, Vittorio Carlei


Even though scholars’ attention has been placed on Social Innovation (SI), little evidence has been provided with regards to which tools are actually used to address social needs and foster Social Innovation initiatives. The purpose of the article is twofold. Firstly, the article offers empirical recognition to SI by investigating, on a large-scale, social and innovative activities conducted by start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the world between 2001 and 2014. Secondly, the article intends to capture SI core businesses and underlying complementarities between products, markets, and technologies and show in which way digital media and IT are essentially tracing innovation trajectories over a multitude of industries, leading the current industrial patterns of SI, and continually fostering its cross-industry nature.


Social Innovation, Start-up; SMEs; Digital Tools; Network analysis

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