Guest editorial: Complexity as a model for social innovation and social entrepreneurship: is there order in the chaos?

Max French, Katharine McGowan, Mary Lee Rhodes, Sharon Zivkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

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Abstract

The complexity sciences are subject to increasing policy interest from governments and international organisations as a means for fostering both social innovation and social entrepreneurship. However, there remains little conceptual clarity in how theories, concepts and ideas can be used consistently and productively. This article reviews the application of the complexity sciences in social innovation and social entrepreneurship scholarship overall and considers its implications for both fields. We outline how social innovation and social entrepreneurship can be conceptualised as complex processes, set within complex environments, tackling complex goals, and present a suitably revised model of the social innovation lifecycle. Based on this review - and the articles contributed to this special issue of Social Enterprise Journal – we argue that a complexity-informed perspective can contribute to scholarship and practice in three ways: as a rhetorical device, as an analytical framework for empirical analysis, and as a basis for developing new tools and methods for social innovation and social entrepreneurship. In this way academics can play a crucial role in helping policymakers and practitioners interested in the complexity sciences walk a line between fatalism and overstatement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-251
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Enterprise Journal
Volume18
Issue number2
Early online date29 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2022

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