Transformative Learning as Impact in Social Innovation

Joyce Yee, Bas Raijmakers, Fumiko Ichikawa

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Abstract

Measurable impact is an often expected and required outcome of innovation programs, and yet is particularly challenging when trying to understand social impact. The overt focus on economic value often overshadows other more impactful social outcomes such as learning that has emerged as a result of the work. In this paper, we use Transformative Learning theory (TLT) to explore the types and ranges of transformative learning that take place in design and social innovation (D&SI). TLT is an adult learning theory in which critical reflection is used to challenge the learner's beliefs and assumptions and can be particularly useful in helping us understand the perspective shifts important for participants of D&SI initiatives. Our aim is to re-orientate the discussion on D&SI impact by focusing on transformative learning as a form of social value. Using examples and reflections of projects sited in various cultural contexts (Japan, UK, Europe), this paper draws attention to the significance of transformational learning in contributing to social change and demonstrate the potential in addressing, framing and communicating learning as one of the many important social impact that occurs in D&SI initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-132
JournalDesign and Culture
Volume11
Issue number1
Early online date11 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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