Social Innovation in an International Context

Futures Entrepreneurship Centre International Week 2017

  • Room 202, Mast House, 24 Sutton Road, Plymouth, PL4 0HJ

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On the first day of the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre International Week, a panoramic view of research state on social innovation will be unfolded followed by the national case studies on social entrepreneurial ventures and their evaluation methods in Poland and Germany. 

The speakers will present the current state of social entrepreneurship scholarship and relevant methodologies applied in the area. The pressing question will be posed: how to measure social value in enterprise and who will benefit from it? The day will culminate with a debate on the role of sustainability in business growth and ethical dilemmas which accompany social responsibility in business. 

This day will be structured as a mini-academic symposium and will invite researchers, undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to enrich their knowledge of international contexts in enterprise, evaluative methods and business ethics. 


  • 09:00-09:30 - Registration
  • 09:30-10:30 - Presentation 1: Social innovation – Review of current research and future prospects (Dr Agnieszka Zur)
  • 10:30-10:45 - Break
  • 10:45-11:45 - Presentation 2: Entrepreneurial internationalisation of firms: Exploratory investigation among Polish businesses (Professor Krzysztof Wach)
  • 11:45-12:45 - Presentation 3: Polish experience in measuring social added value (Professor Marek Ćwiklicki)
  • 12:45 - 13:30 - Lunch break
  • 13:30-14:30 - Presentation 4: Trust and perceived risk in decisions to crowdfund new ventures in Germany (Andrew Isaak)
  • 14:30-15:30 - Presentation 5: Some introductory thoughts on a few concepts related to sustainability: degrowth, capability approach; empowerment and transformation (Gyorgy Malovics)
  • 16:00 - Close

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Today's events

Presentation 1: Social innovation – Review of current research and future prospects 

Speaker: Dr Agnieszka Zur 

In this presentation, Dr Zur will present the results of her research on social innovation as the main leverage of social enterprises. Social innovation refer to the process of introducing bold, novel and lasting solutions in the social sector. The presentation is the result of an extensive literature review carried out in order to deliver a state of the art report and establish a common ground for further research into this dynamic interdisciplinary domain. Social innovation differ significantly from commercial innovation and thus most likely require an adaptation, completion and development of existing innovation theory. Taken that, the study aims to add new insight into the antecedents of social innovation by adapting a process-based view, investigating its building blocks suggested by existing literature and adapting the opportunity lens to the domain. The study attempts to capture the logic of social innovation as reflected in existing research studies. Its results identify the main research themes articulated in prior research and point to gaps, which still need to be addressed.

Presentation 2: Entrepreneurial internationalisation of firms: Exploratory investigation among Polish businesses

Speaker: Professor Krzysztof Wach

In a broad understanding, international entrepreneurship (IE) includes at least two different research areas. Firstly, creative process of recognition and exploitation of opportunities in foreign markets; in this sense, this research area is the same as the traditional approach of the theory and practice of entrepreneurship, using the same analytical tools as in the case of establishment of domestic ventures; what is crucial, it is characterised by a high degree of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, and a special role in the internationalisation process is attributed to the entrepreneur. Secondly, international studies and comparative research in the field of entrepreneurship; in this sense, this research area is the same as with traditional international comparative studies, placing entrepreneurship as the main subject of these comparative studies (e.g. GEM). During the presentation, the advancements in international entrepreneurship research in Poland will be discussed. IE is a new and very promising research domain worldwide, what is more it is becoming more and more popular in Central and Easter European countries as well. The presentation will provide an overview and insights into the empirical research results within this field from Poland.

Presentation 3: Polish experience in measuring social added value

Speaker: Professor Marek Ćwiklicki

The aim of the presentation is to describe the method for measuring social added value called ESometr which was purposely created for Polish social enterprises. The main reason for elaborating this tool was a notion that specificity of national economy and law regulations has significant influence on social enterprises which requires a different approach towards measuring their social impact. First the method ESometr will be presented with special reference to its methodological part. Three main dimensions of social added value (social and employment integration, local community, and social capital) are core for this method. Moreover the ESometr also covers metrics for evaluation of financial condition and reliability which will be not presented. Next the comparison of ESometr with other tools for measuring social value such as SROI, LM3, Social Audit, will be shown. Finally the limitations of this method will be indicated and also directions of its development will be pointed out.

Presentation 4: Trust and perceived risk in decisions to crowdfund new ventures in Germany

Speaker: Andrew Isaak

The presentation first discusses crowdfunding (e.g. typology and equity crowdfunding in particular) and then the results of in-depth qualitative case studies of three successful ventures (in the domains of technology and education) crowdfunded on a German platform (the fourth ‘metacase’). Particular attention is devoted to the roles of trust and perceived risk in investor decision-making. Based on the findings, a decision-making model is presented, which is discussed in light of recent literature on crowdfunding success criteria. Finally, limitations of the study (e.g. national context and generalisability), theoretical and practical implications as well as avenues for future research are discussed.


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