The following represents the abstract of the master thesis “Organizing in Spaces for Social Innovation – A Community of Practice Perspective” by Diana Gaftoneanu & Yatin Sethi
“Social innovation has become a buzz word in recent years, with a widely recognized need for cross-sector collaborations and citizen initiatives aiming to address social needs that are unmet. New organizations with the purpose to enable social innovation are popping up around Europe. Research is not able to keep pace with these spaces for social innovation, leading towards a trial and error approach to their organizing. We set on a journey to explore organizing in spaces for social innovation, choosing Wenger’s community of practice theory as our perspective. We want to get a better look at organizing in the community itself, which we believe would increase the chances of the organization to efficiently address their purpose of enabling social innovation.
Using semi-structured interviews and observations, we travelled to Sweden, Spain and Finland to collect data. We designed our research as case-oriented, initially analyzing within our case studies, followed by a between case comparison, in an inductive manner.
Our findings help us to build an overview of these spaces through our chosen perspective which later on enable us to understand how spaces for social innovation organize. Openness, participation, equality and accountability are the key themes identified to organizing efficiently, as they give birth to a feeling of “second home”, where comfort and responsibility build the equilibrium necessary to enable social innovation.“
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