We need a holistic measurement model to evince the plurality of social innovations, to make new innovation actors visible, and to capture social innovation activities and regional framework conditions.
To this end, we have developed a measurement approach for social innovation which combines the three levels of (1) organizational innovativeness, (2) regional innovation capacity and (3) resonance. With the expansion of innovation indicators to include new innovation actors as well as to test new approaches such as a context factor analysis in the form of a population survey and early indicators through an analysis of discourses in social media (here: twitter), a new data basis for research and innovation policy is provided.
Our measurement approach is sensitive to new forms of innovation and their actors, and can serve as an evidence base for improved, tailor-made funding programmes, especially with a view to a mission-oriented innovation policy. Linking the organisational level, the regional environment and the analysis of online discourses makes it possible to consider the interdependencies between the three measurement levels and to identify decisive screws to support social innovations.
Tracking online discourses shall enable us to fathom perceptions about pressing societal needs and the proposition of new solutions and existence of actor coalitions pushing these solultions. It is therefore a mirror of societal legimitacy for relevant and appropriate problem formulation (solid arrows) as well as a place where legitimacy is formed and fed into society (dotted arrows). There is a back and forth interaction between resonance indicators in online discourses and enabling context conditions in regions. As regards the latter, we distinguish between factors that denote (1) awareness to act, (2) intention to act, and (3) ability to act, which are interconnected. The regional indicators in turn are shaped by and at the same time determine organisational social innovation activities. Based on a broad understanding of organisation, organisational innovativeness, i.e. the extent to which organisations implement new solutions which contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs), we zoom in on indicators in four thematic areas: (1) formal structures, (2) innovation activities, (3) business models, and (4) governance. While the depiction of the indicator system appears static, it relates to processes that are revolving, marked by feedback loops and interactions (dotted circle).
The common thread that unites all three measurment levels are the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs). In this respect, the indicator sets developed are compatible with international SI measurement.