Open social innovation: towards a refined definition looking to actors and processes


  • Gabriele Santoro
  • Alberto Ferraris
  • Demetris Vrontis



social innovation, open social innovation, innovation collaboration, open innovation


Purpose of the paper: Despite the abundance of studies on social innovation, the focus is often on non-profit organizations whose primary purpose is to attain social change, while the involvement of external actors in social innovation development is still neglected in literature. Therefore, this paper seeks to shed light on the open social innovation concept.

Methodology: The open social innovation idea is studied through a conceptual paper, which involves a literature review of social innovation and open innovation models.

Findings: The research outlines the open aspect of social innovation, underlining the actors and the processes that are involved in generating and spreading ideas that can address a social change. 

Limitations: The study has focused on a literature review without empirical analyses. Case studies or quantitative approaches could represent interesting avenues for further research.

Originality of the paper: On one hand, studies on open innovation have traditionally neglected the social sector or social aspects that are investigated in this paper. On the other hand, studies on social innovation do not consider extensively collaborations or open ways to innovate.


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