The Effect Of Social Innovation On Social Change


Social innovation is the innovative effort to solve social problems, eliminate social needs and thus ensure social welfare. In this regard, the importance of social innovation especially in developing countries has begun to be recognized. Therefore, although social innovation is a concept which has been attracted by researchers, the literature on social innovation still continues to evolve, and studies in the relevant literature focusing on the basis and scope of the concept have needed. Because of the complex nature of social innovation, studies that examine it in detail will shed light on future studies and be able to provide the inspiration for new social innovation initiatives. To address this need, the aim of this conceptual study is to clarify the social innovation concept by explaining what social innovation and social entrepreneurship are, discussing the relationship between social innovation and social change and reviewing the social innovation initiatives in the context of Turkey, and thus to contribute to the related literature.

Keywords: Innovationsocial innovationsocial entrepreneurshipsocial change


In today's developing and changing conditions, technological innovations that provide commercial value make life easier for individuals and ensure the survival of companies, as well as have an effect on the emergence of new expectations and needs in society. Furthermore, since technological innovations are also effective at development level of countries, social problems, especially in underdeveloped and developing countries attract more attention. Social innovation is a concept that has emerged to solve all these social needs and social problems and to improve social processes and has been put into practice over the last few decades by states, private sector institutions, and social movements. Social problems can be on many issues such as health, education, care, housing, service, income imbalance, class inequality, child development, animal rights and hence they determine the social structure, level of development and welfare. In this regard, the aim of the social innovation initiatives is to solve the problems that arise in all areas where the society and the individual exist, by means of permanent, rational and new methods and to make the solution sustainable. At this point, the concepts social entrepreneurship and social change, which are closely related to social innovation and core concepts to better understanding the social innovation, become prominent. Social entrepreneurship is innovative social value creation activities without any profit motive (Austin, Stevenson, & Wei-Skillern, 2012). In this respect, it is concluded that social entrepreneurship provides social change through social innovation (Rao-Nicholson, Vorley, & Khan, 2017). Although studies considering social innovation and examining its effects and determinants have increased in recent years, the relevant literature still continues to evolve. Moreover, due to the complex nature of social innovation, there is a need studies taking up detail and all aspects of it. In this study, social innovation will be explained in conjunction with the previously mentioned related concepts and assessed the social innovation initiatives carried out in Turkey. Thus, this conceptual study will provide a better and clear understanding of social innovation.

This paper proceeds in the following manner. First, the literature on innovation, social innovation, and social entrepreneurship is reviewed respectively, the association between social innovation and social change is explained and social innovation is discussed in the context of Turkey. Finally, conclusion and future research suggestions are presented.

Literature Review and Theoretical Framework

Innovation Concept

Nowadays, with the rapid increase in interaction and consumption, the stakeholders who want to take part in the market, want to maintain their current place or want to have more shares analyze the needs of society better and reveal new products and services accordingly. Products and services that meet the needs of the community or create new areas of need will strengthen the stakeholders and demand for them. At this point, the concept of innovation emerges. Innovation is a comprehensive concept that covers the method, service, product and business model that can respond to economic and social demands and make room for new fields in the market.It will be useful to understand the origin of the word before it comes down to the details of the concept. The word 'innovation' comes from Latin 'Innovatus'. The meaning of the word is the introduction of a new phenomenon in different fields (Luecke & Katz, 2003). The word innovation refers to a new product, method and ideas that emerge in a wide framework such as social, institutional, administrative or cultural areas (Sener & Schepers, 2017). Innovation is extremely important in terms of shaping, changing according to the needs and expectations of the society and being a new concept. For this reason, many researchers have worked on this issue and tried to clarify the concept of innovation (Rogers, 2003). They emphasized the importance of seeing the emerging product, service or application as new by the society while considering the concept of innovation. When the concept of innovation is evaluated in terms of enterprises, it is defined as the organization, acceptance, development and shaping of this idea by the members of the organization. From a different point of view, it is stated that innovation actually involves a production process. In this process, businesses evaluate the situation from a new point of view, state a new opinion, make analyzes about this opinion, develop the appropriate technology, make the necessary improvements and evaluate it on the basis of all business functions and make it suitable for implementation. Innovation is a very effective method of solving problems for the company. In this way, companies will find solutions to their current problems and will prevent new problems in the future. Another important aspect of innovation in terms of firms is that these new applications created by companies will give them a competitive advantage in the market. By using their resources, companies will be able to find new products or services and learn new ways of doing business. Schumpeter, who examined the concept of innovation from an economic point of view, stated that it would not be possible to consider the concept of innovation separately from the practices of entrepreneurship. Innovation is a concept that should be emphasized in order to stimulate the market in stagnant economies. According to J.A Schumpeter, entrepreneurs develop a new application by using existing resources with new production methods by turning stagnant economies into an opportunity (Satı & Işık, 2011). In this way, the balances within the market are changed and reorganized, and this is generally beneficial for the side developing a new innovation. Developing a new product or adding a new feature to the new product, finding new market areas, opening up these fields, developing new production methods, creating and implementing new organizational systems, and reaching new raw material sources can be counted in innovation applications (Sundbo, 1998). However, not all new formations are considered innovation. This mentioned new product or service also needs to provide added value in terms of social and economic meaning. When it is evaluated on a social or individual basis, this product must meet the needs and expectations and must be a material value. In addition, this product will have a new set of features that will emerge for the first time unlike others (Uzkurt, 2009).

In summary, by developing an innovation, developing new products or services; then it is a process that involves putting it on the market with appropriate strategy. It is understood that firms will achieve significant financial gains by evaluating the economic results of this process. In terms of firms, innovation can be considered as the highest step of development (Serikan & Arat, 2013; Satı & Işık, 2011). Companies that attach importance to innovation will be among the prominent companies in the market. At this point, based on the innovation of companies, their work will enable them to manage the future and become one of the global players.

Concept of Social Innovation

With the developing technology, globalization and increasing competition in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, there have been some changes in the state policies, company strategies and life styles of individuals. Mass consumption increased, therefore profit-making organizations accelerated their efforts to meet this growing demand. This has led to the emergence of a number of social and environmental problems in the last decade, such as increased air pollution, climate change, health problems, rising unemployment rates, the emergence of the refugee problem and the proliferation of global threats (Godin, 2012). These problems, which threaten the future of the society, emphasized that technology and innovation movements, which only respond to consumption and that have material concerns, are not sufficient for the long-term benefit of society, and that it is necessary to be aware of social problems and to carry out studies within this framework (Choi & Majumdar, 2015). Social innovation includes a number of studies that involve the organization of policies to be more effective and beneficial to the social environment in line with the vision of the country towards the demands and needs of the society. Social innovation involves re-evaluating the resources of individuals and society and using them in different ways. The method used in the presence enables the routine and the authorities to re-evaluate the new perspective, and therefore includes the introduction of new processes, programs and products. In this process, it aims to use the resources in the most effective, beneficial and efficient way (Westley & Antadze, 2010; Godin, 2012). In this period where the available resources are becoming increasingly exhausted and the cost of reaching new resources increases, the individuals who make up the society together with the social innovation carry out a number of activities aiming at the benefit of the society by organizing themselves. With the increase in the studies on social innovation, researchers made statements by focusing on different aspects of the concept (Ruíz Viñals, 2013). He stated that by focusing on the economic side of social innovation, companies and individuals have found new initiatives and new designs and practices in order to gain more income and move economic markets. On the other hand, researchers, who emphasize the "Social" aspect of social innovation, described technological developments as a series of studies aimed at strengthening communication among individuals, communities and societies. Social innovation changes the behavior and orientation of individuals and societies as well as the structure of enterprises and the perspective of management. Today, organizations have studies based on social innovation and allocate budget and time for them separately (Degelsegger & Kesselring, 2012). Some researchers have focused on the results obtained of studies on social innovation. In these studies, it has been emphasized that together with the social innovation, the existing resources are used more efficiently, the outputs are more sustainable, more efficient results are achieved in the name of the ecosystem and the outputs that create value for the society are (Phills, Deiglmeier, & Miller, 2008).

Unlike other innovation studies, social innovation studies do not act in line with material motivation. It is neither an obstacle to economic concerns, nor is it just economic-based initiatives. With social innovation, individuals aim to create a more livable world for future generations. Individuals engage in a number of new connections and interactions with the aim of creating new methods, techniques and processes. These interactions will improve the coordination of individuals with each other and increase social interaction in the long term. Through these coordination and interactions, they will be able to respond faster to the pressure created by social demands and to produce solutions (Phills, Deiglmeier, & Miller, 2008). For this reason, studies and research on behalf of social innovation will contribute significantly to the social and ecological environment in the long term.

Social Entrepreneurship

In the context of the society's life away from stagnation, information that is evolving and easily accessible, individuals are progressing. With the change and development of the world, the dimensions of supply and demand change in the society. In this context, it is a system that is expected to work and improve with the new ways of analyzing the problems encountered in the life in social innovation with the current and innovative solutions. According to Eren (2010), the areas where social innovation operates are all the requirements addressed and improved in life of the community that may be encountered such as reduction of poverty, overcoming human injustice and economic imbalance in society, meeting personal rights such as care and health for individuals, and integrating more and more people into the social environment, education, work, transportation and the environment. At the core of the concept of social entrepreneurship, there are stages of concluding the social problems and examining the problem with entrepreneurial thought structure to create a perception from the solution. Social entrepreneurs adopt their rules as a tool in their activities and aim to exchange seamless resources. Thus, they can continue their social-based goals in life. Social entrepreneurship is the process of creating a value by combining current methods with existing knowledge. The first sensitivities of social entrepreneurs are the idea of evaluating opportunities and discovering opportunities in order to provide social added value to the society by supporting social change and supporting the change provided as it fulfills the needs. According to Ağca and Böyükaslan (2016), while social entrepreneurship, socialization of products and services that occur in the process of providing added value to social lifealso aims to mature the new structuring. Social entrepreneurship applies the rules of entrepreneurship in order to find out the problems and needs of the society and to solve the problems. Social entrepreneurship phenomenon has emerged between 1950-1960 and entrepreneurship and social innovation terms have taken place in the literature in this period. According to Kılıç (2014); social entrepreneurs examine social problems, create up-to-date initiatives and develop new methods. Zahra and colleagues described this as a phase sequence to improve social welfare by creating new methods or managing existing methods with a current mindset and the possibilities that make up and put them into practice. It is a matter to include the use of concepts equivalent to social entrepreneurship theory. According to Ağca and Böyükaslan (2016); Haug resolves the challenges of finding social entrepreneurs so that they maintain sustainability in the long period and prove their identity. In this context; goods and service, learnings, generated, revenues derived from the state, grant and voluntary basis can be classified. Due to the position of social entrepreneurs in society, the elimination of social problems is fast and flexible. All entrepreneurs have a connection with social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs are active in administrative and government-supported sectors. Social entrepreneurship ideas and solution-oriented capabilities are available to meet the needs of the society. According to Dees and Anderson (2006); It is stated that the concept of social entrepreneurship is adopted as the thought leader. However, social entrepreneurs in civil society have also been seen as the ones who changed what is stable. According to Ilieva-Koleva and Dobreva (2015), social entrepreneurs;

- They adopt the task of finding and maintaining social gain.

- Under the principle of social gain, they discover new opportunities to serve and keep their perceptions open.

- They adapt to the ongoing stages of innovation and adopt them.

- They are constantly active with the data they have.

- They show maximum transparency for support groups.

Social entrepreneurs are involved in a single structure to achieve social gain. These organizations use their economic lives as tools to implement their goals. Unlike commercial enterprises, earnings are not transferred to sovereign power. Another difference; as well as being objective to the stakeholders, they are objective to the society. According to Satı and Işık (2011), social entrepreneurs wait in active market conditions and transfer their earnings by working under market conditions to individuals. Services that improve and expand the social welfare that should be provided to the community by the state in developed countries in the global world are carried out not only by the state but also by the non-governmental organizations known as the third sector. Non-governmental organizations are not profit-making. All bodies of the state and civil society organizations have established cooperation in harmony. In the development of this cooperation, the state chooses to buy some services from the third sector and the fact that it does not prefer the way of producing itself plays an active role. According to Satı and Işık (2011), this process constitutes a considerable portion of mixed services where more than one case is indented. Social entrepreneurship, promising with the developing market area and increasing its importance day by day. Non-governmental organizations increase the welfare of the country and add positive value with the financial and social contributions in developed countries. Such developments contribute to the adoption of the concept of social entrepreneurship and increase in awareness. The basis of this idea is that the individuals who make the real society want to work in socially responsible commercial companies, easy and fast access to information, awareness of people and the need for social initiatives that the world develops day by day. The concept of social entrepreneurship emerged many years ago and evolved over time. Today, societies want the awareness of social entrepreneurship, not only in individuals but also commercial companies. For this reason; Today, producing only beautiful and high quality goods is not enough to make a profit. Consumers now pay attention to the company's social initiatives in their purchasesand examine this detail. The consumer's perception of choice also develops in this direction, and on the basis of this is the perception of development as a support and without being indifferent to the problems of society. (Ilieva-Koleva & Dobreva, 2015). As a matter of fact, a part of the society that makes a profit for the commercial enterprise by shopping would like its earnings to spread to itself somehow The institutions dealing with social innovation and spending time are not only consisting of state, foundation, association and companies which do not have any purpose for profit. Companies with the aim of earning can also organize a project with the aim of social innovation and they can present a project in which they are active and where problems are solved. In this respect, social entrepreneurship is the core of social innovation. Social innovation, by its spirit, ends social problems with a contemporary approach. The concept of innovation is indisputably broad. Within this scope, it is undisputed that a thought to the flesh of the bone, marketable state of the commodity formed are a part of innovation. Examining the services with innovation in order to bring the demands of society and peoplecreates social innovation (Ağca & Böyükaslan, 2016). This process can be realized by the social entrepreneurs, who are sensitive to social problems, act with the aim of achieving a sustainable solution by adopting social welfare and making them their goal in this direction. In this context, the key to social innovation is that social entrepreneur is qualified, has a good perception and all the ability to use all his or her potent positively. In this respect, social entrepreneurship should be well understood in order to examine and understand the concept of social innovation.

The Effect of Social Innovation on the Social Change

Social innovation, as to solve the problems that arise in the solution of the public problems with the current solutions mixed structure of social problems, the thoughts that cannot be solved only with state or non-governmental organizations have been strengthened due to the complex structure of social problems and the hosting of many stakeholders. Since social innovation consists of taking the problems into consideration by bringing innovative solutions to the society and making these solutions a value, can be applicable in all matters. Open education faculty provides a direct, indirect, multiplier interaction with or without a claim for gaining access to education for individuals economically and in many fields. For example, Uber, which has changed the understanding of transportation and its related approach, recently started its activities, six years ago. Uber, one of the world's most valuable companies, is a fifty billion dollar company. Uber reports how much the journey will cost by providing map service to the driver and passenger. In today's world time constraint, it contributes to the comfort of a little bit of life. The issue of Vocational High School, within Koç Holding structure and transferred to the Association of Private Sector Volunteers, is one of the social innovation practices that continued in Turkey with successful results. In this project, the focus is on the problems experienced by vocational high school graduates with employment and working problems and, on the other hand, problems of employers seeking qualified and knowledgeable employees. With the association between Danone and Grameen Bank founded by Muhammad Yunus, founder of the microfinance system; the nutrient elements are intended to send an increased yogurt extract to the low income areas of Bangladesh in packages of 80 grams. Children who live in this region and who cannot get the food they need are provided with high-nourishing and nutritious yogurt, however, this procurement movement has allowed women's employment over time. This example of social innovation involves a number of current practices in a considerable area and creates positive developments in response to social problems. Within Vodafone Turkey Foundation, one of the 27 worldwide foundations, women's participation in communication technologies through the Women's Movement in Technology project ongoing with the partnership of "Women Entrepreneurs Association" ''KAGİDER'' and ''Turkey Informatics Foundation (TBV)" aims to ensure that women have economic independence in society, gain equality in society, commercial competences and develop economically. Based on the above examples and in many examples, social innovation is very important to produce up-to-date and rational solutions to both economic and community issues. With the development of social innovation, the individual becomes an active value in his or her own economy and public economy. In the context of development and change in the society, it is necessary for individuals to gain positive benefits for themselves and for them, social innovation is a term that keeps increasing its continuity. Social innovation; has become a concept that has become a whole population of society from the smallest building block of society to the state economy and it is important to develop community awareness by bringing together the needy and volunteers especially for the development of societies. Social innovation is a method that allows individuals to play an active and positive role in order to increase the welfare of the society.

Social Innovation Development in Turkey

Developing countries with the aim of gaining their identity together with the developments in our period, focuses on the creation, maturation and practicalization of active ideas in order to meet the social needs that have already been solved in social life. The social innovation issue that attracted the attention of all institutions and organizations ranging from the public to the private institutions operating in the society in the remaining fifteen years, and the solutions offered by this issue produced different products, services, cooperation and political approaches than the usual ones. In this context, civil society organizations make great efforts to move to a higher level especially in the civilizations that reach welfare level (Heiska, 2012). As a matter of fact, non-governmental organizations operating in countries that have reached an advanced level of prosperity is in a strong position both technically and economically. In terms of Turkey, although civil society organizations continue to improve themselves both technically and economically they work to solve the problems and needs of the publicand they are an important actor in the development of the society with these studies. While civil society organizations are executing these activities, in Turkey where state administration is strong, supporting innovative ideas in order for the society to keep pace with the developing world and for these ideas to be accepted in societysocial innovation should be evaluated and improved capacity to support civil society within government policies (Hochgerner, 2013). When the definition and concept of social innovation is examined at this stage, the existence of the literature in which it always existed in the historical process and the development of educational life depending on this is an example of social innovation. The foundation tradition in the Turkish culture also serves non-governmental organizations that are designed and formed in the areas where the society deems necessary, and responds to the needs of those who are disadvantaged. According to Çizakça (2006), while in the 18th century, there were approximately 20.000 foundations in the Ottoman Empire, 5,000 foundations are active today. According to Kılıç (2014), foundations that are trying to touch each individual aim at economic independence and continuity by creating shops near the complex. This method reflects the innovative view of the period. Nevertheless, it should not be understood that the concept of foundation only improves in terms of the economic prosperity sustainability of the society In the process from the past to the present day, foundations, social solidarity and aid institutions, etc. with social approaches and contemporary approaches according to the periods they operate, they have been active for social solidarity, people-oriented development, for the establishment of social balance, protection of nature and nature. Therefore, in Turkey and the World, from past to present, civil society is in the positio n of main implementer of social innovation.

Despite the fact that social innovation practices in Turkey began to be discussed recently; In 1980, an entrepreneur network named Ashoka was established in the world and a structure was formed that brought together the entrepreneurs who produced it. According to Ashoka Fellows (from 2016), there are 34 people performing activities and organization registered in Turkey. However, it should be noted here; The number of people active in this field in Turkey is not limited to this, in several large areas, there are many innovative activities of small entrepreneurs. It should be noted that; not every entrepreneur can be an innovator, not every innovator can be entrepreneur. In summary, it is not correct to describe all of the Ashoka members as social innovators.


This study contributes to the literature by presenting a conceptual framework that extends social innovation and the relationship between social innovation and social change. Since there is an important gap in the relevant literature due to the new literature, an important contribution has been made to the literature by emphasizing important issues of social innovation and social change. It is suggested that social innovation is an innovative effort to produce sustainable solutions to social problems and thus triggers a social change that increases social welfare. This study shows that global order and societies are aware of the existence of a major change. With the actual change, the effects of many situations in which all individuals in the society are affected. Together with this change, consumption habits, income expenditure balance, increase in population density, rapid disappearance of natural resources, economic policies and state - individual relations and the instruments that have an impact on the whole dynamics of society are insufficient. For this reason, not only economic development, but also human and social development measures should be taken by states in their growth projections. Systems, services, policies that can respond to conversions in order to take these measures; they must submit to the demanded birth. It is necessary to act with the right direction, ideas and approaches in the time when change is inevitable and its speed is irresistible. That is why the term olm social innovation hem and the perception created by this term must be the leading role in both practice and theory. It is understood by the study that social and human development should be ensured along with economic development, and space should be created for social innovation in order to increase the welfare level of the society. In this context, institutions that will meet social innovation and which will express this concept in the society should act by developing their infrastructures and capacities. Turkey has not yet development period for social innovation concept of state on behalf of the development and social innovation with the mission to institutions / organizations they must serve with acting can be exercised targeted social welfare to social innovation in all aspects of the state to the individual. Therefore, policies for social innovation should be developed.

Consequently, terms expressed in this study should be evaluated together and presented together to the society. In this study, it is aimed to emphasize the importance of social development, social innovation and social entrepreneurship concepts because social change is a phenomenon that will continue without slowing down. In this respect, this study will be a guide for future research. In addition, the relationship between social innovation, social entrepreneurship and finally the common success of social innovation concepts can be examined by empirical or experimental studies.


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30 October 2019

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Business, innovation, Strategic management, Leadership, Technology, Sustainability

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Guzeloglu*, E., İnce, H., & İmamoglu, S. Z. (2019). The Effect Of Social Innovation On Social Change. In & M. Özşahin (Ed.), Strategic Management in an International Environment: The New Challenges for International Business and Logistics in the Age of Industry 4.0, vol 71. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 198-207). Future Academy.