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Supporting social innovation – a guiding model for innovation-promoters

Malin Lindberg, Professor, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

Through their daily support to innovators, innovation-promoters – e.g. innovation offices, incubators, accelerators, hubs and science parks – impact the form and purpose of future goods, services and other solutions. By offering counselling, knowledge, networks, testbeds, investments and other forms of support services, they provide innovators with insights and tools to understand and address unfulfilled needs among various target groups. As these services are traditionally tailored for industrial, technological and commercial innovations, innovation-promoters struggle with the growing number of social innovators arriving at their doorstep. Their established methods for reception, guidance, validation, etc. are often insufficient for enabling establishment and growth of #social innovations.

At the same time, #innovation-promoters are required to address #societal challenges and the #sustainable development goals of the #2030 Agenda, making social innovation – and social #sustainability in all kinds of innovations – essential to support. That is why innovation-promoters, innovators and researchers in Sweden joined their forces to develop a model for social innovation support. By pinpointing the main motives, logics and dimensions of supporting social innovation and socially sustainable innovation, the model guides innovation-promoters to establish, refine and validate their efforts to make their support services more inclusive and impactful. The model is now freely available at