The relationship between technology-based social innovation and social impact scaling has gained increasing attention in recent years, due to an escalating recognition that technology has an intrinsic disseminative nature and can allow for reaching larger audiences more efficiently, and thus more beneficiaries.
This study aims to analyze the potential relationship between social entrepreneurship deploying technology and the achievement of system change. We conceptualize system change as a co-evolving process relying on three levers: mindset shift, which acts at the individual level and cultural level, if happening at scale; market alteration, acting on new and existing market dynamics to enhance accessibility and inclusion; and institutional transition, which is concerned with the legislative, regulatory, and public policy level.
Through this paper, we aim to see if and how the use of technology-led social innovation has a positive relationship with the achievement of system change. Encompassing three different pathways, the specific hypotheses are that using technology in social entrepreneurship supports the shifting of societal mindsets; it alters established market dynamics, and it supports the achievement of changes at the institutional level.
Based on 817 survey responses of social entrepreneurs within Ashoka’s network, this study will use cross-analyses as a preliminary empirical examination to illustrate that technology, and in particular social innovators deploying technology in their work, can act on each of the levers conducive to system change.
Discover our findings on Social Innovations Journal's website, here.
About the authors of this publication:
Mario Calderini is Professor at Politecnico di Milano, School of Management, where he teaches Social Innovation. He is the Director of Tiresia, the Politecnico di Milano School of Management's Research Centre for Impact Finance and Innovation.
Konstanze Frischen is a member of the Leadership Group and leads Ashoka’s new global initiative on Tech & Humanity. She’s also the head of Ashoka in North America.
Ambra Giuliano is a PhD Candidate with the TIRESIA research center at the Polytechnic of Milan focusing on sustainability and social impact. She holds an MSc in Management Engineering and an MA in Business Management and Politics.