POSTED: September 5, 2016
Economy | Politics & Enterprise

Social innovation in the 21st century: beyond welfare capitalism?

CUSP Deputy Director Fergus Lyon chairing research stream at 8th International Social Innovation Research Conference
Glasgow, 5 September 2016

CC BY-SA 2.0 :: / Flickr

There is a growing interest in design and innovation for wellbeing and sustainability. This was the focus for the International Social Innovation Research Conference in Glasgow, asking what social innovation beyond welfare capitalism can and cannot be. 

Prof Fergus Lyon chaired a stream on Growing & Scaling Impact, looking at how social enterprises and other organisations can increase their social change influence.

As papers presented at this session showed, simple growth of one’s own organisation doesn’t automatically translate into wider influence – the biggest examples of impact can actually come from organisations innovating and then encouraging others to take up their ideas.

However, this raises difficult questions for businesses wanting to keep control of their intellectual property. If businesses are to contribute to sustainable prosperity, there is a need to find business models that allow both: sharing of ideas, but also incentives for business to invest their own time and resources in innovation. This will be a topic for further research in CUSP.


ISIRC is a world leading interdisciplinary social innovation research conference series, bringing together scholars from across the globe to discuss social innovation from a variety of perspectives. ISIRC 2016 was hosted by The Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, Glasgow Caledonian University from Monday 5th to Wednesday 7th September 2016. The conference took place in the heart of Glasgow City Centre, 200 SVS.

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