The International Handbook on Social Innovation
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The International Handbook on Social Innovation

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Edited by Frank Moulaert, Diana MacCallum, Abid Mehmood and Abdelillah Hamdouch

The contributors provide an overview of theoretical perspectives, methodologies and instructive experiences from all continents, as well as implications for collective action and policy. They argue strongly for social innovation as a key to human development. The Handbook defines social innovation as innovation in social relations within both micro and macro spheres, with the purpose of satisfying unmet or new human needs across different layers of society. It connects social innovation to empowerment dynamics, thus giving a political character to social movements and bottom-up governance initiatives. Together these should lay the foundations for a fairer, more democratic society for all.
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Chapter 16: Knowledge building and organizational behavior: the Mondragón case from a social innovation perspective

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Igor Calzada


The new conceptualization of innovation in postmodern management studies has generated quite some marketecian noise. Still, other community-embedded approaches to innovation bypassing a unilateral global competition logic are possible. To this end, Geoff Mulgan and his colleagues contextualize the challenges and issues that territories and business nodes confront in a globalized world, offering the idea of ‘creative ecosystems’ and the metaphor of the Bees and the Trees (Mulgan 2007; Murray et al. 2010). According to this idea, socially innovative experiences are based on an ‘alliance’ between active agents of innovation (creators, innovators and entrepreneurs) – the ‘bees’ – and active agents of validation (universities, companies and institutions) – ‘trees’. When bees and trees live together in the same urban area they can, through their mutually beneficial interactions, create creative local communities. Presently, at grassroots level in cities, such ‘alliance’ is required between the post-crisis large-scale projects investors and social entrepreneurs.

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