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How social start-ups avoid being falling stars when developing social innovation (01a Articolo in rivista)

Battistella C., Dangelico R. M., Nonino F., Pessot E.

The aim of this study is to provide new insights into the social innovation (SI) development process in the context of social start-ups. A multiple case study identifies the issues and mechanisms for social start-ups to develop a social need into a potentially scalable innovation and to validate and scale it up, while avoiding a possible failure. Results show that key challenges faced by social start-ups can be characterized according to the stage of the SI development path. Firstly, social start-ups' failure can be caused by the lack of expertise in social problems and of flexible processes for social ventures creation; secondly, by the lack of awareness of SI benefits and proper resources allocation; and, finally, by a weak understanding of the impact and intangible outcomes of the developed SI in society, while ensuring its economic sustainability. Successfully overcoming these challenges requires social start-ups to put in place the following mechanisms: (1) leveraging a vision and motivations that balance tensions in terms of the radical, economic and cultural aspects of SI; (2) engaging the SI stakeholders in different (and sequential) phases of SI development process; and (3) identifying and adopting the most suitable technological, financial and communication tools in an integrated way.
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