Analysing the Social Innovation Process – The Methodology of Social Innovation Biographies

Maria Kleverbeck, Judith Terstriep


The dynamics of social innovation processes are of a complex nature and an underdeveloped research field. Social Innovation Biographies (SIBs) are a valuable methodology to reflect the evolutionary character of the dynamics of the social initiatives´ innovation processes in deepening the understanding of development paths, knowledge trajectories and stakeholder interactions at the micro-level. SIBs provide a comprehensive methodological solution including desk research, narrative interviews, semi-structured interviews, egocentric network analysis and triangulation as a step-by-step approach. SIBs allow to analyse social innovation cases and underlying processes in three dimensions: horizontally, vertically and comparatively. Besides its various advantages, SIBs also address methodological challenges related to the selection of critical cases, mobilising interviewees, securing the quantity and quality of information, overcoming selectiveness and reinforcing confidence.

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