Constructing The Evolution of Social Innovation: Methodological Insights from a Multi-Case Study

  • Katharine Albertine McGowan Bisset School of Business, Mount Royal University
  • Frances Westley University of Waterloo


In this paper, we discuss our methodological challenges we encountered in creating our multi-case volume, The Evolution of Social Innovation.  In applying social innovation to eight different historical periods and problem domains, we needed to justify our choices according to our hypothesis of the crucial role of new social phenomena in sparking transformative change; we also utilized visualization techniques to further our comparison and theoretical explorations, and; embracing the ambiguity of social innovation.   Resolving these methodological challenges confirmed the importance of a research journey that is responsive to the initial question or hypothesis, not limited by conventional, or discipline boundaries, when exploring social innovation.



Author Biography

Katharine Albertine McGowan, Bisset School of Business, Mount Royal University
Dr. McGowan is an Assosiate Professor of Social Innovation, and coordinator of Apaat tsi kani takiiks, an initiaive to Indigenize business education curricula and teaching space at the Bisset School of Business.


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How to Cite
McGowan, K. A., & Westley, F. (2017). Constructing The Evolution of Social Innovation: Methodological Insights from a Multi-Case Study. European Public & Social Innovation Review, 2(1), 93-109. Retrieved from
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