“Movements with missions make markets”: the role of social movements in innovation
- 30 August 2018
- Posted by: Helen Nicol
- Category: News
Charles Leadbetter, Visiting Professor at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP), has taken to Medium to announce a new working paper which explores the impact of social movements on the innovation process. In his post, Charles discusses contemporary research into social innovation, and asks:
“… who sets the mission and purpose for innovation and how is a mission established that is not just compelling but legitimate, especially when the goal is societal change? Who set the mission to create the Pill and why did a wide group of scientists, philanthropists, medics and regulators respond to that mission?”
Using the invention of the contraceptive pill as an example, Charles points out that radical changes which initially appear to be “a straightforward story of corporate innovation” are often actually dependent upon “a different kind of actor, one which is involved not just in setting missions but also mobilising people, resources and knowledge in their fulfilment: social movements“.
He goes on to argue that social movements play four vital roles: helping to create, contest and shape the mission and purpose of innovation; helping to organise the ‘supply side’ by generating and circulating ideas, knowledge and technology; orchestrating the ‘demand side’ through the formation of networks; and assembling a nascent market for the innovation ahead of its realisation. Charles’s post can be read here, and the full working paper (IIPP WP 2018-07) can be downloaded from the UCL IIPP website.