Research Paper : Thinking Through Social Innovation And Social Entrepreneurship In India
Abstract: This chapter provides an overview of social entrepreneurship in India within the larger frame of social innovation globally and its historic roots in India. India is often seen as the hotbed of social enterprises globally and has been hosting several forums to promote social entrepreneurship in the last decade. This chapter situates the fast changing and dynamic space of social entrepreneurship from multiple lenses. The chapter begins by examining the landscape of social entrepreneurship in India and is followed by an analysis of the actors in the ecosystem and some broad trends including a greater emphasis on social enterprises recently. Drawing on insights from recent literature on social innovation globally we present the case for looking at social entrepreneurship as part of a larger process of social innovation. We follow this by examining the evolution of social innovation in India, suggesting a closer role for civil society traditions of constructive work, experimentation and innovations. We show how awards for encouraging innovations have had precedents in the Gandhian movement before independence and the role of people’s science movements in promoting technology for development in the eighties and nineties. We conclude by providing suggestions for rethinking social innovation in India by arguing the case for a closer read of both the historic and cultural roots of social innovation and the emerging strands globally that focuses on citizen participation, democratization of innovation, and ideas for socio-political change. We make a case for exploring India, not just as a space for some of the exciting social innovations from an emerging market perspective but also an exploration of approaches, theories and concepts, that draws upon practitioners’ perspectives and rooted in Indian intellectual traditions of creative dissent.
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