SPARK Social Enterprise

  • Tsekouras, George (PI)

Project Details


SPARK Social Enterprises developed a number of resources to facilitate the development of innovation activities within social enterprises. The aim is to develop regular innovation activities that have a high impact in social or environmental terms.

Social enterprises experience a tension between two strategic directions: offering products or services delivering social or environmental impact and building an economically sustainable enterprise. The SPARK project examines how innovation can reconcile these strategic tensions and enable social enterprises to make a difference socially or environmentally (through their products and services) in the long run (through economic sustainability).

Key findings

Social enterprises are by default innovative organisations since they try to develop products and services with social impact combined with business models that secure the presence of the Social Enterprise in the long run.

However social enterprises need to develop more 'mature' processes for managing innovation. Innovation is much more than a brilliant new idea, involving various steps, from the new idea generation, to the development of a prototype and its full offering and the actual introduction/implementation in the organisation, the targeted beneficiaries or the market.

Innovation also involves a multiplicity of skills and talents, such as 'thinking out of the box', connecting to sources of expertise, forming and running multidisciplinary skills, marking and managing social media. Different people may have to take the 'steering wheel' in the various steps of the innovation process, depending on their match with the requirements of the time.

Social Enterprises have to take a holistic view in the innovation process, by looking into their 'value chain', that is organisations helping to promote its offerings to beneficiaries and customers, critical suppliers and 'complementary' (organisations that can supplement the Social Enterprise offerings with complementing products or services).
Short titleSPARK
Effective start/end date1/01/1631/03/20


  • Social Enterprises
  • Innovation
  • Start-up Social Enterprises
  • Innovation Acceleration


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