Managing stakeholders’ engagement in social innovation projects – learnings from the online world of open source innovation



social innovation, open source innovation, open collaboration, stakeholder engagement, stakeholder management, critical success factors


Purpose of the article While failure rates remain a significant challenge for open source projects, there is a great opportunity for social innovation projects to learn from the online world when it comes to raising the levels of stakeholders’ engagement. With more than 15 million open source contributors worldwide, the purpose of the article is to draw from the learnings on how to engage contributors and appy those learnings to implement better, more efficient and effective solutions to social problems.

Methodology/methods Based on previous findings from the open source innovation body of knowledge, a directed qualitative analysis is used within the current research to analyze interviews with social innovation stakeholders in Latvia, and identify the set of applicable practices/elements/areas that are perceived to be of high importance to the successful engagement of key stakeholder groups when it comes to implementing social innovation projects.

Scientific aim By seeking to connect the findings from interviews with social innovation stakeholders in Latvia and the broader theoretical framework, concerting factors, perceived to influence engagement levels in open source innovation projects, the research aims to enable cros-polination of best practices and bridge the gap between the physical and online worlds of managing collaborative innovation.

Findings As a result of the directed qualitative content analysis, it was found that factors, perceived as leading to successful management of stakeholder engagement in open source innovation projects, are also considered to be of relevance in the case of social innovation. Based on this finding, a set of best practices from the open source world was suggested for implementation in the key areas identified – “Contextual awareness” and “Value-oriented communication and collaboration”.

Conclusions The research confirmed that the main set of factors for successful engagement of project stakeholders is not limited to a particular country, stakeholder or project group. A need for broader efforts in the area of cross-pollination of knowledge, originating from the digital and the physical worlds, was found to be of importance in the current case (and in general). Such cross-pollination is projected to play ever more important role in business and entrepreneurship development in the digital age, especially in the dawn of the 4th industrial revolution, characterized by the fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical and the digital.

Author Biography

Hristian Yuriev Daskalov, Technical University - Sofia

PhD student at the Faculty of Management, Department of Economy, Industrial Engineering & Management


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