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Research on social innovation ecosystem in Asia

Author: Ken Ito, Keio University
Published Date: 3 February 2017

Background of the research project
The role of the social sector has been highlighted in the process of Social Innovation in Asian countries, where they face challenges from widening income disparity, environmental issues and education inequality while achieving economic growth. However, given the scale of the problems that may exceed the capacity of an individual organization, ecosystem and platform building for the collective effort of different stakeholders has attracted interest as one of the systemic approaches to accelerate social innovation. The government and social sector organizations are no longer expected to work individually, but rather to collaborate with businesses and other sectors to pursue synergies to create maximized social impact.

The goal of the project
The objective of this project is to research, analyze and identify a strategy for the ecosystem building in 5 Asian countries (China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand) as well as to determine potential opportunities for cross-sector collaboration or regional collaboration to accelerate Social Innovation in the region.

Founded by Toyota Foundation – a forward-looking organization that works on building platforms for the non-profit sector in Asia, this research project involves a group of five researchers across five countries in Asia, namely: China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.

Project plan for 2017
The first workshop took place in Seoul in November 2016. The project members shared the key case studies of social innovation in each country and exchanged their perspectives of the “as-is” ecosystem and market environment of social innovation. The second workshop is expected to be held in Tokyo in April 2017. The outputs of the research project are: (1) a country report on the five countries which summarizes the current status and policy options to maximize opportunities for future potentials for a cross-sector or regional collaboration for social innovation; and, (2) a project report which provides cross-country analysis, policy recommendations and suggestions for cross-border collaboration with a comparative meta-study of each country.

If you would like to find out more about this research project, contact:
Ken Ito
Project Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Media and Governance
Keio University (Japan)