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Háskólinn í Reykjavík > Samfélagssvið / School of Social Sciences > MSc Viðskiptadeild (og Klínísk sálfræði -2019) / Department of Business Administration >

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  • Titill er á ensku How are social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and social impact measurement used to address global health threats?
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  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to understand how for-profit start-ups are addressing global health threats through social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and social impact measurement. Additionally, this study aims to understand the challenges experienced being a start-up that is both social and profit driven.
    Methodology: This study was conducted using a qualitative multi-case research method involving in-depth interviews, multiple case studies, and content analysis. The research focuses on four specific global health threats classified by the World Health Organization: air pollution and climate change, non-communicable diseases, Ebola and other high threat pathogens (e.g., COVID-19), and weak primary health care. Following the selection of the health threats, the researcher contacted several for-profit start-ups that address at least one of those health threats. Seven of the contacted start-ups agreed to participate. From these, the researcher was able to gather data needed to answer the research question.
    Findings: This study provides valuable insight into the importance of start-ups in creating change; however, this is theoretical because the findings lack specific numbers for social impact measurement in order to understand the direct impact on global health. The findings of this study indicate that the participating social start-ups have all created solutions that aim to address global health threats. Using Nicholls and Murdock’s (2018) three levels of social innovation and Kahn’s (2018) seven types of product innovation, the researcher is able to determine how the start-ups are addressing global health threats through social innovation. Furthermore, the results indicate that the participating start-ups are typically creating incremental social innovation (Nicholls & Murdock, 2012) through product innovations including new markets, new uses, new category entries, and new-to-the-world products (Kahn, 2018). When it comes to social impact measurement, it is clear that the social start-ups believe it to be an important activity; however, there are still many unanswered questions about how they are measuring their social impact. Lastly, the results also indicate that it is more common for social start-ups to experience challenges related to being both social and profit oriented rather than not. The challenges experienced by the start-ups were primarily related to funding and partnerships.
    Limitations: The practical limitations of this study relate to the fact that all of the results are obtained through interviews which is susceptible to human error, bias, and personal opinion. However, the researcher avoided ethical problems by being vigilant, considerate and maintaining objectivity. The theoretical limitations relate to a lack of relevant literature and consensus on Kahn’s (2018) seven types of product innovations, social impact measurement, and processes of social innovation.
    Originality/Value: This study is original because it analyzes the role that current start-ups are playing in addressing the most recent global health threats published by the World Health Organization. It relates global health to the private sector and acknowledges the potential powerful relationship between the two. Overall, this study aims to contribute to literature in social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and social impact measurement.
    Keywords: Social Innovation, Social Entrepreneurship, Global Health Threats, Social Start-Ups, Social Impact Measurement

  • 20.10.2020

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