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"Social Entrepreneurs as ""Lead Users"" for Service Innovation" (SELUSI)
Start date: Jun 1, 2008, End date: Aug 31, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Companies that don’t innovate lose their competitive edge. This is one certainty companies in an increasingly competitive, complex environment face, and which is further driven home by the 2005 re-launch of the Lisbon Strategy. But how should a Philips, IMEC or say a leading company in high-tech or knowledge-based services innovate their service function? This project will bring forward emerging social entrepreneurs as a powerful, yet so far untapped source of ‘external’ intelligence, ideas and technologies, and will advance a concrete strategy for how companies can access and leverage this intelligence in their service innovation processes. To do so, we will first rigorously analyse the founding decisions of 800 emerging social entrepreneurs based in Western as well as Central and Eastern European countries. This will allow us to systematically dissect the rising phenomenon of social entrepreneurship along a number of dimensions, including financial contracting, competitive strategy and organizational design. As we better understand who social entrepreneurs in Europe are and how they evolve over time, we can start to address more effectively how their intelligence can be optimally mobilized to accelerate service innovation. We will pilot-test at least one concrete, new innovation strategy (match-making model) through a series of action-orientated workshops that will involve academics, social entrepreneurs and leading companies. Finally, through our unique blend of fundamental and applied research, we will be able to formulate public policy initiatives in the following four domains: (i) the area of emerging social entrepreneurship both at the EU and member state levels, (ii) that of service innovation and competitiveness particularly at the EU level, (iii) areas of both emerging social entrepreneurship and services innovation in European welfare states versus emerging market economies, and (iv) our “SELUSI”-Innovation Strategy at the global level."

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