PACS post / May 25, 2015


Organizational Capacity for Continuous Innovation in Established Social Sector Organizations

PI: Johanna Mair and Christian Seelos

The dimensions and complexities of global social and environmental problems are challenging the ability of social sector organizations to remain relevant. Supporting the ability of organizations to continuously innovate is therefore a prime mechanism by which funders can contribute to progress. This report informs a process leading up to a future research program that aims to generate actionable insights into the mechanisms that promote or inhibit the capacity for continuous innovation in social sector organizations. It provides an overview of the mainstream organizational and social sector literature on innovation capacity. On that basis, we propose an analytical process model of organizational capacity for continuous innovation. It captures the dynamic of how ideas are generated internally or accessed from external sources and how they are evaluated, experimented with, adopted or rejected, and formalized in organizations as technical or managerial innovations, new products, or services. This model is used to integrate a number of internal and external factors that are known from the literature to impact innovation capacity.