Digital Social Innovation: Exploring an Emerging Field

36 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2019

See all articles by Muge Ozman

Muge Ozman

Institut TELECOM, Telecom & Management SudParis, CEMANTIC

Cédric Gossart

Institut Mines-Télécom Business School (LITEM)

Date Written: September 7, 2018


Digital technologies can bring important advantages of speed and scale when it comes to engaging civic societies in developing solutions to pressing social issues, like social exclusion, inequalities, lack of transparency or unsustainable production and consumption. During the recent years, new organisational forms, social enterprises, and grassroots movements have emerged that use digital technologies to address such social issues, which we take in this paper as digital social innovations (DSI). Drawing upon 360 platforms in Europe, we build a typology of digital social innovations (DSI) with respect to the type of user engagement and the role of geographical location of the users. We then analyse the ways in which prominent DSIs have managed to scale up social impact. The results reveal that these platforms manage networks at multiple levels, activate community agency and manage the expectations of audiences. At the same time each type of DSI differs in the specific actions they carry out to achieve these. We discuss the implications of these results for future policy and management.

Keywords: digital social innovation, civic engagement, bottom-up innovations, social problems, digital platforms, scaling up

Suggested Citation

Ozman, Muge and Gossart, Cédric, Digital Social Innovation: Exploring an Emerging Field (September 7, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Muge Ozman

Institut TELECOM, Telecom & Management SudParis, CEMANTIC ( email )

9 rue Charles Fourier
Evry, 91011

Cédric Gossart (Contact Author)

Institut Mines-Télécom Business School (LITEM) ( email )

9, rue Charles Fourier
Évry, Ile de France 91011

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