95th ESA Annual Meeting (August 1 -- 6, 2010)

OOS 8-6 - Role of social innovation in social-ecological change

Tuesday, August 3, 2010: 9:50 AM
301-302, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Frances Westley, Social Innovation Generation, University of Waterloo, Kitchener, ON, Canada and Daniel McCarthy, Department of Environment and Resources Studies , University of Waterloo

This presentation will provide a theoretical and conceptual overview of the relationship between social innovation and social-ecological resilience. I will begin by providing a framework for understanding the importance of social innovation for both re-engaging vulnerable populations and building social-ecological resilience. I will then introduce the concept of an innovation cycle, similar to the adaptive cycle of resilience theory and illustrate the distinctive phases and stages of successful innovation. Lastly, through cases of successful introduction of novel ecological management approaches, I will explore how understanding this cycle can assist managers and leaders (which I call institutional entrepreneurs) to identify and engage in phase appropriate strategies for enhancing positive resilience of social-ecological systems. 

This presentation will contribute to a growing understanding of the relationship between resilience and innovation and the role of strategic agency in complex adaptive systems. It will contribute to developing greater conceptual precision about how to both understand and manage the emerging dynamics of such systems.