Dimensions of social innovation and the roles of organizational actor: the proposition of a framework

ABSTRACT Purpose: To propose a framework that involves the analysis of the dimensions of social innovation and the roles played by the organizational actor. Originality/gap/relevance/implications: The challenge here was to outline a framework within the Brazilian context, contributing as an instrument to the decision making of the organizational actor, serving as guidance to better comprehend social innovation initiatives that they promote, as well as characterizing the roles that they should play in order to better promote and advertise the implemented social initiatives. Key methodological aspects: The study was of qualitative nature, and the case was a network created by organizations of the civil society that manage social innovation (Articulação do Semiárido Brasileiro - ASA). The NGOs linked to ASA, which works within the Brazilian states of Paraíba, Pernambuco, and Rio Grande do Norte, were the analysis units of the case surveyed. The Analysis of Contents was adopted for data handling, supported by the software Altas.Ti. Summary of key results: The organizational actor has a leading role among social innovation initiatives, as a legitimate representative of society's interests in articulating bottom-up initiatives (actors); in identifying non-satisfied social needs (social needs); as a manager of social relationships, especially when it comes to governance and participation (process); pointer of innovative capacity of the ideas implemented (innovativeness and promoter of the social benefits provided in the community (social improvements and answers). Key considerations/conclusions: Based on the roles identified, it is possible to map out the actions of the organizational actors, helping them in their tasks of planning, implementing and disseminating social initiatives, which results in a model that is both operational and analytical.