Cited as: (2023) Support Networks for Social Innovation: Insights from Ireland, Journal of Social Entrepreneurship,
Ireland, networks, social innovation, social network analysis, support structures
This article explores the support structures for social innovation from a network perspective, applying a qualitative enriched Social Network Analysis (SNA) to investigate them. The analysis draws on a survey distributed among three hundred and twenty-one (321) social innovation organisation in Ireland, of which sixty-two (62) valid responses were included in the analysis. This is complemented with sixteen (16) semi-structured interviews with key informants. The current findings identified the strong bridging capacity of the Irish public sector in supporting social innovation, specifically in the start-up phase of social innovative initiatives. At the same time, the findings signal a mismatch between the hybrid nature of social innovation and the unilateral approach of public institutions. It points to the need for blended and cross-sectoral supports in order to scale-up and enable more diverse pathways for systemic change.