Social innovation ecosystems and transition management
Across the world, rural and peri-urban areas are facing social, economic and ecological decline due to pressures of urbanisation and globalisation, which governments are struggling to address. Change and transition are necessary for the attainment of sustainability. This area of research focuses on the study of transition models and the new and enhanced role of change agents:
- Niche experiments for sustainability transition (Dr. Winnie LAW, Dr. Emily PAN* and Dr. Jessica WILLIAMS)
Experimentation is considered a promising way to seed change that may induce a fundamental transformation of a system. The peri-urban interface, as a convergence point for multiple social-technical-ecological systems, concentrates complex and persistent issues across the rural-urban continuum while also presenting opportunities to address these interlocking challenges through the development of strategic niches. This research focuses on two aspects regarding the dynamics of niche development: first, exploring the relationship between experiments and niche development; and second, examining the niche-regime interaction within the water-food-energy nexus, where multiple regimes are involved.
- The role of universities in social innovation ecosystem (Professor Wai-Fung LAM, Dr. Winnie LAW and Dr. Jessica WILLIAMS*)
Social entrepreneurship (SE) is increasingly seen as an attractive alternative. SEs are part of a larger social innovation ecosystem, composed of an array of actors, resources and support services. These ecosystems, however, do not always provide SEs with the appropriate tools or support to effect change, with SEs often struggling from a lack of funding, network access and human resources. Attention is being paid to the role of universities and how they can take a more proactive and engaged role in their communities. Investigation is undertaken into how a university can enhance the necessary conditions for social innovation, providing the broader structural framework to enable SEs, and more specifically, how they can act to directly incubate and support SEs in providing rural revitalisation solutions.
- GOGREEN (Dr. Vivian CHU and Professor Wai-Fung LAM*)
The GOGREEN project is a global comparative study led by Roskilde University that explores the conditions for successful co-creation of green transitions that enhance sustainability. The focus of the study is on the institutional and organisational designs, the forms of governance and leadership that condition the co-creation of innovative green solutions as the outcome, which will also be evaluated. As part of the global comparative study, the Hong Kong case study seeks to identify and evaluate the importance of a set of governance factors, such as strategies for inclusive and empowered participation and the ability to leverage government support, as conditions for the successful co-creation of the green solution that is the collaborative approach to revitalising rural areas in Hong Kong.