Conceptualizing risk and social innovation: An integrated framework for risk governance

Stephen Osborne, Sarah-Sophie Flemig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Public policy seeks innovation as a solution to society’s big problems, yet it almost always fails to address one key component of innovation: risk. Furthermore, risk management in public policy predominately focuses on the minimization or even avoidance of risk, no matter its nature. This article focuses on the nexus between risk and social innovation specifically in public policy. It acknowledges the special context of decision-making in public policy and proposes two differentiations that are necessary for a holistic model of risk management in public policy innovation: Firstly, the differentiation between cases of risk and uncertainty; and, secondly, between hard and soft risk management approaches. Concluding, the paper presents a framework that can inform public policy makers and practitioners alike regarding risk management and its effect on social innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-182
JournalSociety and Economy
Issue number2
Early online date4 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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