Social innovation and Higher Education landscape in East Asia: Comparative study

Richard Hazenberg*, Jieun Ryu, Toa Giroletti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report


Social innovation has seen rapid growth in the last decade globally, with increasing numbers of social innovators developing new ideas, the emergence of government policy to support social innovation, and enhanced interest in the concept and practice by academics. Universities play a key role in developing responses to complex problems and social innovation is seen to offer critical tools for them to achieve this. This research comprises a comparative study and five in-depth country reports on social innovation and social enterprise research and teaching in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam. It was conducted by the University of Northampton in partnership with local research teams in each country. It finds that social innovation is the subject of growing number of courses in these countries, with the vast majority of modules focused at the undergraduate level, and social innovation teaching seen as a critical element in students’ development, especially in fostering communication skills, empathy, problem-solving, and analytical thinking. However, it notes that one of the existing challenges is that social innovation modules remain dominated by business schools. Research into social innovation is also growing, and there is a desire for more research centred on business modelling, social enterprise success factors and social impact measurement. However, it notes that research collaborations in this field between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are uncommon and that there is a lack of funding for social innovation research from HEIs. The authors make a number of recommendations in the comparative study at the practice, institutional and systemic levels. They suggest, for instance, that social innovation should be embedded across all academic disciplines and degree programmes and that HEIs increase their engagement with corporates for support of social innovation research and teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Publisher British Council Hong Kong
Commissioning bodyBritish Council Hong Kong
Number of pages173
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2020


  • Social Innovation
  • Higher Education
  • Social Entrepreneurship


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