Case studies

There is no shortage of case studies on social innovation and social entrepreneurship. Some are quite extensive, while others are short, containing just brief descriptions. There is also a difference in focus:  from the ‘heroic’ visionary entrepreneurs, to the business model mechanisms of social enterprises. It is also worth noting that some of the cases are a few years old. This compilation does not claim to be comprehensive, just provide a glimpse of the vast ocean of initiatives that aim to drive social change. Please notify me ( if there are any broken links – or if there are other great case collections!


[Nobel laureate Muhammed Yunus visiting the social enterprise Yalla Trappan in Malmö. Photo: Sydsvenskan]


Collections of shorter cases/examples of social innovation (or ’sustainability innovations’): c. 1 p each

Camponeschi, Chiara (2010) The enabling city. Place-Based Creative Problem-Solving and the Power of the Everyday.   []

Camponeschi, Chiara (2013) Enabling City Volume 2: Enhancing creative community resilience.  [LINK]

Jégou, François. & Manzini, Ezio (2008). Collaborative services. Social innovation and design for sustainability. []   p 50-110

Meroni, Anna, ed. (2007) Creative Communities. People inventing sustainable ways of living     []  p 18-140

Pulford, Louise & Addarii, Filippo, eds (2010) This is European social innovation   [ ]   10 examples, 1p each


More in depth:

Dagerbo, E & Ohm, H (2013) The art of inviting participation.    []  Cases from Skåne (Sweden). 9 cases, 3-5 p each

Evers, Adalbert; Ewert, Benjamin & Brandsen, Taco; eds. (2014) Wilco project. Social innovations for social cohesion. Transnational patterns and approaches from 20 European cities. [ ]  c. 3p each.

Nesta, the Design Council & 00 (2011) A compendium for the civil economy. []  25 cases/ 5p each

Panama, Karen and Hansen, Michael Wendelboe (2014)  Successful Social Enterprises in Africa: Case Studies of Six Social Enterprises in Kenya []

Kernot, Cheryl and McNeill, Joanne  (2011)  Australian Social Enterprises: Stories of Challenge  [] 6-7 p each

Leadbetter, Charles (1997). The rise of the social entrepreneur.      []    p 27-53, UK focus; 5 examples 3-7 pages each

Innovation Investment Alliance, partnership between Skoll Foundation & USAID, (2017) on ‘scaling social impact’ [LINK] 3 case studies, international, 36-40p (!) each



Bayrasli, Elmira (2012) ‘When Business and Social Missions Align. Innovations case commentary. Bareeze and CARE Foundation, Pakistan.’ Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, Volume 7, nr 1, p 35-38

Bendt, Pim et al (2013) ‘Civic greening and environmental learning in public-access community gardens in Berlin.’ Landscape and urban planning, vol:109 nr:1

Datta, Punita Bhatt &  Gailey, Robert (2012) ‘Empowering Women Through Social Entrepreneurship: Case Study of a Women’s Cooperative in India.’ Entrepreneurship theory and practice vol:36, nr 3, p 569 -587

Harman, Jessie (2008) ‘Successful social entrepreneurship: The case of the Eaglehawk recycle shop.’ Journal of Services Research, Special Issue February, p 201-216.

Hibbert, Sally A.;  Hogg, Gillian and  Quinn, Theresa (2002) ‘Consumer response to social entrepreneurship: the case of the Big Issue in Scotland.’ International journal of nonprofit and voluntary sector marketing, vol:7 nr:3 p 288 -301

Perrini, Francesco (2010) ‘A process-based view of social entrepreneurship: From opportunity identification to scaling-up social change in the case of San Patrignano.’ Entrepreneurship & regional development, vol:22 nr:6

Rhodes, Mary (2008) ‘Social entrepreneurship as a performance landscape: the case of ‘Front Line’.’ Emergence, vol:10 nr:3



Barinaga, Ester (2014) Social entrepreneurship: cases and concepts. Lund: Studentlitteratur; Actually only one case – but 200 pages long!

Bornstein, David (2007) How to change the world. Social entrepreneurs and the power of new ideas. New York: Oxford University Press;  10 cases, about 20 p. each.


Web collections:

Innoweave (Canada) social innovation case studies: []

Nesst case studies  (  South America/Eastern Europe focus; 4 case studies c 10 p each

Oikos case collection (free cases: Global cases, business-oriented, developed for the purpose of teaching – if you are an educator, there are teaching notes available

EFESEIIS (FP7-project) [] Brief, European cases. 

CITISPYCE (FP7-project) [] Extensive, European cases. Focus on youth. 20-30 p each, 21 cases

TRANSIT – Transformative social innovation Large number of cases, various length. Both smaller initiatives and global networks. A goldmine!