Social innovation measurement: a room for quantitative metrics
This article elaborates on the methodological aspects of social innovation research, with a focus on an examination of the validity of quantitative scales in the identification of socially innovative non-profits (n = 850 NGOs, 2015). This elaboration is necessary due to the methodological shortcomings of existing metrics of social and general, i.e., those relating to technological and business innovations. Based on theoretical conceptualization and derived demarcation lines of the concept, a multi-item scale was generated. It was applied along with a self-assessment scale, which replicates the general innovation measurement. Both scales of an NGO’s social innovativeness resulted in appropriate validity coefficients. However, scales capture different and only partly intersecting shares of socially innovative NGOs. We propose that theoretical and self-assessment scales could be administered simultaneously to eliminate self-assessment biases and to provide empirical data on the scope and size of a sub-sector of socially innovative NGOs.