Asian Review

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There is widespread agreement among theorists of social innovation that the term encompasses both a product dimension to serve social needs, as well as a process dimension leading to the empowerment of vulnerable groups in society. This definition allows for a number of innovation strategies employed by social enterprises that fulfill these requirements. In this paper we will illustrate how these philosophical premises determine divergent conceptions of the product, process, and empowerment dimensions. Building on seven case studies of social enterprises in Thailand and Taiwan pursuing different social innovation approaches will show that it can be understood as either empowerment of a local community or as systemic change by achieving scale. Both understandings have repercussions on how products and processes are understood across different social innovation approaches. By contrasting the manifestations of these defining features across the social innovation approaches we will attempt to construct a comparative framework in order to understand the relationship between strategic choice and type of impact.



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