Collaboration Between Sectors for Social Innovation : The Refugee Housing Unit Case
Events happening in the 21st century- global economic crisis, naturaldisasters, extreme poverty, struggles and conflicts have led to a realization that we areliving in a troubled world where we are interdependent in one way or the other. These issues tend to be complex and intertwined such that delegating them to a single sectoris too huge of a task to bear, thus the need for social innovation through cross sector collaboration. The case of the Refugee Housing Unit is being studied- a collaboration between the IKEA Foundation, UNHCR and the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation led to the creation of a more sustainable environmental friendly shelter for refugees.Since social innovation is a green field especially in a BOP context, the research is aimed at understanding how the RHU case can provide important insight in which collaboration theory can be applied between sectors to shape future social innovation endeavors.
The aim of this thesis is to study the collaboration of organizations belonging to different sectors to create social innovations. This research will examine how collaboration between sectors takes place, and through the empirical case of theRefugee Housing Unit, derive key learning points that could shape future social innovation projects. A framework will be developed that could provide important insightsfor future socially oriented collaborations.
The proposed framework was developed through a study of socialinnovation theory in terms how it can be accelerated through cross sector collaborationiitheory. A case study that entailed these two theories was chosen to enable the development of a suggested framework. The study involved collection of primary data inform of interviews with Johan Karlsson and Chris Earney, RHU project leader and UNHCR Innovation co-leader, respectively. Additionally, secondary data was used tohelp understand the case further.
Examining the core elements of cross-sectoral collaboration for social innovation showed imperative social aspects as well as key dimensions that are pillars for the process of collaboration. The RHU case revealed critical factors for collaboration between sectors that are well stipulated in the framework. The framework can act as a guide for organizations wishing to collaborate for social innovation as well as provide abasis for future research in this young field.
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