Evaluating Social Innovations: How Creative Evaluation can help articulate their values and impacts (Owen, V., Ceyhan, P., Cruickshank, L., & Christou, E., 2022). This paper was created for the Design Research Society Conference 2022.
Abstract: Locally, nationally and internationally, Social Innovations (SI) are increasingly seen as a way to address the complex problems posed by society. Emphasised by both funding bodies and in UK legislation and initiatives such as Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 and Social Impact Bonds, there is a greater urgency in evidencing the value generated by SIs. However, the process of measuring and evidencing social value is still underdeveloped. This necessitates developing evaluation approaches that are adaptive, responsive to context, and able to demonstrate value beyond financial return. This paper presents an overview of the current evaluation methods employed to capture the social value generated by SI’s and examines the problems with these methods. Furthermore, it reviews Creative Evaluation (CE), a constellation of evaluation approaches, which has recently garnered renewed attention in evaluation research, and presents it as a promising avenue that could help mitigate the current issues faced when evaluating SI’s.