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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2020

Katrin Martens, Anke Wolff and Markus Hanisch

Against the background of increasing infrastructure loss in many rural areas, this study aims to contribute conceptually and empirically towards better understanding of…

Abstract

Purpose

Against the background of increasing infrastructure loss in many rural areas, this study aims to contribute conceptually and empirically towards better understanding of rural innovation processes related to provision of public goods.

Design/methodology/approach

The nationally focused understanding of innovation processes leads the debate on rural development into a dilemma that this study seeks to sidestep via the concept of social innovation. Community cooperatives – a type of social enterprise that has increasingly emerged in rural areas of Germany in the past decade – offer the opportunity to examine social innovation processes. This cross-case study reveals the broad range of activities in which such cooperatives are active and analyses their social innovation processes.

Findings

The study shows that the social innovation governance framework enables examination of social innovation processes. Although macro-level policy has appeared to be an important instrument for financing social innovation, public actors at the micro-level seem barely able to initiate social innovation processes unless they are also private actors and, therefore, can pursue additional incentives. The social innovations studied here seem to differ in terms of their actor constellations and resource-allocation patterns, depending on whether they are concerned with the establishment or maintenance of local infrastructure. What they have in common, however, is the initiation of formalised collective-action processes that serve to legitimise social innovation.

Originality/value

By applying an analytical framework that is new to the literature on social innovation, the study provides insight into the activities and decision-making processes of actors involved in social innovation in rural areas. In this context, community cooperatives have rarely been studied as an interface between public, private and civil society actors or as a platform for mobilising human, social and financial capital.

Details

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-8614

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2018

Mandy Singer-Brodowski, Katrin Grossmann, Stephan Bartke, Sandra Huning, Theresa Weinsziehr and Nina Hagemann

Energy poverty can be seen as a relatively new, but typical sustainability problem in which various dimensions (ecology, society and economy) are interlinked and in part…

Abstract

Purpose

Energy poverty can be seen as a relatively new, but typical sustainability problem in which various dimensions (ecology, society and economy) are interlinked and in part conflict with each other. Moreover, the variety of involved stakeholders (planners, tenants, housing companies, private landlords, energy consultants, etc.) represents conflicting aims for solving this problem. This paper aims to present a systematic linkage between higher education for sustainable development (HESD) and education about energy poverty yet.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative comparative case study approach with a similar didactic approach is used.

Findings

Based on the literature about HESD and an overall model in general didactics, ten criteria were identified and used for an overall reflection about similar courses dealing with the topic of energy poverty. The criteria covered the learning goals, the didactical approaches and the institutional support in the forms of organisation in the courses.

Research limitations/implications

There was no competency measurement of the students in the described courses.

Practical implications

There was no evaluation of the development of students’ key competencies for sustainability. However, the reflections of students and teachers revealed a positive development regarding the students’ learning process, especially because they worked on a real-world sustainability problem: energy poverty.

Originality/value

This contribution describes how university courses on energy poverty were designed and implemented at five German universities. Against the background of general criteria for HESD, it reflects on the experiences that the use of this concept evoked. Through a comparison of the five courses against these criteria, the paper outlines strengths and weaknesses of the approach and closes with recommendations and requirements for designing further courses.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 19 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 24 February 2020

Reza Alizadeh and Leili Soltanisehat

The purpose of this paper is to envision the alternative futures of the design and manufacturing industry using an integrated foresight method based on scenario planning…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to envision the alternative futures of the design and manufacturing industry using an integrated foresight method based on scenario planning. Also, the authors aim at developing robust strategies for an enterprise that aims to be placed as a leading high-tech international design and manufacturing company in 2035.

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed approach is created by integrating several foresight methods such as Delphi, scenario planning, MICMAC and cross-impact analysis.

Findings

Automation and sustainable development are found as the fundamental driving forces in the design and manufacturing industry. Four scenarios based on these driving forces and expert knowledge are created: innovation adaptation, forced automation (business-as-usual), sustainable era and automationless scenarios. For the developed scenarios, a set of strategies are proposed by asking experts about the strategies which can be taken to make the enterprise competitive in all developed scenarios in 2035. The main macro-level outcome is that economic and technological drivers will be the most important factors for design and manufacturing, followed by environmental and social factors.

Originality/value

The proposed method uses the strengths of traditional scenario planning but overcomes its weaknesses by suggesting a systematic process for scenario building and easy application.

Details

foresight, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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