A proposal for an assessment tool of social innovation impact


  • Jorge Cunha ALGORITMI Research Center
  • Wellington Alves ALGORITMI Research Centre - University of Minho https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7227-5930
  • Fernanda Pontes ALGORITMI Research Center - University of Minho
  • Madalena Araújo 1ALGORITMI Research Center - University of Minho https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3515-0135




Social innovation, Impact assessment, Indicators, Metrics, Assessment tool


In response to the urgent need for an inclusive society, the demand for metrics to evaluate the impact of different types and scales of organizations has grown significantly in recent years. The challenge of how to evaluate the impact coming from social innovation (SI) has emerged as an important question posed by various actors, such as academic researchers, students, project managers, leaders of organizations, and policymakers. To find an answer to this question, this research seeks to contribute to bridging the gap between SI initiatives and the evaluation of their impacts. Despite the interest and popularity of the topic of SI, this gap can be justified due to the lack of tools and frameworks to help organizations approach SI impact assessment. Although indicators have been widely used by researchers in different fields of study, the current literature has failed to develop indicators, frameworks or methodologies to assess the impact of SI initiatives. The research includes an investigation of the state of the art in terms of measuring the impact of SI, based on both scientific literature and practitioners' reports. Based on this analysis, a set of thirty-eight indicators was identified to assess the impact of SI. From the literature consulted, it can be seen that the results highlight the gap in the literature regarding the lack of instruments and frameworks. Regarding the set of thirty-eight indicators identified, if applied as a complement to a measurement tool, the indicators can be used as a first attempt to help organizations address the evaluation and effectiveness of the SI impact on their actions. The proposal may contribute to bring to light new evidence in the SI domain for policymakers, researchers and governments, then contributing to a better understanding of the impact of SI.

Author Biographies

Wellington Alves, ALGORITMI Research Centre - University of Minho

Wellington Alves is an Adjunct Professor at the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and a researcher at the Center for Innovation and Research in Business Sciences and Information Systems (CIICESI) and ALGORITMI Research Centre. Holds a PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering. His research interests are related to social innovation, and sustainability in the industrial sector.

Fernanda Pontes, ALGORITMI Research Center - University of Minho

Fernanda Pontes is a junior researcher at the Algoritmi Research Center of the University of Minho holding the SINOVPROC project. Received her Master's degree in Industrial Engineering from University of Minho, in 2021. Her main research areas are social innovation, entrepreneurship and social economy.

Madalena Araújo, 1ALGORITMI Research Center - University of Minho

Madalena Araújo is Full Professor of Industrial and Technology Management in the Department of Production and Systems, School of Engineering, University of Minho. Her research interests are rooted in Decision Making under Risk and Uncertainty, mainly applied to management of industrial, technology and energy systems. Best Available Technologies for industrial sustainability, including economic, environmental and social dimensions, Project, Portfolio and Program Management, especially for University-Industry collaborations, are topics of research interest. She has vast experience on international and national projects and MSc and PhD supervision on project management, resource allocation, technology management, energy and environment topics.