Social innovation – A future pathway for Blue growth?
The European Union has launched the Blue growth concept as a strategy for stimulating economic growth in European seas. It is accompanying the core principles of the Green growth paradigm that seek to stimulate smart, sustainable and inclusive growth of economic activities. Focusing on Blue growth, this article examines its adequacy to enable social innovation as a strategy for the use and management of marine resources. Social innovation is interpreted as the changing behaviour of a group of actors joined in a network, leading to new and improved ways of collaborative action within the group and beyond. Social innovation can contribute to changing behaviour across different institutional settings, across markets and public sectors, and to enhancing bottom-up responsible inventiveness towards integration of social, economic and environmental objectives. Based on case-study research it is concluded that, to secure long-term sustainable development over short-term benefits, a social innovation perspective in the maritime domain will depend on cooperation, inclusiveness and trust.