An exploration of the fit or space between CSR and innovation is presented, based on the RESPONSE project, a 15-month study involving 60 SMEs throughout Europe. The main practical output of the project was the Social Innovation model, yet a conceptual understanding of CSR and innovation is best advanced through the three hypotheses that constitute the conclusions of the project: H1) The diffusion of CSR should be modelled on the diffusion of innovation; H2) CSR implementation and innovation can be configured to form a virtuous circle; and H3) There is a maturity path toward true integration of CSR and innovation. These three hypotheses inform, respectively, on the background, results and development of the project. H1 is framed within the context of the original European Commission call and proposal; H2 ties in with the Social Innovation model; and H3 is discussed in the light of a short case involving a high-performing SME. Since the hypotheses were the result of the project, we do not attempt to prove them here, but discuss their significance, with the idea that further research and community development will fully evaluate their accuracy.
Corporate social responsibility; innovation; small and medium-size enterprises;
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