Social innovation based on collaboration between government and non-governmental organizations in the COVID-19 crisis: evidence from Iran | Infectious diseases of poverty

Innovation is a necessity of civilization. The new circle of global development in the present era is witnessing broad innovation-based competition for access to scarce and limited resources that secure the path for long-term and sustainable growth of society. Applying the word innovation to a phenomenon assumes that its appearance causes clearly significant qualitative changes. There are different types of innovations, including technological, economic, commercial, etc., which influence the fulfillment of needs and the creation of human well-being. However, many needs are not being met. From the perspective of various experts, one of the ways to meet the needs is a kind of dynamic innovation in all fields called social innovation [1,2,3,4,5]. Social innovation is a social goal related to improving the lives of individuals and society to achieve satisfaction through a better, more efficient, fairer and more sustainable response to existing, new and above all unmet needs. [6]. Social innovation is a new issue that states that people are always trying to find new solutions to social needs. Therefore, part of the appeal of social innovation stems from the fact that it can be used as an “umbrella” to solve social challenges in creative and positive ways. In other words, social innovations are innovations that are social, both in their means and in their objectives, and seek to find new answers to social problems and challenges by identifying and providing new services that improve the lives of people. people in society. [7]. The concept of social innovation consists of two different elements because the social element has various interpretations. Therefore, the relationship between innovation and society is a complex issue [8]. Collaborative partnerships in social innovation are also on the rise, with public and private companies and civil society playing a role in these collaborations. [9]. This increased participation in the community, which of course, is to meet the needs of society, will increase empowerment and expand their reach. [10]. Increasing social empowerment also leads to improving social resilience, through which society will become a social system. Social innovation can appear in all organizations and institutions of society and be successful in solving social problems creatively. Innovation, especially in times of crisis, requires not only collective intelligence to act effectively towards common goals, but also determination and effort to converge as quickly as possible on different ideas. [11]. This convergence can help adopt agile and effective value creation strategies, even in the current unprecedented pandemic. [12].

Awareness of the dangers of a crisis at the right time, provided prompt and effective action is taken, can be an excellent way to save the lives of those at risk. This awareness has become an important need for society in times of crisis, and therefore the role of social innovation in meeting this need will be very important. [10]. The share of social participation by creating a convergence of different ideas is essential for the formation of social innovations [11]. Because participation is seen as a social, general, global, multidimensional and multicultural process that aims to involve all people in playing a role at all stages of development. Therefore, macro-decision makers must look for a way to involve civil society and NGOs in times of crisis. In this regard, the best and most effective way to attract social participation is to use and organize voluntary forces and neighborhood-based NGOs. Because if NGOs are part of civil society, their activities and the relationships between them strengthen the power of civil society [13]. This neighborhood partnership should be designed to gain people’s trust. Objectives and activities should be designed and implemented by NGOs in a way that is acceptable and consistent with the culture and capacities of local people. Over the past few decades, NGOs have grown considerably. These organizations are voluntary groups of individuals or organizations that seek to provide public services, support public policies or build capacity for social reconstruction by being independent of governments. The main activities of NGOs are human concerns such as human rights, environmental protection, disaster relief and development assistance. These organizations provide technical information and expertise that most governments do not have access to. [14, 15]. Although most definitions consider NGOs to be non-governmental and operating in the private sector, much of their activity takes place between local, national and international governments. Through communication and membership, NGOs respond to the goals and aspirations of society and are the best agents for providing leadership for social reconstruction in the developing world. [16]. Thus, NGOs seek to peacefully influence public policy in various ways. However, the role of NGOs is not to confront those responsible for public affairs. They are also not an opposition force to the government but act as advisers to serve [17]. In practice, this social participation provides useful information to planners and also helps to identify the cause of challenges. [18]. In this way, it will be a tool to regulate behaviors and, therefore, the possibility of future planning of social processes by needs.

In the meantime, a scientific examination of the current situation can lead to new strategies on how to influence or facilitate government policy change. Given the points and concepts that have been raised, the importance of social innovation in a crisis is much more tangible and understandable. Especially a pandemic like COVID-19, which is causing a crisis all over the world. And, the fact that a tool or a pre-established formula to control such a crisis is not available. The purpose of this study is to identify the factors affecting the implementation of the social innovation plan based on collaboration between the government and NGOs in crises, particularly in the field of health. The importance of the issue derives from the fact that in a pandemic such as COVID-19, due to the scale, darkness and rapidity of the crisis, the responsible institutions alone cannot succeed in controlling the crisis without collaboration between the government and NGOs. . Collaboration between government and NGOs is the process of using the individual or collective capacities of stakeholders to achieve a collective goal. In this process, conscious behavior, collective desire, collective acceptance, choice and shared needs are essential. What is important in a successful collaboration process is the feeling of needing to solve a problem, recognizing this problem and feeling the need for group cooperation according to the amount of knowledge and abilities of individuals and their understanding of existing skills and facilities and their maximum use. A review of previous studies shows that very little attention has been given to social innovation in academic research [19], and this gap is most pronounced in the issue of social innovation based on collaboration between NGOs and government in times of crisis. The novelty of this study compared to previous [3, 20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32] is to design a social innovation plan based on the collaboration of NGOs and the government in crisis with a large national or global level. In this study, collaboration between government and NGOs is discussed in Iran, which is a developing country with a vast land area and population of over eighty million people and great cultural and ethnic diversity and which is under penalties under international law. reports. Additionally, crisis refers to the particular and unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. The main objective of this research is to identify the factors affecting the implementation of the social innovation plan based on the collaboration between the government and NGOs in a crisis situation. Considering that the results of this research can be used in macro policy and government planning in times of crisis and unrest in the health system, so the research is applied in terms of purpose, also because the strategy of grounded theory was used to extract factors, the research is qualitative in terms of method.

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