Technopreneurship amongst students is an important aspect in the modern society especially in relation to the provision of challenges that the society faces. As such, the ability of students to utilise their tehcnopreneurial capabilities to undertake innovations that provide solutions to the society has elicited great debate amongst scholars. However, there has been insufficient empirical evidence to support their arguments, hence necessitating the researcher to undertake this study. Accordingly, social innovation among students is a broad spectrum that this study seeks to explore. However, the study delves into exploring the significance of technopreneurship capabilities in influencing the social innovations in students. As such, the study explores what other scholars have identified in regard to this topic and financial, relational and technological capabilities as the main tehcnopreneurial capabilities that influence social innovations amongst students. Further, the study conducts a questionnaire, which was administered through snowball method to establish this objective from Chinese students studying in the UK whereby the three aspects of financial, relational and technological capabilities were identified to greatly influence social innovation in students. The analysis of data in this study was conducted through the statistical methods of frequency, descriptive and trend analysis through which technopreneurship capabilities emerged to strongly influence social innovation amongst students. Consequently, the study gave various recommendations regarding the ways in which the technopreneurship capabilities could be enhanced to positively influence the social innovations intentions amongst students.
Keywords: Technopreneurship, social innovations, Neuroticism, social legitimacy, collaboration and funding.
According to Walker (2012), technopreneurship is the practice linking technology to the practice of entrepreneurship whereby goods and services are transformed through the use of technology. Accordingly, an entrepreneur is a person who converts ideas into profitable business ventures, hence if such a person adopts the use of technology in the conversion, then they are referred to as technopreneur (Okorie et al., 2014). Notably, technopreneurs are argued to focus on doing things differently hence, their business models are highly innovative and revolutionary. For instance, the inventor of the Uber taxi business used technology in the form of a GPS enabled the application to revolutionalise the taxi business industry (Cramer & Krueger, 2016). In the modern world, the use of technology has been adopted in order to make work easier and more efficient in various industries such as manufacturing and transport. Moreover, with the proliferation of the internet into the world, faster processing of information has become achievable, hence easing communication, in turn easing the practice of management of enterprises by technopreneurs (Singhry, 2015). Consequently, the aspect of technopreneurship is shifting the way businesses have been conducted in the past with greater emphasis being made on technology-aided entrepreneurship. However, technopreneurship is expensive and one has to overcome various challenges including limited finances until the idea is acceptable and adoptable by the market (Koe et al. 2018). Similarly, tehcnopreneurial ides have greatly succeeded from teamwork, unlike the entrepreneurial ventures.
Social innovations, on the other hand, have spearheaded innovations in the modern world with many of the tehcnopreneurial ideologies emanating from social problems that encompass society. Arguably, the innovativeness in technopreneurs is driven by the need to provide solutions to the problems facing society (Supriyati et al., 2017). Accordingly, students have been recognised due to their abilities to innovate resulting from the resourcefulness of their learning institution and the inspiration from the society they reside in. Nevertheless, their innovations have fallen short of being able to address some of these problems faced by society. As such, their tehcnopreneurial capabilities are dismal and have had a small impact on society. According to Hoque et al. (2017), the ability of students, especially the younger students to innovate is higher than that of people in employment due to their lower level of responsibilities and higher availability of time to try and test things. On the other hand, the institutions of higher learning have provided modern facilities and ample resources that are capable of enabling their students to come up with revolutionary innovations (Harsono, 2013). Further, the majority of these institutions are differentiated, with most of them focusing on specific areas of knowledge and are well distributed across societies. Therefore, it is expectable that they produce revolutionary solutions to the problems that are affecting the society hence becoming impactful in the world, which is not the case.
There are several issues that are affecting society today that can be adequately solved through innovative ideas. For instance, Supriyati et al. (2017) posited that some problems inherent in the society such as poverty, unemployment, diseases and environmental issues can be adequately controlled and managed if more research and innovation is put into it. Accordingly, students are better placed to conduct such research hence providing technology solutions as well as generating income through profitable inventions. Further, Hoque et al. (2017) noted that students had a better understanding of the societal problems since they reside in those societies during their holidays hence could be the best technopreneurs. On the other hand, institutions of higher learning have strategically poised themselves as innovation hubs in society in modern days (Harsono, 2013). However, little impact has resulted from tehcnopreneurial activities engaged in by students despite the immense capabilities and those of the learning institutions that they are enrolled in. As a result of the disconnect, this study will strive to unravel the contradiction by analysing the influence of technopreneurship capabilities on social innovation amongst students.
1. To identify social innovations among students
2. To assess technopreneurship capabilities (such as technology capabilities, relational capabilities and financial capabilities) among students
3. To analyse the impact of technopreneurship capabilities on social innovations among students
4. To offer recommendations on how social innovations among students can be enhanced through technopreneurship capabilities
The previous chapter set the stage for the present study. It provided an introduction to the research topic with a clear illustration of the background theory towards the development of the study. Additionally, the rationale justifying the conduction of the study as well as the guiding research questions. The objective of this study is to analyse how technopreneurship capabilities influence social innovation among students. The current chapter explores past literature relevant to both the research objectives and questions. The chapter, therefore, provides an analysis, discussion, and criticism of findings obtained from past literature. To achieve this, the present chapter, partitioned into sections, provides an introduction by defining social innovation and social innovation intention, explores the most significant factors affecting social innovation among students, and analyses the influence technopreneurship; technological, relational, and financial capabilities have on social innovation among students.
Problems in society call for immediate application of available resources and innovative abilities to find the easiest yet suitable way of providing efficient solutions. The efforts taken by individuals, organisations, and governments to explore and initiate new solutions to social problems are defined as social innovation. Though there is a general contest on the best definition to social innovation, at least most of the used definitions agree that the benefits resulting from the application of the innovative strategies or methods should not be beneficial to the owners only, but the whole society. Besides, Tracey and Stott (2017) define social innovation as the generation and execution of new answers to social issues with their advantaged shared past the limits of the trend-setters. Therefore, social innovation focuses on the uniqueness of the ideas thus innovativeness. On the other hand, social innovation intention is the willingness of an individual to make use of their innovative abilities to provide such solutions for social problems. An individual’s abilities to be innovative is limited by their skills as well as the nature of resources at their disposal (Bahrein et al., 2018). Similarly, social innovation is influenced by various factors. The following sections explore and analyses such factors that significantly influence social innovation among students.
Social innovation, as does social entrepreneurship is a significant tool that prepares learners with skills substantial towards their fitting in the job market (Bahrein et al., 2018). Social innovation provides students with opportunities to serve their communities, which is an imperative opportunity for those with the passion and desire of improving the lives of people. However, a number of significant factors influence students’ willingness and engagement in innovative practices to provide solutions to social problems. Stamboulis and Barlas (2014) argue that the environment surrounding student social innovation is different from the other group of individuals due to the uniqueness of their operational domain. Consequently, some of the factors influencing their engagement in social innovation may be different to what could be significant with other groups of people.
Liu et al., (2017) cites personal willingness as one of the most significant factors that influence social innovation among students. According to the obtained findings, an individual’s social innovation intention to impact change in the society by contributing towards the provision of solutions to social problems strongly relates to their involvement in social innovation practices. Additionally, according to the theory of planned behaviour, an individual’s engagement in a particular activity is solely by their intention influenced by their attitude towards the activity, subjective norms, and perceived control of the activity (Bahrein et al., 2018). In this perspective, students weigh on how their engagement would have an impact on the intended outcome as well as their self-confidence towards achieving the intended solution for a particular social issue. Lack of confidence in oneself as well as the knowledge of subjective norms governing the provision of solutions to social issues limits the ability of students to generate effective ideas for implementation.
Students’ economic status has a significant impact on their ability to participate or contribute to social innovation. According to Alonso‐Martínez, González‐Álvarez, and Nieto (2019), social innovation requires resources like any other endeavour. The inability of a student to access the required resources alters their desire to engage in social innovative practices and to implement ideas that are possible solutions to existing social issues. Implementation of ideas meant to offer solutions to social issues require financial resources which is a limiting factor among the highest percentage of students (Castaño, Méndez, and Galindo, 2015). Nevertheless, the status of their economic background is a significant factor enhances their ability to engage in social innovation.
Social and cultural beliefs are significant constraints to the solutions students can offer to social problems. According to Castaño, Méndez, and Galindo (2015), different societies have cultural norms and beliefs which hinders the implementation of social innovation ideas that are contradicting. Such limitations lower the motivation of students towards engagement in social innovation practices as well as the provision of solutions to social problems at large. On the other hand, students’ areas of specialization influence their social innovation intentions. According to a study by Bayarçelik, Taşel, and Apak (2014), classroom knowledge obtained by students has varying influence on igniting social innovation. Depending on students’ respective areas of specialisation, their knowledge of social problems and social innovation intentions varies significantly.
The popularity and continued incorporation of technology in day-to-day activities necessitate its consideration in the development of solutions to social problems (Cajaiba-Santana, 2014). With the current trend in the application of technology in conduction of business and the reshaping of the socioeconomic and political structure in the society, it turns out a significant channel of providing solutions to social problems. According to Morrar, Arman, and Mousa (2017), use of technology in generation and implementation of social innovation ideas enhances easy accessibility to information, ability to enhance, adopt new ideas and the improvement of social value. Incorporation of technology in social innovation enhances the application of digital literacy features as well as the easier forecast of future dynamics thus ensuring the idea to implement will be efficient in solution provision over an extended period.
Students’ knowledge of the latest technologies impacts their ability to apply technology in social innovation. In the case of students, their understanding of technology highly depends on their exposure to technology and more significantly in their areas of study at school (Dahnil et al., 2014). Students with substantial knowledge of technology and IT find it easier applying technology in their social innovation projects. Otherwise, the ability of an innovator to hire experienced IT experts have a significant impact on ensuring social innovation projects are at par with societal technology advancements. Nevertheless, the ability of a second party to fully understand one’s project and incorporate their ideas is never absolute (Cajaiba-Santana, 2014). Consequently, innovators with IT knowledge are able to incorporate technological features in their projects better than those hiring IT experts.
Technology enhances the decentralization of information as well as the improvement of existing social networks within a community (Morrar, Arman, and Mousa, 2017). In a community where existing structures enhance the sharing of information, there is increased potential towards strong interpersonal relationships and success of community initiatives. Achievement of information decentralisation through the use of technology in social innovation highly enhances information sharing through the development of strong relational networks (Cajaiba-Santana, 2014). Recognition of existing structures as a foundation in the development of decentralisation models is significant towards innovation project success.
Concern on the variation in social innovation effectiveness has resulted in studies on the variation in project success between innovators with sufficient IT knowledge and those hiring IT experts. Studies conducted in such a quest indicate high success rate on social innovators with technological knowledge (Oganisjana and Surikova, 2015). However, the results were only valid when the two groups consisted of persons with equal IT knowledge. Hiring IT experts with more knowledge on technology use and incorporation in social innovation than an innovator recorded high success rate with the former (Cajaiba-Santana, 2014).
Irrespective of technological knowledge source used in a social innovation project, the use of most updated and relevant technology is more imperative (Dahnil et al., 2014). Application of outdated technology limits the lifetime relevance of a social innovation project. On the other hand, the application of irrelevant technology affects the effectiveness of the project in meeting set objectives (Morrar, Arman, and Mousa, 2017). Since technological advancement is a continuous process, the ability of an innovator’s project to create for technological dynamic tolerance enhances its lifetime in relation to the emergence of new technologies. However, the achievement of such technological allowances and provisions requires significant investment in both resources and knowledge, which necessitate good relational abilities with other technology experts (Oganisjana and Surikova, 2015). Additionally, such relations are paramount with significant social structure custodians for enhancing project feasibility.
The growth and development of social innovation intention are impeded by several factors and some include; limited finances, limited skills and support structures and poorly developed intermediaries, networks and relations (Ahlin, Drnovšek and Hisrich, 2016). Current shifts in the ‘state’ philosophy and the rising emphasis on the ‘Big Society’ theory have greatly affected emerging innovations and intents to ease current and forthcoming societal issues (İrengün and Arıkboğa, 2015). The question of how social relations and relational capabilities affect the process of social innovation and intent continues to remain largely unexplored.
Social networks and relations are crucial to innovators as they provide valuable and resourceful information, financial support, work source and personal support. In the present-day business environment, the value and significance of social networks and relations have become more evident as they provide innovators with access to the inaccessible aspects of society (Phillips, Alexander and Lee, 2017). When communications channels between society and social innovators is an open one, the level of trust between them increases, vulnerabilities are slowly revealed, social needs are also easily and openly stated and new resolutions communally determined. The social innovators collaborating and conjoining their minds and resources with other entrepreneurs in their environment will drastically accelerate the amount of information, which will, in turn, enhance their reputation in their society and contribute to their individual organizations and others involved in their innovative campaign (Rajapathirana and Hui, 2018).
Another factor of relational capability that greatly influences social innovation intention is a personality (Vodă and Florea, 2019). Personality is a scientific concept that several disciplines are presently evaluating. This is because it greatly affects numerous aspects of human communication and relationships. According to Tiago (2015) personality is defined as the consistent behavioural patterns and interpersonal processes that are inherent to an individual. Gordon Allport also defines personality as the dynamic organization inherent in each individual that possess psychological systems that determine their original patterns whilst adapting to their environment.
Neuroticism is a factor that reveals an Individual’s balance in regards to their emotions. There are several negative emotions that individual experiences, some include; anxiety, anger and sadness (Tiago et al., 2015). Studies reveal that persons that constantly feel these emotions are prone to experience constant emotional wings, lack of self-confidence and are also likely to suffer from clinical depression (Vyvyan, Blue and Brimble, 2015). Social innovation in its nature aims to resolve society’s problems. Through the innovation process just like all other entrepreneurship processes, the pressure of creating effective communication channels and relations are trivial.
Social innovators are expected by society to be less neurotic while expressing similar pressures experienced in the business world. Therefore, personality plays a major role in ensuring the relational capabilities of an innovator (Vyvyan, Blue and Brimble, 2015). Extroverts are positive, warm and sociable in their relationships while introverts lack these traits and might come out rude and antisocial, they are timid and not cold, they are cautious and lazy, independent and not observers (İrengün and Arıkboğa, 2015). Also, extroverts are deemed as dominative due to their constant positive approach to situations. In order to succeed in innovation, there is a need to have an understanding of people and their personalities to ensure success.
Civic and public engagement activities are a critical tool in building trust in social capital, public institutions and social cohesion are societies. Also, by creating legitimacy, a door to a strong relationship with the public opens (Vyvyan, Blue and Brimble, 2015). Public involvement in decision-making processes also ensures societal problems are addressed by their own people, who have first-hand information on their problems and needs. These assumed factors are widely believed and the lack of involving citizens or the society might render the project illegitimate. Innovators need to develop relations with their societies before, during and after they develop their innovations (Ahlin, Drnovšek and Hisrich, 2016).
The promise of social innovation impacts that are made with intentions of generating measurable environmental and social outcomes with an additional financial return is appealing to advocates, governments and innovators across the globe (Sullivan et al., 2019). Innovation for social development has slowly become a field that is rapidly developing across the globe with new methods and institutions mounting evidence of impact and confidence (Berridge et al., 2014). Social innovators have altered the way governments function, business actions and how civil society achieves impact.
All across the globe millions of innovators are developing new and improved systems to tackle social challenges experienced by their societies and some include; chronic diseases, climate change, material poverty, water shortages, social exclusion and healthcare (Vodă and Florea, 2019). Often these ideas only come to life when these innovators find investors or collaborations from private and public sectors, households, civil societies and in rare cases by their governments (Vyvyan, Blue and Brimble, 2015). In the coming years, innovators are hoping that the ability to manage, support and grow these innovations will become a core capability within NGO’s, foundations and governments.
The innovation field is a combination of both energy and experience. However, it lacks an effective, sophisticated and systematic infrastructure that will support innovations from different fields more specifically in its ability to access adequate funding and finances. The result is that, all across the globe, there is no shortage of fabulous ideas, however far too few innovations actually meet their full potentials and exposure due to financial in-capabilities (Alonso-Martinez, Gonzalez-Alvarez and Nieto, 2017). Despite the global challenge of funding for innovators, there are certain steps or field that innovators can follow to maximize on the available funding (Vodă and Florea, 2019). First, innovation should foster economic growth. Some of the most significant sectors will include; education, health, childcare and environmentally related innovations. With proper innovations in these fields, the country will always be ahead and they will always be a priority to governments all over the globe as well.
Secondly, these new innovations in order to meet financial capabilities need to have higher public service productivity (Sullivan et al., 2019). With several nations in the world facing fiscal challenges, for investors and governments, the priority is much greater to achieve improved value for their money in the public sector (Vyvyan, Blue and Brimble, 2015). Moreover, in the private sector, the greater majority of their productivity originates from innovations and the same is expected of innovations in the public sector.
Finally, new innovations should be able to handle major challenges and shifts in society. The current state of the nation is dependent on changing or altering several societal changes, the country is facing (Sullivan et al., 2019). Some include; the reduction of carbon emissions, improved or green housings and systems to improve the healthcare sector. For starters, innovators should focus on market target areas, areas that governments have failed on and for the greatest potential for innovators is with globally recognized organizations such as the UN, WHO and UNICEF. These challenges cut across countries, sectors and organization (Vodă and Florea, 2019). They all require new effective approaches that are often a combination of technology and new or improved models of behaviour and social organisation.
It is also vital to acknowledge that social innovations should not only involve only one partner but should be a collaboration of partners from several different sectors, hence breaking all barriers (Alonso-Martinez, Gonzalez-Alvarez and Nieto, 2017). This is because focusing on field boundaries prevents any form of future collaborations for occurring. Also, making funds only available for the public sector or divulging a separate market for social enterprises, commercial business and charities exclusively would be a mistake that would hinder full-blown innovation (Berridge et al., 2014).
Social innovation and social innovation intentions have been both expressed as a multidimensional product in the present chapter. The nature of factors contributing to their maximal achievement ranges from personal, societal, technological, and financial. Precisely, the effect of such factors varies in the case of students’ quest for social innovation and their intentions to engage in social innovation. The present literature review set to analyse the most significant factors that influence social innovation and social innovation intentions among students. Additionally, guided by the developed research objectives, the relevant literature on the influence relational, technological, and financial capabilities have on social innovation.
Financial capabilities of social innovation project owners impact the nature of resources to be used both in the development and implementation processes. Consequently, the success of the project in efficiently providing solutions to the particular social issue is significantly influenced. The analysed literature cited the use of partnerships and external funding as a possible breakthrough to financial constrains in social innovation. With sufficient funding, there is an increased guarantee of success in social innovation. On the other hand, how the innovator’s relationship with significant stakeholders as well as how the proposed project affects such relationships in the society are key determinants to social innovation success.
Moreover, the application of
technology in social innovation was reported as an imperative demand for the achievement
of efficient and long-term solutions to social problems. Lack of sufficient
technological knowledge by innovators limits their ability to incorporate
technological features in their projects. However, the ability of innovators to
recruit IT experts contributes to the achievement of comparable results.
In this chapter of this study, the researcher will analyse the methods that have been used to collect data from the study subjects who are Chinese university students studying in the UK. Accordingly, the researcher will strive to use methods that enable the collection of credible and reliable data to satisfy fully the objectives of the research. Accordingly, the researcher will firstly highlight the philosophy then the approach that was used in the entire data collection process. Subsequently, the researcher distinguishes why this research will be based on the qualitative context as opposed to the quantitative one and gives the basis of the adoption of the qualitative context. Further, the researcher will analyse the choice of the research instrument, which in this case are the questionnaires. Additionally, the process of collecting the data is explored into detail followed by a highlight of the data analysis process. Finally, the research ethics observed in the study are highlighted followed by a conclusion that points out the key points in the chapter.
Research philosophy can be defined as the researcher’s perception of how data can in their research be gathered and analysed (Sekaran and Bougie, 2016). Accordingly, there are three mainly used research philosophies namely the interpretivist, positivist and the realist research philosophies (Graue, 2015). Notably, positivist philosophy is usable in quantitative researches since they enable the researcher to adopt the quantitative methods in their pieces of research hence this study will adopt this philosophy. The interpretivist and realist philosophy could not be used because interpretivist philosophy is concerned with pieces of research that aims at studying human subjects and their interaction and is concerned with qualitative studies while realism is concerned with naturally occurring subjects of which their existence is independent of perception and thinking of humans (Padilla-Díaz, 2015).
According to Teherani et al (2015), there are two mainly used approaches to research namely the inductive and the deductive approaches. As such, the deductive approach is characterised by the comparison of the data collected in a particular study to an already existent theory with an aim of proofing whether or not the research phenomenon conforms to that particular theory. On the other hand, the inductive approach is interested in using the data collected in particular research to form conclusions, which can be used to make inferences hence develop new theories (Sekaran & Bougie, 2016). Consequently, because this research aims to prove whether or not the technopreneurship capabilities such as technology capabilities, relational capabilities and financial capabilities influence social innovations among students, the most suitable approach to adopt is the deductive approach. The reason why the inductive approach could not be used is that the researcher aims at using the data collected by this study to form a conclusion and if need be, formulate a theory which can only be accommodated by the deductive approach.
According to Quinlan et al. (2019), a qualitative study entails exploring the ideas, thoughts and opinions of people as well as other socially occurring phenomena to unravel a trend within them, which would be significant in making a conclusion. In this respect, a qualitative study is aimed at independently coming up with its own independent inference that can be used to construct a theory. On the other hand, a quantitative study applies the study of numbers as well as statistical data with an aim of undertaking statistical analysis to unravel the impact of one variable on the other (Brannen, 2017). Therefore, because this study aims to analyse the impact of technopreneurship capabilities on social innovations among students, quantitative research methods are well suited to realise the research aim.
According to Mohamad et al. (2015), a research instrument is a tool that is applied by researchers to enable them to perform the data collection exercise from the intended subjects. Notably, several research instruments can be used in collecting data by researchers with the most common ones being the focus groups, questionnaire, interviews, case studies and observations (Hagan, 2014). Further, the selection of the instrument to use to collect data is dependent on the type of study being conducted. Therefore, since this study is quantitative in nature, the researcher chose to use the questionnaire method. The selection of this instrument is as a result of its ability to collect data over a large sample that may be geographically dispersed, easily and cost-effectively, which is the case with this research (Creswell & Creswell, 2017). Additionally, the use of questionnaire instruments was preferred because its data is easily downloadable to data analysis software that the researcher intended to use. Other instruments of data collection could not be used in this study because either they would be more expensive to implement or would not be able to collect quantitative data that is required in this research.
The process of data collection was conducted from the Chinese students studying in the UK through the questionnaire method. To access these students, the researcher used snowballing sampling technique. According to Sekaran and Bougie (2016), snowballing technique is where a researcher utilises the readily available research participants to nominate more participants in order to reach the target sample. Through this technique, the researcher contacted the Chinese friends studying in UK universities to nominate their friends who would then nominate their other friends until the sample requirement was satisfied. Accordingly, the researcher aimed at issuing 150 questionnaires from which the expected return rate was about 70 per cent meaning that out of the 150 questionnaires issued, the researcher expected to receive about 105 complete and well-filed questionnaires. The researcher felt this was achievable because, through the snowballing technique, there was a very high probability of the number of people being contacted to surpass the requirement. The questionnaires were designed in a straightforward manner and were easy to answer meaning that they would not consume much of the respondents’ time. The researcher scheduled the return time of the questionnaires at two weeks from the date that they were sent to the respondents to allow them ample time to attend to them and send them back to the researcher.
Accordingly, the process of data analysis was conducted statistically through frequency, descriptive and trend analysis. Firstly, frequency analysis was used to analyse the warm-up and the demographic data questions while the descriptive analysis was used to describe the independent and dependent variables while trend analysis was adopted to establish a relationship between the two variables. As such, the use of this method was because of its ability to analyse online-based questionnaires data by the use of a range of statistical tests such as the regression analysis, chi-square tests and the t-tests (Mihas, 2019). From the results of this analysis, the researcher will use the results to make inferences as to establish the influence of technopreneurship capabilities on social innovation amongst students.
Accordingly, any piece of research is guided by research ethics in order to avoid unethical practices such as infringing people’s rights and freedoms (Battiste, 2016). As such, this research was bound by those guidelines and adhered to them in the following ways. Firstly, the researcher had to ask for permission from the friends used in the snowballing method of data collection to allow and refer the research team to their other friends. Secondly, the researcher explained to the respondents of the questionnaire what the research entailed and disclosed to them that the choice to participate was entirely on their free will. Further, the researcher assured the respondents that their personal data will not be captured anywhere in their responses and that their identity will be anonymised. On the other hand, the researcher avoided printing out the returned questionnaires but stored in the research password-protected the laptop. Finally, the researcher also gave credit through proper referencing to all the secondary data sources that were used in the process of verifying the information from the primary research. This was in a bid to avoid copywriting and plagiarism unethical practices.
In this chapter, all the major processes that the researcher undertook to collect the data required for the study have been explained. As such, the chapter has identified the deductive as the research approach method used in this research. Accordingly, the research is of a quantitative nature hence all the methods adopted are adherent to this nature. Further, the research adopted the questionnaire data collection tool due to its ability to collect data over a geographically dispersed sample as well as the ease of data analysis from the questionnaires. Further, the chapter identified that the research will collect data from the Chinese students in UK universities who the researcher will access through the help of their friends by the use of the snowballing technique. The analysis of the data was done statistically frequency, descriptive and frequency analysis and various research ethics such as referencing, confidentiality and disclosure were adhered to in this study.
In this chapter, the researcher will analyse the questionnaire data using the statistical methods to establish the influence of technopreneurship capabilities on social innovation among students. Firstly, the researcher will analyse the demographic information gathered from the respondents of the questionnaire, which will be subsequently followed by a discussion of the findings on the same. Secondly, the study will analyse the warm-up questions in the questionnaires followed by the discussion of the findings acknowledged. Thirdly, the chapter will embark on the analysis of the descriptive statistical data in the questionnaire followed by a highlight of the main findings from the analysis. Finally, a trend analysis will be undertaken and a discussion on the key findings made followed by a summary of the entire chapter in the conclusion section.
Table 4.1: Demographic information
From the data collected, it is notable that the number of male participants in this study was higher at 52.63% than the number of female students at 47.87%. This research relates this to the neuroticism that is prevalent in female gender than in the male gender hence making the male students more willing to cope with the pressure of societal innovation. Further, the analysis of the ages indicates that the highest number of respondents is aged between 24 years and 29 years forming a percentage of 25.26 of the total number of students that participated. On the other hand, the older age group of over 41 years was least represented with only 12.63% of the entire participants coming from this age group. Accordingly, this implies that younger people are readily willing to spend their time trying to solve societal problems through technology because they are energetic and experimental. Additionally, demographic data stipulated that out of the seven categories included in the questionnaire, management, engineering and sciences student came out as the most willing to undertake social innovations at 18.94%,14.74 and 16.84% respectively. This can be attributable to the nature of their study areas that requires them to believe in their abilities in order to succeed in what they do. On the other hand, the highest number of respondents to the questionnaire were university graduates at 32.63% while that of the college students followed at 28.42%. Accordingly, this research attributes it to the higher requirement of knowledge in social innovation that matches the ability of university and college students to articulate innovation ideas.
Figure 4-2 the nationality of the participants.
The data collected indicated that 100 percent of the participants of the questionnaire were Chinese students studying in the UK. As such, despite this being one of the requirements of the questionnaire, it is indicative of the ease of getting Chinese students that are studying in the UK. This is aligned to argument according to UKCISA (2019), who stipulated that the number of Chinese students studying in foreign universities has gone up significantly especially since the nation started globalising.
In the question 2, respondents were asked to explain social innovation. Accordingly, 40 respondents noted that social innovation is the use of the available resources in the society to establish solutions to the challenges that are affecting the people in that society. Additionally, 30 more respondents noted that social innovation can be considered as the establishment by the public as well as the private sector that are geared towards enabling the society dwellers to establish better ways of dealing with problems that engross them. The remaining 25 respondents posited that social innovation is technological solutions focused on solving problems. According to these responses, this study establishes that the aspect of social innovation emanates from various sources but is geared towards establishing a solution to the outstanding challenges in the society.
Question 3 asked about social innovation that respondents would like to come up with in the future. Accordingly, 27 respondents indicated that they would like to innovate a social media solution that would compel users towards a tree planting drive that would be target driven. As well, 45 respondents indicated that they would want to innovate a networking solution that will be geared to ensuring that the users are able to share their health experiences and in turn help the needy within the solution membership. As such, the remaining 5 respondents indicated that much of their focus was on establishing a system that would monitor in real-time leaks in the pipes that provide water to the households to ensure that any pipes that have burst are repaired promptly hence minimising water loss and in turn ensuring sufficiency of the commodity. On the other hand, 15 respondents indicated that they would innovate around the ability to loan the application members quick, collateral and interest free loans. However, three students indicated they were not keen on an innovation project.
According to the above responses, it can be concluded that social innovators are guided by the problems that the society faces on a daily basis in their innovations. Accordingly, from such innovations, they address the societal problems and are able to earn recognition in such societies hence being able to recoup their investments into their innovation (Tracey and Stott (2017).
Figure 4-3 ownership of social innovations
Basing on the information tabulated in the frequency graph above, it is evident that the social innovation by students that were inspired by an existing solution ranks highly with 31 students identifying with that category. On the other hand, the lowest category representing 16 students out of the 95 contacted indicated that their innovations were generated from their original ideas. On the other hand, 25 students out of the 95 contacted indicated that they had changed the original idea to come up with their innovations. As such, this is a clear indication that innovative ideas are highly inspired by the environment as well as the people around us as stipulated by empirical evidence according to (Bayarçelik, Taşel, and Apak, 2014).
Figure 4-4 important challenges being addressed by social innovation by respondents
Notably, the most common challenges that the students sought to address with their innovations in their order of importance included environmental sustainability, supporting and encouraging entrepreneurship, poverty, education and social exclusion, improvement of services and infrastructure and employment respectively. Accordingly, the highest-ranking social innovation was established to be environmental sustainability, which had 35.79 percent of the total innovations by the students contacted. Furthermore, supporting and encouraging entrepreneurship ranked as the second most important challenge that the innovations by the students contacted sought to address with an 18.95 percentage overall. As well, poverty and social exclusion also ranked highly at 14.74 percent to be the fourth challenge that their innovations sought to address. However, the employment challenge was ranked lowly by the number of innovations seeking to address making it the least challenge they sought to address at a percentage of 6.32 percent. This is resounding to the evidence of Castaño, Méndez, and Galindo (2015) who postulated the significance of solutions aimed at resolving environmental sustainability, entrepreneurship and poverty challenges in the society today hence the need for more solutions towards resolving them.
Figure 4-5 The scale of the participant’s innovations
Accordingly, from the data collected it is evident that the highest number of social innovations, which were from 29 students, were ranking internationally while 24 students postulated that their innovations were still scaling locally. Furthermore, there were 21 students whose innovations had gone regional as well as 21 others whose innovations were on a national scale. Notably, a high number of international, local, regional and national scaling can be attributed to the ability of these innovations to focus on the most societal problems hence being considered to be of higher significance to the society. In line, Stamboulis and Barlas (2014) argued that the more a solution focuses on the current societal problems, the higher its chances of ranking highly.
Figure 4-6 important practices for the students’ social innovations.
Accordingly, the frequency analysis done identified that 29.47 percent of the students contacted viewed networking as an integral practice of their innovation while social media practice was important to 22.11 percent of the students’ innovation. This is due to the benefits of networking in mobilising and transferring knowledge, which in turn can help to disseminate social innovations and sustainable change. Notably, a significant 6.32 percent of students postulated that other practices, different from the main ones assessed were significant to their social innovations. Accordingly, this evidence is aligned to the sentiments of Morrar, Arman, and Mousa (2017) who said that in line with the technological development in the world, more innovations are shifting towards technological enablers such as the internet and networking to reach a wider scope hence have a greater impact.
Figure 4-7 descriptive analysis for social innovations amongst students
Evidently, the highest mean of 3.7053 in the item ‘new platforms lead to social innovations such as platforms for care or new legal framework’ is an indicator that students are more likely to innovate social solutions because of new platforms being introduced. Similarly, the second-highest mean of 3.5368 in the item ‘social innovations are mainly new businesses models such as just in time models or social franchising applied to solve social challenges’, is an indication that the emergence of new business models is also appealing to innovators almost as good as the new platforms. According to these variables, this research argues that innovators intentions to innovate are focused on the ability of their innovations to relate to new ideas in the market that can benefit the type of innovations that the students are interested in. Similarly, innovations in students are inspired by the societal challenges as well as already emergent solutions to the challenges being experienced in the society. This is advantageous to the progression of innovation in the society hence should be encouraged through factors such as policies through the central government to enhance such incremental innovations. However, the lowest mean of 3.0632 on item ‘social innovations is about new processes such as crowdsourcing and peer-to-peer collaboration’ indicate the low level of stimulation of the students innovation capabilities as a result of the development in the society rather confirming the earlier conclusion that challenges are a bigger motivator than the developments.
As such, Cajaiba-Santana (2014) postulated that innovations into societal challenges are majorly inspired by the platforms that are available in society. Accordingly, the new societal platforms are usually associated with funding from various sources, which have endeared innovators to innovate. According to Vodă and Florea (2019), new initiatives targeted at solving challenges facing the society such as diseases, environmental degradation, and poor living conditions are allocated for funds by stakeholders such as the government and NGOs. Notably, finances have been an impediment to various innovators hence the possibility of receiving funding is generally a motivator to students’ social innovations. According to Sullivan et al. (2019), the ability to generate a financial return is appealing to innovators globally as various innovations are not able to realise their full potential due to lack of finances.
Figure 4-8 descriptive analysis of technology capabilities on social innovations
The highest mean of 3.6000 on the item, ‘IT expertise will play an important role to complete the job in my social innovation’ is an evident indication that the student’s knowledge and expertise in IT are critical to their ability to complete their social innovations. Similarly, the second-highest mean of 3.4316 on the item ‘my technological know-how is important to accomplish social innovation commitments’ shows the ability of the students to innovate is pegged on their vast general knowledge in technology. However, the lowest mean of 3.1263 on the item ‘my social innovations are enhanced by knowledge in new software package’ indicates that specific knowledge in IT is not highly motivational as the general knowledge in IT.
Accordingly, various innovators have postulated similar sentiments by noting that it is very difficult to actualise an idea through technology when the required technological knowledge is missing hence resulting into involving hired experts who might not be able to place the idea into context, as it ought to have been (Oganisjana and Surikova, 2015). Arguably, students with IT knowledge are able and find it easier to incorporate technology into their ideas making them brilliant and innovative. Accordingly, similar opinion was noted by Cajaiba-Santana (2014) by saying that the idea of one party cannot be conceptualised in another party’s mind as good as it was in the original party’s mind.
Figure 4-9 descriptive analysis of relational capabilities on social innovations
Notably, as indicated by the highest mean of 3.8526 on the item ‘trust among partners in my social innovation will lead to its enhanced growth’ it is evident that trust amongst partners is key in enhancing growth and success of social innovations. Similarly, from the second-highest mean of 3.7895 on the item, ‘my personal relationships with others have been/will be the key to realising success in the social innovation’ confirms that positive interpersonal relationships between the innovator and others are key in achieving success in innovation. As well, the lowest mean of 3.4737 on the item ‘maintaining effective interchange of ideas and experiences with partners will help to grow my social innovation’ is indicative of the low regard that innovators hold on sharing of ideas and experiences as opposed to real relationships.
Social networks and positive relationships are vital to innovators as they provide them with the valuable information they require as well as financial and personal support. On the other hand, a low level of interrelationships with the community leaves innovators vulnerable to failed innovations and little support from society. Therefore, students should be encouraged to establish meaningful relationships in and out of school in order to enhance their innovative capabilities. Moreover, there have been malicious technologies that have been detrimental to the societies hence generating trust problems between innovators and the society (Vyvyan, Blue, and Brimble, 2015). Therefore, the engagement of the society in the development of the innovative solutions focused to resolve challenges occurring in these societies builds trusts relationships that foster acceptance and subsequent growth of such innovations.
Figure 4-10 descriptive analysis of financial capabilities on social innovations
Accordingly, the highest mean of 3.6316 on item ‘I use /will use financial information to plan ahead in my social innovation’ stipulates the ability to plan financially during innovations is critical for the success of such innovations. Further, the second-highest mean of 3.4526 on the item ‘the ability to access and assess formal financing options and sources is important towards the goals of my social innovation’ is a confirmation of how important the aspect of financial capability is in social innovations. As well, these two dimensions highlight the importance of innovators being able to access financial backup as well as being able to use the information available to them to put in place measures for their future innovations. However, the lowest mean of 3.1900 on item ‘the know how to collaborate and seek advice from financing sources has enhanced growth in my social innovation’ is an indication of the low impact of collaboration between financial sources and innovators.
According to Sullivan et al. (2019), financial planning knowledge is critical due to the constant changes in the society that are disruptive, which may render the innovation redundant. Further, financial information is important in knowing the trends in the society hence establishing the profitable venture to innovate into. This is attributable to the fact that the expectations of the society from new innovations are that they will be able to provide higher productivity especially aimed at improving fiscal challenges hence spurring economic growth Vyvyan, Blue, and Brimble (2015). On the other hand, innovators who have adopted financial planning are able to maximise the available funds through certain measures hence translating to success in their innovations (Vodă and Florea, 2019).
Figure 4-11 descriptive analysis of Social innovation intentions among students
The highest mean of 3.4526 on item ‘I will make every effort to run and accomplish my social innovation initiatives indicates that innovators are self-driven people and are motivated intrinsically to achieve their goals, therefore, are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure they achieve success. Additionally, the second-highest mean of 3.4421 on items ‘my goal is to realise success in my social innovation thanks to my capabilities’ and also on item ‘I will keep my social innovation working using the capabilities that I possess’ are also indications of the motivation levels in students to achieve their goals in innovation. Accordingly, these items depict the inner drive within the students to actualise their social innovations through their capabilities. As well, the items indicate that the students are not motivated by the external factors, as they may not be available to motivate them. However, the lowest mean of 3.4105 on the item ‘I am ready to explore the potential of my social innovation’ confirms the motivation of the students in innovating is not subject to the capabilities of their innovations but their intrinsic capabilities.
Accordingly, the innovators’ intentions are about completing their innovations through any means necessary without regard to the limitations emanating from their abilities or from the factors in their surroundings. As such, they amalgamate the available resources to their innovative capabilities to establish the most suitable solutions to the existent societal problems. This is opinionated by empirical evidence according to Tracey and Stott (2017) who postulated that innovators are interested in providing the most practical solution to the challenges that affect the society.
Figure 4-12 Trend analysis between technology capability and social innovation intentions among students
According to the figure 4-12 above, the relationship between technology capability and the social innovation intention is positive and linearly correlated as noted in the figure where the scatter points are evenly distributed on either side of the trend line. This is represented as social innovation intentions=0.6122*technology capability +1.3764.
Precisely, the trend analysis /indicates a positive and linear correlation between technology capability and the social innovation intentions denoted by a correlation index of 61.22%. Notably, this is an indication of a strong relationship between the two factors. As such, this data is a suggestion that social innovations intentions are highly influenced by technology capabilities among students in their innovation quest. It can be concluded that the reason for this strong relationship is because students are highly motivated by their capabilities in innovation because, through these capabilities, they are able to articulate their ideas to the societal challenges hence designing a sufficient solution to the challenge. Such findings are supported by an argument by Liu et al. (2017) that the capability of an innovator technologically is significant in their quest to provide solutions to the prevailing societal problems. Therefore, it is important to equip the students with general technological knowledge especially in modern society where technology has become a major driving factor. As such, the learning institutions can devise a curriculum that will enhance technology acquisition by students through efforts such as introducing more technologically focused common lessons.
4-13 Trend analysis between relational capability and social innovation among students
According to figure 4-13, the relationship between relational capability and social innovation among students is both positive and linearly correlated as depicted by the illustration of the scatter points being evenly distributed on both sides of the trend line. As such, this can be denoted as social innovation =0.4782*relational capability+1.6752.
Arguably, the results indicate that the relationship between social innovations and the relational capabilities of innovators is positive and linearly correlated with an index of 47.82%. Notably, this is an indication of a moderate relationship meaning that if the innovators are not capable of relating well, then their social innovations could be negatively affected. As such, the society is the target of social innovation hence the innovators should be able to establish a relationship with the society in order to achieve their goal of developing society focused innovations failure to which their innovations may fail to address real challenges facing the society. This is in line with Ahlin, Drnovšek and Hisrich (2016), who noted that social networks and relations are significant factors for innovators as they provide information that is resourceful to the innovators as well as enable them to establish trust relationships with the society members hence legitimising their innovations. As such, the government and learning institutions should create forums where innovators can interact with the society members and pitch their ideas to test their capabilities to solve the identified challenges.
Figure 4-14 Trend analysis between financial capability and social innovation intentions among students.
Figure 4-14 indicates the relationship between financial capability and social innovation intentions as positively and linearly correlated with the scatter point on the figure evenly distributed on both sides of the trend line. Accordingly, this relationship is represented as; social innovation intentions=0.5203*financial capability+1.6696.
As such, the indication of this trend analysis is that the influence of financial capability on the social innovations intentions of student innovators is both positive and linearly correlated with a correlation index of 52.03%. This is a medium relationship indicating that the financial capability of the innovators directly influences their social innovation intentions. This is suggestive that when innovators lack financial capability, they cannot actualise and sustain their innovations. Empirical evidence postulated by Berridge et al. (2014) supports this statement by suggesting that despite innovation being highly reliant on experience and energy of the innovator, much support is required from the funding perspective to actualise the innovative ideas. Therefore, the learning institutions should lobby for funding aimed at assisting the student innovators to continue with their innovations to completion. This can be achieved by searching for donors and lobbying the national governments to intervene.
In summary, the frequency analysis conducted in this
chapter identified a higher number of male participants compared to the female
participants. The study also identified the youthful students as being more
techno-savvy and willing to experiment than their older colleagues. Further,
the chapter identified the university students as the most likely students to
innovate owing to their higher knowledge and exposure. On the other hand,
sciences, engineering, and management, as well as university and college
grandaunts, were noted to rank highly on the number of innovators per
background. Meanwhile, most students were likely to innovate if a new platform
is set up indicating that they are motivated to innovate by the foreseeable
rewards. Additionally, the IT expertise was established as a significant factor
in eliciting innovativeness in students while trust amongst social partners is
crucial in enhancing innovations growth. Moreover, financial knowledge is vital
as it enables innovators to establish setbacks and plan for them adequately.
Notably, innovators are motivated by their quest to solve problems and will not
relent until they achieve their objective. Accordingly, trend analysis
indicated a positive correlation
between financial, relational, and technological capabilities and social
innovation intention among students.
In this chapter, the conclusions to the findings of the study objectives are discussed followed by the recommendations thereafter. As such, the chapter starts by identifying the social innovations amongst students then proceeds to answer questions based on the key findings concerning the assessment of technopreneurship capabilities among students. Further, it concludes the findings of the impact of technopreneurship capabilities on social innovations among students. Lastly, the chapter provides recommendations on how best technopreneurship capabilities in students can be nurtured to enhance social innovation among students.
Social innovations ambitions in students are notably diverse with most of the students aligned towards networking innovations aimed at solving the societal problems as well as a high focus on social media as a platform for solving societal challenges. Further, most students were keen on innovating to solve environmental sustainability challenges as well as encouraging entrepreneurship. Further, poverty alleviation was also notably amongst the problems that students focused to solve with their innovations. However, a number of participants had not made up their mind on the kind of innovation they needed to make. This argument is in line with the argument of Tracey and Stott (2017), who noted that diversity in social innovations amongst students was a vital component of the innovation culture to ensure that all the emerging problems in the society are resolved.
From the analysis conducted in the previous chapter, it is notable that technopreneurship capabilities are impactful on the intentions of students to innovate. As such, the technological know-how among students has a notable influence in establishing confidence in students into achieving their innovation motives. As well, through the technological capabilities, students are able to articulate their ideas into the societal challenges hence developing the most applicable solutions. Furthermore, relational capabilities have been identified as an enabler of students towards establishing the kind of challenges that they are dealing with hence designing focused solutions. As well, the relational capabilities have earned the innovators social legitimacy of their innovations by involving the society in such innovations. On the other hand, students’ financial capabilities play a critical role in their innovative endeavours.
From the trend analysis, the research has identified that the technological capabilities of the students are positively and linearly correlated with a representation of the relationship illustrated as; social innovation intentions=0.6122*technology capability +1.3764. This is an indication that the technology capabilities impact on social innovations intentions to a degree of 61.22%. This is in line with Dahnil et al. (2014) who posited that there is a relationship between the technological capabilities and their social innovations intentions.
This study, therefore, holds the view that technology is significant as an enabler in establishing solutions to the growing number of societal problems. Ideally, technology enhances easy access to information, adoption of ideas and the overall improvement of societal value. Moreover, the analysis has identified that social innovators with technological know-how are able to come up with impactful innovations that are able to provide solutions to societal problems for a long period. Accordingly, innovators with technological capabilities have a higher capacity of incorporating useful technological features into their innovations than innovators who lack these capabilities as well as the ones using experts to expedite the knowledge.
The relationship between relational capability and social innovation among students is both positive and linearly correlated as depicted by the equation; social innovation =0.4782*relational capability+1.6752 indicating that relational capabilities are impactful on social innovation intentions by 47.82%. These results are aligned to the views of Drnovšek and Hisrich, (2016) who indicated that social relations and networks are a vital ingredient in the innovativeness of students as they are enablers of the innovators to establish trust relationships within the society hence rendering their innovations acceptable in the society.
Accordingly, this research established that social networks, as well as relationships, are a critical aspect in the success ability of innovators especially concerning their innovations. Notably, through the relationships that the innovators establish in the society, they are able to acquire financial support, valuable and resourceful information as well as their personal support for their social innovation. Accordingly, the right mind-set in innovation enables the innovators also to seek legitimacy of their innovative solutions from the society through public engagement hence allowing them to build trust that makes their innovations to be acceptable by the society.
Trend analysis conducted in the previous chapter, this study has established that the relationship between financial capability and social innovation intentions is positively and linearly correlated. This is indicated in the following equation; social innovation intentions=0.5203*financial capability+1.6696. Accordingly, financial capabilities have a 52.03% impact on the social innovation intention of students. These results are in line with Berridge et al. (2014) that the availability of funding for the innovations done by the students is one of the greatest motivations for them.
Notably, from the analysis, it is deducible that financial abilities of innovators are desirable qualifications for their ease of innovating as well as for their innovations to be impactful. Further, the analysis also established that financial capability in innovators is a significant enabler to their ability to innovate, as innovations are expensive and need funding. Notably, it is learnt that various brilliant innovation ideas have failed to achieve their full potential because of the lack of the necessary funding to enable them to complete their innovative process. Therefore, it is important to uphold collaborations in order to unlock the financial capabilities of innovators by creating synergy through the amalgamation of ideas and resources.
Firstly, learning institutions should help students secure funding. As identified in the study, many brilliant ideas do not achieve their full potential due to the financial inability of their exploration. Often brilliant innovators are behind such innovations and end up discouraged hence not able to continue with their innovative journey. Therefore, supporting such innovators would significantly enhance social innovations as well as motivate technopreneurship. As such, the institutions should lobby for setting-up of a fund that would cater to such needs and make it accessible to innovators. Similarly, they should seek donors to help finance innovation projects by students.
Secondly, institutions should foresee the establishment of public participation forums. As such, the participation of the society in the innovations still under development provides social legitimacy for these solutions. Further, they enhance their applicability in the society due to the improvements made in the innovation process as a result of the idea sharing with the intended consumers of the solutions. Therefore, it would be beneficial to ensure that a forum of participation of the society is created to enhance the relationship between the students and the society.
Thirdly, technologically equipping innovators is beneficial in enhancing their capabilities in innovation. This can be achieved through the introduction of common courses in the learning institutions to ensure that all students are equipped with necessary knowledge in technology especially in the modern days where society is getting more techno-savvy. Such basic technological knowledge will be important in enabling students to build the confidence they require in innovating as well as in helping them articulate their ideas into their innovations.
The time available, as well as the resources available to the researcher, have limited the credibility research. Notably, due to time constraints, the researcher was not able to include a larger sample to this study, which would have resulted to findings that are more credible. As well, the lack of enough finances denied the researcher the capability of exploring the study objectives exhaustively through initiatives such as further testing of the viability of the findings. Further, the adoption of the questionnaire method as the only method used to collect data in this study is also a limitation for the study because the use of a variety of data collection methods would have made the findings more credible. For instance, the use of desk method as an additional method would have resulted to confirmation of the findings from the questionnaire method hence higher credibility. These factors could hinder the achievement of comprehensive findings hence the need for similar studies to be conducted in the future to ensure they adopt more than one data collection method of data collection as well as ensure that they have enough time and finances.
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