Dimensions of social innovation in agricultural cooperatives: a model applied to the Spanish olive oil industry

The Social Economy plays a fundamental role in the implementation and development of social innova-tion practices, especially in the field of cooperatives. In the case of agri-food cooperatives in the olive oil producing areas of Spain, a substantial share of the business is based around the social economy, with CIRIEC reporting a cooperativization rate of 70%. As such, there are increasing opportunities for these cooperatives to adopt tools that enable the potential development of social innovation actions. In the present article, we conduct a literature review to explore the definitions of social innovation provided in the last decade. We then analyse the results relating to a proposed model of social innovation applied to the olive oil industry, involving the participation of an expert panel composed of people with a position on the board of directors or managers of olive oil cooperatives and companies in the olive oil industry. From the analysis of the data collected, we identify four dimensions of Social Innovation that are particularly relevant to the olive oil industry: the Economic Dimension, the Cultural Dimension, the Environmental Dimension, and the Technological Dimension. These dimensions give rise to a methodological model for the implementation of Social Innovation actions in the olive oil industry.