Human migration and social innovation: Perspective across several nations

Paul D. Larson*, David B. Grant, Ruth Banomyong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to study human migration from a social innovation point of view. Social innovation involves creating and implementing new solutions to social and/or environmental challenges – and to make a positive difference. The paper includes a look at the transportation of migrants, with special reference to smuggling and human trafficking.
Design/methodology/approach: The method is primarily case-based, with the nation (Canada, Iceland and Thailand) as unit of analysis. Cross-cutting themes include logistics, social sustainability and legal vs. illegal supply chains. Sources of evidence include published reports, news items and web-sites.
Findings: Identification and description of social innovations that address migration issues highlight the findings. Differences across nations and continents (Asia, Europe and North America) are explained in terms of culture, geography and politics. Social innovations and logistics differ widely when moving from “regular” migration to smuggling to human trafficking.
Research limitations/implications: The study is limited to three destination countries. Destination characteristics imply unique migrant needs, migration routes and nations of origin. The findings must be cautiously generalized beyond the small sample of nations. The paper includes a research agenda.
Practical implications: Among the implications are practical suggestions for collaboration among various stake-holders and entities working with migrants or impacted by flows of migrants. Particular innovations are matched with specific destinations and routes.
Social implications: Migration has implications for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which inspire public policy recommendations. Ideally, migration is a positive experience for all stakeholders, including migrants, those left behind, and destination country communities. This implies a need to disrupt human trafficking supply chains; and make the logistics of smuggling safer. The paper includes a discussion of COVID-19 implications for migration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 32nd Annual NOFOMA Conference : Book of Abstracts
EditorsGunnar Stefansson
Place of PublicationRekyavik
PublisherUniversity of Iceland
Publication date17.09.2020
Publication statusPublished - 17.09.2020
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
Event32nd NOFOMA Conference 2020 - Virtual, Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 17.09.202018.09.2020
Conference number: 32

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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