The term "social innovation" is a relatively new one, but social innovation itself is not new. There are many examples of social innovation throughout history, from kindergartens to hospices, and from the cooperative movement to microfinance. A "field" of social innovation is, however, a new idea.
In some parts of Europe, the term "social innovation" refers to what the European Commission calls workplace innovation.
What is social innovation?
Social innovation is about new ideas that work to address pressing unmet needs. We simply describe it as innovations that are both social in their ends and in their means. Social innovations are new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations (Open Book of Social Innovation, Murray, Calulier-Grice and Mulgan, March 2010)
Recent publications on social innovation funded by DG Enterprise in the context of Social Innovation Europe:
- December 2012 - Final report of the Social Innovation Europe pilot [279 KB] - Taking stock and looking forward
- December 2012 - Systemic Innovation [712 KB]
- November 2012 – Strengthening social innovation in Europe Journey to effective assessment and metrics [2 MB]
- February 2012 - Report Financing social impact. Funding social innovation in Europe - mapping the way forward [846 KB]
Another publication funded by DG Enterprise:
You can now register for the Award Ceremony which will take place in Brussels on 29 May 2013. See the revised agenda! [346 KB] The 10 finalists of the Competition will present us their ideas and the 3 winners among them will be announced by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. The Ceremony will also offer the possibility to explore investment possibilities into social innovation. See the press release.
From the 605 entries received during the first phase of the competition, 30 semi-finalists were selected by the jury and were invited to participate in a two-day Social Innovation Academy that took place in Amsterdam, on 11-12 March 2013. Those two days offered the semi-finalists opportunities for peer-review and pitching, and for discussions on their concept and implementation plan.
The 10 finalists have now been selected and will compete to win one of the 3 prizes which will be awarded at the Ceremony on 29 May 2013 in Brussels. Get to know their ideas on the Competition profile page. And follow us on Twitter @EUSocialInnov #diogochallenge.
Main features of the competition can still be consulted here.
Workshop "How do we incubate social innovation in Europe?"
Social innovation often starts as small initiatives by citizens, foundations and businesses who identify unmet market needs. How can we grow these initiatives to create jobs, growth and social impact?
This workshop was held on 21-22 March 2012 at the Hub Brussels [259 KB] , and aimed to bring together a group of about 50 thought leaders and practitioners from social innovation incubators, accelerators and hubs, as well as representatives from business incubators, national and regional policy officials, funders, social economy organisations and companies. The meeting was a great opportunity for us all to come to an initial shared perspective on this field and on the shape of what is needed to support growing this work.
Key messages from the meeting were:
1. Collect and show impact of social innovation incubation
2. Share and learn, also from existing and tech-based incubation
3. Improve financing for all stages of growth, and create European funding tools
Sergio Campanella of the Urban N.O.S.E. Social Enterprise Incubator network:
- Ethiconomy Report [2 MB]
- Case studies compendium [3 MB]
This is a guide to European Accelerator programmes (both social and commercial) that came out of some research to map the growth and impact of these sorts of programmes all over the world.
The conference newsletter is now available [3 MB] . It contains the main conclusions and recommendations for future actions.
The conversation will continue on the Social Innovation Europe Initiative's website.
European Social Innovation Pilot – Innovation Union commitment
Innovation Union, Europe 2020 flagship, recognised social innovation as "an important new field which should be nurtured".
According to its commitment, the Commission should launch European Social Innovation pilot which will provide expertise and a networked 'virtual hub' for social entrepreneurs and the public and third sectors.
The European Commission has delivered on its commitments and the Social Innovation Europe initiative was launched on 16 March 2011.
Social Innovation Europe is being run by a consortium of European partners including the Danish Technological Institute and Euclid Network, and led by the Social Innovation eXchange (SIX) at the Young Foundation, UK. The initiative is financed under the EU's Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP), which aims to encourage the competitiveness of European enterprises.