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Empowering people, driving change: Social innovation in the European Union

The present report has been written in response to a request from President Barroso to produce an analysis of suggestions received from participants in a workshop on social innovation organised by the Bureau of European Policy Advisers in January 2009.

This workshop considered some leading experiments in the social field (regarding social inclusion of migrants, offenders, youth, health and care, education and culture, administrative reform, local development and social economy), and made recommendations for EU action to stimulate and monitor the use of innovative social networking models in public and private services in the social field in particular.

A wideranging, state-of-the-art study on social innovation in Europe and the input of a group of dedicated Commission officials from different policy fields as well as experts and practitioners engaged in EU projects have all contributed to the analysis contained in this report and also to identifying key issues for the EU to act upon.

The pressing demand of stakeholders and think tanks working on this issue is to see social innovation recognised at a high political level in order to make it easier for social innovators at every level to act, get funding, network and scale up their ventures. In this context, this report suggests a European Social Innovation Initiative which could entail up to 40 measures to improve social innovation governance, funding, implementation and research (see table on pages 88 and 89). Some could be implemented straightaway, while others would need further preparation and negotiation. These measures are certainly not exhaustive, and are organised around the three approaches to social innovation (social demand, societal challenge and systemic change) which echo the three pillars of the Europe 2020 strategy to form an inclusive, sustainable and smart Europe.

Source: BEPA