DGs EMPL and REGIO have together produced a “Guide to Social Innovation”, which is now available to download.
“Social innovation” refers to any innovative measure which has explicitly social (as opposed to merely technological or business) goals.
To help understand the scope of social innovation, public authorities responsible for Cohesion Policy can consider the different realities, challenges and opportunities of the following six societal trends:
- Demography: Migration and ageing of the EU population
- Environmental Trends: Water, climate change and energy
- New Community Trends: Diversity and the new community providing IT solutions (digital society)
- Poverty – related Trends: Poverty , social exclusion and child poverty
- Trends in health and well-being: Health inequities, happiness and caring
- The trend of ethical goods and services: Fair trade and local production
The “Guide to Social Innovation” describes how many pre-existing European Union initiatives, from the Digital Agenda to the Structural Funds, are working towards this end, and provides many good examples of relevant co-funded projects, as well as placing them in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy. Detailed practical tips are provided for regional public authorities as to how to foster and enable social innovation, and how to embed social aims within other policies. These are then summarized in a handy ten step guide at the end of the publication:
- Learn about social innovation and put the pieces together
- Streamline the actions on social innovation
- Get insider knowledge: Track, Spot and Anticipate
- Develop a Smart Specialization Strategy including SI
- Develop collaboration tools with socially engaged communities. Develop auditing, innovation training and workshop activities
- Promote transition innovation platforms
- Develop incubation targeted at social innovation
- Create a social innovation cluster or laboratory
- Create a special economic zone for social innovation
- Promote cross-regional and international trade and exchange of social innovation within the Innovation Union framework.