Innovation in Albania is still in an early stage. During the last 10 years the country has implemented a series of strategies and reforms in support of innovation. Some of the cross cutting strategies include: National Strategy for Development and Integration, The National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, Cross Cutting Strategy on Information Society and the Albanian Investment Development Agency (AIDA).
Civil society organizations (CSOs) have also played an important role in the field of social innovation in Albania. During the past few years, CSOs have been key to increasing knowledge and awareness in support of innovation, through participation on international programs and funds on innovation and through establishment of schemes in support of innovation/social enterprises. For example, Partners Albania developed an annual competition “Green Ideas Competition”.
Social innovation is time and context specific. That means it can mean different things in different context. What might not seem innovative in one country, may be ground breaking in another. The political and cultural background is important to understand. There are also a wide variety of organisations involved in this field, each have different perspectives. So, the purpose of this page is to demonstrate a variety of views on what social innovation means to different kinds of organisations in Albania.
The voices from Albania:
In 2011, Arjola Agolli from Partners Albania provided a brief overview on what social innovation looked like in Albania at that time. Arjola particularly touched on the key challenges that social innovators were facing:
"Social innovation and innovators are hard to be understood and considered as part of our culture yet. In most of the cases the perception is that relates only to research and not to a broad productivity in general. Mentality and the political culture is one of the biggest challenges as well. Social innovation requires a change on how policies should be formulated, proposed, tested and implemented, stressing the role of citizens, stakeholders, users and target groups in the definition and implementation of new policies. A clear-cut distinction between policy-makers and policy users, and a general view of politics as a process that puts citizens in a reactive and passive position is present in some of the countries and needs further improvements in others."
Click here to read more on the challenges faced by social innovators along with the social, political and cultural factors that come to play.
In late 2014, Partners Albania provided an updated contribution of social innovation provided by Ariola Agolli and Klotilda Tavani Kosta. This contribution focused on a series of strategies and reforms in support of innovation implemented in the country. This includes:
- National Strategy for Development and Integration approved in 2008 which emphasized the development of innovation in support of development of research and education and business development in the country
- The National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation which constituted the first document that compromised the long-term platform of development, research and innovation in Albania, aiming to build “knowledge- based” information on economy and society for the country
- “Cross Cutting Strategy on Information Society” which aims to increase the level of knowledge, effectiveness and transparency in the public administration
- Albanian Investment Development Agency (AIDA) established in 2010 with the aim to maximize both foreign and domestic investment flows and to increase the competitiveness of enterprises in Albania by enhancing their respective innovation and technological capacities
This contribution also discusses the important role of civil society organisations (CSOs). Read more here.