Similar to the rest of Europe, Cyprus has social needs. Social innovation is increasingly understood and challenged as a new concept about how best to meet needs in a sustainable way. Social innovation is happening in the context of sometimes strong social capital, families and communities. There is also an extensive role for government, typical of an island economy or small country. What is dissimilar to most of the other countries in Europe is that Cyprus is still working through difficult internal politics with abnormal influence from external forces. The deadlock to a political solution impedes the ideal conditions for innovation and enterprise. It is also, however, the critical, social, economic and environmental issue that could benefit from social innovation.
Social innovation can make a difference in Cyprus in community, economy and nation building.
Interest in social innovation is emerging in academia, the growing civil society sector and in the business community. Specialists like the Synthesis Centre are shaping some of this learning. There are barriers to overcome for any enterprise aiming to work countrywide. There is both a need and potential for more effective international networks and collaboration to develop innovation, enterprise and investment cultures. The ingenuity of some social innovators is making some aspects of the problem redundant nevertheless by working with and around the issues caused. This does create significant extra costs. Though the prize for social innovation may be influencing the political situation, especially now that there is growing demand for CSOs and business sectors to be more involved, there are needs which exist or may emerge that require attention in any case. With such a large and aging expat population from several countries, how might the country design anything but residential care facilities to that future need?