In the Netherlands, social innovation was first used as a concept in the context of workplace innovation and labour productivity. Only recently both on the ground and on a policy making level, the Netherlands is catching up with the European understanding of social innovation - that is referring to new ideas, products and services addressing urgent and complex social questions such as ageing populations, immigration and youth unemployment. The Dutch government is recognising the value of social innovation on a national policy level in the ‘Top Sectors’, a Dutch policy to support cooperation and business between industries, science and government.
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 the Netherlands.