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Digital social innovation

Across Europe a growing movement of people is developing inspiring digital solutions to social challenges. These range from social networks for those living with chronic health conditions, to online platforms for citizen participation in policymaking, to using open data to create more transparency about public spending. We call this phenomenon digital social innovation (DSI).

DSI offers the possibility to deliver social impact more efficiently and to empower people to take more control over the issues they face. But DSI is far from reaching its full potential, and has not entered mainstream consciousness, the third sector and public services.

This network aims to bring the growing DSI community together with other communities interested in social innovation, in order to exchange ideas and lessons and to build new connections. The network is facilitated by Nesta, who have established a strong network in the field of DSI through the platform.

Who do we want to help?

While we’re keen to hear from and help anyone interested in DSI, the network is addressed primarily to the following audiences:

  • Civil society organisations. In particular, we want to hear from and help organisations who are aware of the possibilities of technology to deliver social impact, or interested to learn more, but who are currently not using technology in their service delivery and communications.  

  • Policymakers. In particular, we want to hear from and help policymakers at the European, national and local level who are interested in social innovation, but who may not be aware of the possibilities technology can offer. Importantly, we are keen to work with policymakers who are not from the “digital” or “technology” department of their government.  

  • DSI practitioners. In particular, we want to hear from and help practitioners who are looking for links to civil society organisations not yet using technology to its full potential, and policymakers who are interested in the possibilities of technology.

What can we offer you?

We have a strong network of stakeholders in social innovation and digital social innovation, spanning civil society, innovators, the technology community, policymakers and funders. By combining this network with the other SIC networks, we offer three things:

  • New connections. We can connect you to the people you need to be speaking to, across and within countries, social areas, technologies, priorities and types of stakeholder. If you’re looking for someone to work with, influence, learn from or just talk to, we can help you - just get in touch. Through our programme of events, you can meet new people who you might otherwise never have met.      

  • New ideas. We create great content about digital social innovation - stories, opinions, debates, interviews and primers. But we never consider digital social innovation in isolation - we seek to understand how it works in relation to other types of social innovation, like community-led social innovation or public sector innovation. We harness our diverse networks to expose you to new ideas. And when we don’t have the answers, we can direct you to other sources of great content and resources.

  • New audiences. We can help you amplify your message: by tweeting about you, telling others about your work or publishing a guest blog.

Meet your network facilitator

Matt is a researcher at Nesta, the UK's innovation foundation, where he focuses on collaborative economy and digital social innovation. He’s got an insatiable appetite to learn more about how people are working day in, day out to make people’s lives better, to help build relationships, and to facilitate the creation of knowledge.

Matt’s always on the lookout for new people to talk to, learn from and partner with, so please do drop him a line whenever on