Intermediaries are organisations that provide support, tools and resources to help social innovators build skills and overcome the barriers to adoption. They also facilitate connections between actors to help innovations grow and scale. Intermediaries have a commitment to social goals, a focus on scaling models, and play an intermediation role by aggregating and matching finance, skills, physical collaboration space, evidence, technologies and networks. They also tend to have specialisms, and come together to form networks of intermediaries. Some activities of intermediaries include best-practice sharing platforms, innovation/challenge funds, incubators, and social innovation venture labs. In order to catalyse high quality innovation, intermediaries must focus on the 'sweet spot' where public, private and social sectors intersect.
Social innovation relevance
Intermediaries play a vital role by providing social innovation actors with a range of supports and services, such as business advice, financial investment, service design, market insight, access to networks, personal development, mentoring, advocacy and guidance. As such, intermediaries are an essential part of the social innovation ecosystem. SIC will support intermediaries by sharing knowledge (WP Research and WP Experimentation), engaging new actors (WP Engagement and Dissemination), and linking intermediaries with other networks (e.g. Digital Social Innovation network) to create new opportunities for social innovation, in particular grassroots or bottom up innovation. We will also connect intermediaries with policymakers (WP Policy and the Public Sector Social Innovation network) to enable intermediaries to influence policymakers in order to create a more favourable environment for social innovations to emerge, grow and develop.