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Visions and Trends of Social Innovation for Europe, European Commission. October 2017

European society is facing dramatic changes. Despite all its benefits, the innovation society is part of the problem. Social innovation can  be part of the solution. Launched in 2010 within Europe2020, social innovation has spread in policy, practice, and research with increasing impact on the economy and society.

This paper stocks the main results – whether derived from European initiatives or not – and maps the main opportunities and actions required to drive social innovation to the next phase and deliver for a better society. It offers a critical review of theory and illustrates the main trends affecting current and future developments with an array of examples and recommendations for the European Union and all other stakeholders to foster human-centred innovation, designed for and operating at the system level, and firmly embedded in the mainstream policy-making process.

The purpose of this paper is to assists European Commission in reviewing social innovation agenda and devising a new vision that matches the challenges of the 21st century and meets the aspirations of Europeans. 

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What next for Digital Social Innovation? Realising the potential of people and technology to tackle social challenges. Nesta. May 2017

The DSI4EU project has been mapping and supporting digital social innovation (DSI) initiatives across Europe since February 2016. Based on interviews with DSI practitioners, other stakeholders and data collected through the digitalsocial.eu platform, this report explores the recent evolution of DSI, barriers to growth, and what needs to be done by policymakers, funders and practitioners to make the most of the opportunities in DSI.

The report is structured as follows: In the 1st section, DSI is explained and why it is relevant today, and examples of how it can deliver impact in different social areas are offered. In the second, the authors explore growth and trends in DSI across Europe, and seeks to understand how projects and organizations are connected to each other. In the third, Nesta explores barriers to growth and how these can be addressed.  Nesta also looks at challenges at the macro (ecosystem) and micro (project/organisation) levels, and showcase examples of good practice. Barriers in the former category concern availability and accessibility of funding and skills and uptake of DSI by the public sector and civil society. Barriers in the latter concern practitioners’ ability to engage users, articulate and measure impact, and understand routes to growth and sustainability.  To conclude, a set of six recommendations to funders and policymakers is offered.

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Social innovation as a Trigger for Transformations. The Role of Research. European Commission, Directorate General for Research and Innovation. September, 2017.

This Policy Review paper examines the place of Social Innovation (SI) in research and development projects, especially those funded by the EU. It also reflects on the relevance of SI and SI research in collective action, policy making and socio-political transformation in Europe and the world today. In particular, it makes suggestions on how SI research can contribute to strengthening the position of SSH in the contemporary and future European research and policy landscape. It thus seeks to explain how SI as a concept and a practice holds a great socio-political transformative potential, and warns against reducing the meaning of SI to mere social problem mending as a response to state and market insufficiencies.

This report is divided into 5 sections:

The first one, it explains the logic of the build-up of the Policy Paper. In the second one, an overview of the history of the use of the concept of social innovation in political, philosophical and scientific discourse and practice is given. The third section describes the variety of approaches in contemporary social innovation research while in the fourth chapter how social innovation research projects deal with collective action is examined. Finally, the fifth and last section valorizes the lessons learned from screening the research projects, summarizing opportunities dos social innovation research.

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Recent Evolution of the Social Economy in the European Union. European Economic and Social Committee, 2017

The general objective of the Report is to study the recent evolution of the social economy in the European Union. It focuses on three areas: firstly, the social economy and the emergent concepts/movements related to it, secondly, the public policies adopted in both the EU and the member states in recent years to enhance the social economy sector and thirdly, measuring the weight of the social economy in each EU member country.

This Report shows that the European social economy provides over 13.6 million paid jobs in Europe, accounting for 6.3% of the total EU working population of the EU-28. Despite its size, the social economy remains invisible in the national accounts and statistics around Europe, a hurdle that constitutes another major challenge, although efforts have been made during the last two decades.

The new concepts and approaches related to the social economy that have emerged in Europe, such as social enterprises, social innovation, collaborative economy, economy of the common good, circular economy and corporate social responsibility, have been analysed and the main public policies for the social economy that have been implemented in recent years have been studied. Special mention has been made of the Social Business Initiative (SBI) introduced by the European Commission.

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Growing Government Innovation. UNDP and FutureGov, October 2017

Effective and inspirational labs exist in many highly developed countries. In Western Europe, MindLab (Denmark) and The Behavioural Insights Team (UK) push their governments to re-imagine public services. In Asia, the Innovation Bureau in Seoul, South Korea, co-designs better services with citizens.

However, this guide is aimed towards those working in the development context. The authors believe their collective experience of running labs in Eurasia, Asia and the Middle East is directly transferrable to other regions who face similar challenges, for example, moving from poverty to inequality, or from a recent history of democratisation towards more open government.

This report does not offer a “how-to” of innovation techniques -- there are plenty of guides out there3. Instead, we give the real story of how government innovation labs develop in regions like ours: organic and people-driven, often operating under the radar until safe to emerge. We share a truthful examination of the twists and turns of seeding, starting up and scaling labs, covering the challenges we faced and our failures, as much as our successes.  

Find the report, here