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What to read: Vision and Trends of Social Innovation for Europe

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. 

Vision New European Social Innovation is:

– Human-centred, because people are the best source of innovation and the target beneficiaries. Invest in people so they can shape and drive innovation in line with their aspirations and values. Define a baseline of public wellbeing across Europe and foster it.

– System-focused to turn people’s and institutions’ potential into positive results, highlighting social innovation at the level of cities and regions as grand scale laboratories.

– At the core of policy-making and the political agenda of Europe to shape a new social contract for Europe;

Current trends in Social Innovation

Based on the analysis of literature, projects, and expert interviews, and in line with the main challenges identified in the White Paper on the Future of Europe, the EU has identified seven macro trends of great significance to social innovation as transformations of systems:

  1. Institutional Capacity and Wellbeing
  2. Democracy and Trust
  3. Skills and the future of work
  4. Internet Technologies and On-line/Off-line interactions
  5. New Financial instruments
  6. Urban Renewal
  7. Global Interdependencies

Vision and Trends of Social Innovation is a new publication that has been recently launched by the European Commission to stimulate a critical revision and foster a perspective that can have a real impact on the core policy-making process.

For more information, consult the publication on Vision and Trends