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Atlas of Social Innovation – New Practices for a Better Future

Marthe Zirngiebl, TU Dortmund University, Germany

A unique knowledge repository for the global community of practitioners, policy makers and researchers.

#Social Innovation is on the rise. As a lived practice, social innovations explore new ways to deal with complex #challenges such as climate change, demographic change or poverty in all parts of the world. Initiatives, from local groups to international networks, have become success stories by “doing things differently”. Against this background, the articles collected in Atlas of Social Innovation – New Practices for a Better Future for the first time provide a comprehensive overview of social innovation initiatives from around the globe. Leading experts share new insights in social innovation research and present role-model approaches in different socio-cultural environments.

In 62 short articles, the Atlas of Social Innovation explores the colourful world of this emerging phenomenon. It presents various types of Social Innovation in different world regions and policy fields like #education, #employment, #environment and #climate change, #energy supply, #transport and #mobility, #health and #social care, as well as #poverty reduction and #sustainable development. It shows that public policy can play a creative role in creating suitable frameworks for social innovations, and argues that often alliances of civil society, the economy, science, and the public sector are the key to success.

The Atlas takes a unique approach in portraying experiences, theoretical considerations, and lessons learnt worldwide and across disciplines. It serves as a knowledge repository for the growing community of practitioners, policy makers and researchers and opens up new avenues to unfold the potential of social innovation to create new practices for a better future.

The publication Atlas of Social Innovation – New Practices for a Better Future - edited by Jürgen Howaldt, Christoph Kaletka, Antonius Schröder, Marthe Zirngiebl from TU Dortmund University builds upon a new generation of EU-funded research projects, which have contributed to a better understanding of the conditions under which social innovations develop, flourish and finally increase their societal impact. The project SI-DRIVE (2014-2017) made an important contribution by developing and testing a comprehensive definition, which describes social innovation as a new combination or figuration of social practices. Using this analytical lens, the project consortium of 25 international partners mapped and compared over 1.000 cases of social innovation all over the world and selected 80 cases for an in-depth case study analysis. Taking these results as a starting point, the editors invited a group of international experts to add their experiences and insights and to – provisionally – complete this first global picture of the state of social innovation, its arenas and potential.

The Atlas is available online at website invites its users to download the whole book or selected articles and to propose future articles for a more complete global picture of social innovation.

If you wish to receive a hard copy or have any further questions, please contact Marthe Zirngiebl (


Howaldt, J., Kaletka, C., Schröder, A. & Zirngiebl, M. (2018). Atlas of Social Innovation – New Practices for a Better Future. Sozialforschungsstelle, TU Dortmund University: Dortmund, Germany.