Zagreb conference

Social Innovation: an add-on to classical technology-focused innovation or a driver of the whole transition process?

ERRIN was last week invited to moderate the KEP peer-to-peer event on ‘quadruple helix approach to social innovation’, which put a strong emphasis on citizens and their needs, in the development of health, social and other related services.

The peer-to-peer event of the Knowledge Exchange Platform, organised by the European Committee of the Regions, together with the European Commission (DG RTD) and the City of Zagreb, showed that social innovation takes place in regions, cities, neighbourhoods. Examples supported by ERDF or Horizon 2020 demonstrated the strong transformational function of trust, purpose, collaboration and empathy – elements which are undoubtedly fostered by the proximity and continuity of relationship building within the local ecosystems.

When co-design and co-creation drive the development of innovations, empowered citizens take on the role of creators instead of passive consumers. How are organisations, regions and municipalities facilitating the involvement of the citizens in developing new products and services? What policy-assessment tools are available out there? What can we learn from the Silent Café and the Dotted Soaps social enterprises?

  • This is the time to make bold proposals to the European Commission, as contributions to the upcoming Work Programmes (Philippe Martin, European Commission, DG RTD): the InvestEU programme is putting aside 4 billion EUR for “social investment and skills”, yet financial instruments should address the sector’s needs: feedback is crucial.
  • Risto Raivio, European Commission, DG EMPL: framework conditions matter for policy-making and adoption. Better Entrepreneurship Policy tool, developed by the European Commission together with the OECD, allows to make a self-assessment of the policy-readiness for social entrepreneurship while providing policy-guidance. The tool is available in 24 languages and the European Commission is looking for cities and regions interested in testing the latest version.

Read more about the event here