Next to the overall objective of understanding social innovations, the SI-DRIVE project is also looking at the role policy and government can have to support social innovations. This support is seen as necessary as social innovations are an important means to achieve and shape social change. Citizens should play an important role in the transition of our current society to new more sustainable solutions. To develop recommendations for policy makers, researches from the SI-DRIVE partners “The Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research” (TNO) and the “Austrian Institute of Technology” (AIT) have focused on the relationship between policy and social innovations. In their research activities, they have used a mix of methods. They have conducted (elite and expert) discussions at the level of each of the policy fields, looked at the outcomes of the literature searches, analysed the 1005 case studies in the global mapping and the 82 in-depth case studies. To formulate final recommendations for policy, they have organised two sets of international round tables to discuss their results and views. In their research activities, they have come to understand that policy making is very different in all parts of our global world. This means that social innovations will be treated very different too, when looking at these different countries. Their final recommendations have therefore been formulated for four different policy contexts. To develop these recommendations, they have gone back to our first theoretical framework, formulated by Professor Jocelyn Bourgon. This framework helped them to understand the possible relationships between public administration and social innovations. The framework has been revisited and some extra perspectives have been added. The discussions in each of the seven policy fields and the data collected have also added new insights about what this relationship should be. With all this material at hand, they finally formulated sets of policy recommendations to support social innovations. For each of the regions, ten recommendations were generated, focusing on different topics: the relationship between social innovators and public policy makers; the different types of social innovations that policy makers are confronted with in phase of development and focus on market or public value; and at the type of resources policy makers should use in supporting social innovation. Social innovations are an important means for social change. More support from policy makers is needed, but not any support is fruitful. The recommendations of SI-DRIVE give direction.
This article offers further information: Policy support for social innovations: what do policy makers need to consider? (Authors: Steven Dhondt, Matthias Weber, Peter Oeij, Wolfram Rhomberg)