SI-DRIVE EU policy briefs

The recently published SI-DRIVE EU policy briefs are based on the in-depth case study reports and its compilation, as well on seven policy and foresight workshops, which were conducted in spring 2017. They appraise the state of social innovation in the seven policy fields of SI-DRIVE and look at current and future challenges and opportunities, leading to significant policy implication and recommendations. Key messages of the policy briefs, as well as the links to the documents are available below:

  • Education and Lifelong Learning: Main challenge is to improve awareness of the added value of social innovations beyond the formal education system. Here public policy is in charge of taking over a new role, giving more leeway and support for bottom-up initiatives – unlocking the innovation potential and stocktaking of successful innovations.
  • Employment: Social innovation of employment is still “too much employment policy”. Even though the practice fields of the policy field differ it can be concluded for all that most SI initiatives are scattered, unconnected, isolated and not articulated as a social movement. This situation, however, asks for new governance structures that enable the balancing of the shifting responsibilities to deal with social risks: they seem to shift from public policy bodies to individuals, communities, entrepreneurs and non-public organisations.
  • Energy Supply: Energy transition needs to speed up. Social innovation can play a unique role by both stimulating sustainable energy production and energy saving and adding additional values such as local livability and learning.
  • Environment and Climate Change: Very often existing routines in environmentally relevant behaviour cumulate and impact negatively on nature; Social innovators in the area of Environment and Climate Change on the one hand, introduce new services that combine environmental and social aspects and hence show feasible alternatives to existing routines and increase the capacity of individuals or groups to change behaviour and make choices that may lead to less undesirable effects on nature. On the other hand, often social innovators feel a strong incentive to act where policies are dysfunctional or missing.
  • Health and Social Care: There are a number of important ‘innovation assets’, which policymakers can help to facilitate in  order to enable innovation. Convening appropriate skill sets,  capital, and buy – in ca be difficult for innovators to do by themselves. For this reason, the authors of the policy field identify cooperation as an important dimension to innovation in health and social care.
  • Mobility and Transport: Actors of social innovation in mobility and transport are different from those of the established mobility and transport system. They come from different backgrounds, and have the motivation to find alternative transport solutions rather than improving the quality of existing ones. Furthermore, the local public sector plays a crucial role as a stimulator and implementer of social innovation in mobility and transport. Urban planning enabling co-modality, supported by technological developments is another important driver of social innovation initiatives in mobility and transport.
  • Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development: Policy-makers at all levels need to simultaneously ensure that the poor and marginalised are empowered to participate in meeting their own social and other needs, whilst at the same time addressing the structural and contextual barriers preventing them from doing so. The key actors are typically civil organisations which tend to be more trusted by the poor as they have greater local knowledge and are more nimble — they act, in effect, as ‘trusted third parties’.