Executive Summary of an EU Social Innovation Policy Survey

Edmiston, Daniel (2015) Executive Summary of an EU Social Innovation Policy Survey. CRESSI Working Paper Series 17/2015.

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Abstract

In recent years, social innovation has become an increasingly prominent concept employed by political leaders and administrations across Europe. It has been posited as a solution to both old and new social risks at a time of heightened uncertainty and pressure on public administrations and finances (Bonoli, 2005; OECD, 2011; Sinclair and Baglioni, 2014). There is broad recognition that,
growing interest in social innovation is intimately linked to the Great Recession, structural unemployment and the social challenges arising as a result (European Commission., 2014). In political and policy rhetoric, the European Union repeatedly cites social innovation as a solution to the persistence of socio-economic, environmental and demographic challenges. These challenges are placing increasing pressure on Europe’s systems of welfare, health, education and care
provision. Budgetary constraints and increased demand on public services has fuelled the desire to capitalise on social innovation so that public and private institutions are able to do and achieve more with less (TEPSIE, 2014). Not only is social innovation understood as a means to achieve an
end in this regard, it is also recognised as an end in itself.

Social innovation has been cited by the European Commission as ‘another way to produce value, with less focus on financial profit and more on real demands or needs… for reconsidering production and redistribution systems' (European Commission., 2014: 8).

The European Commission defines social innovation as:
the development and implementation of new ideas (products, services and models) to meet social needs and create new social relationships or collaborations. It represents
new responses to pressing social demands, which affect the process of social interactions. It is aimed at improving human wellbeing. Social innovations are innovations that are social in both their ends and their means. They are innovations
that are not only good for society but also enhance individuals’ capacity to act. (European Commission., 2013a: 6)

Work Package 6 of the Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation (CRESSI) research programme examines how this definition (or perhaps ideal) is translated and realised in the EU and domestic policymaking process. Whilst this research
pays some attention to definitional issues of social innovation and the implications of conceptualising social innovation in a particular way, the principle objective of the EU social
innovation policy survey is to identify and review ‘social innovation in the context of European policymaking’ (Borzaga and Bodini, 2014: 412). As such, the range of ways in which social innovation has been conceptualised and translated into European public policy have been considered at the Pan-European and domestic level.

Item Type: Other Working Paper
Keywords: Social innovation, policy
Subject(s): Innovation
Social entrepreneurship
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2016 10:44
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2016 10:44
Funders: European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 613261
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/5948

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