Across Europe, there are numerous social, economic and environmental challenges that traditional approaches used by governments, businesses and civil society have proved incapable of adequately addressing. In fact, social innovations are being developed in towns and villages across Europe in schools and hospitals, in care homes and prisons, in hubs and youth clubs. It is often those working at the grassroots, in voluntary and community sector organisations, associations and networks that are at the vanguard of social innovation; they’re trying new ways of doing things to meet social needs. This short guide is aimed at practitioners and those currently or considering engaging with social innovations. Even though the term social innovation is becoming more widespread, there remains significant confusion about what it is and what the term means. This guide aims to provide an overview of what social innovation is, who does it and why it’s important.

The report draws on the work and findings of the TEPSIE project, a research project funded under the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme and which is an acronym for The Theoretical, Empirical and Policy Foundations for Building Social Innovation in Europe.

This research project was a collaboration between the Danish Technological Institute, the Young Foundation, the Centre of Social Investment at the University of Heidelberg, Atlantis Consulting, EIT+  at Wroclaw University and the Catholic University of Portugal.

Social innovation

Posted on: 8 April 2015


Community research

We are a not-for-profit tackling societal issues with a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach.

Contact our team

Social innovation

Involving people from diverse sectors to shape game-changing initiatives.

Find out more