Doing Social Innovation: A guide for practitioners

Published: December 2014 Publication Type: Publication


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 – 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. This report was written as part of the TEPSIE project, a research project funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme and is an acronym for “The Theoretical, Empirical and Policy Foundations for Building Social Innovation in Europe”.  The project is a research collaboration between six European institutions: the Danish Technological Institute, The Young Foundation, The Centre for Social Investment at Heidelberg University, Atlantis Consulting, the Catholic University of Portugal, and Wrocław Research Centre EIT+.

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