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Economic and Social Policies, PUBLICATIONS

Understanding social innovation

Written by Nora Milotay,

Bulding a new creative idea

© alphaspirit / Fotolia

Social innovation has become an important concept in European policy-making, cutting across sectors and disciplines. However, despite the increasingly frequent use of the term there is no consensus as regards its definition. As a result, in part of extensive research work at EU level, it is currently interpreted as a ubiquitous concept that entails new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or forms of collaboration. The concept is strongly related to notions of solutions and transformation.

European policies promote social innovation in several sectors, such as the single market, employment and social affairs, health, education, energy, environment, and research. Within the EU, numerous policy and financial tools together with the (previous and current) research programme contribute to this process. However, there is still much to be done in terms of finding a comprehensive and well accepted theoretical approach to social innovation, efficient funding and regulatory environments, and also a way to measure its social (added) value. Without these social innovation runs the risk of becoming an empty buzzword in policy-making.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Understanding social innovation‘.

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The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved

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