Over the last decade substantial European and national public funding has been invested in social innovation hubs, labs, incubators, accelerators, competitions, hackathons, networks, research and evaluation. Philanthropy and social impact investment is also playing an important and complementary role in the development of social innovation. This, together with the introduction of EU funding programmes such as Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), and the creative use of European Social Funding (ESF) in several countries including Portugal and Poland, has led to a proliferation of innovations.
We could build on this progress to go further to develop and implement effective ways of addressing systemic social and environmental issues. We could fully realise the potential of the New Era of Social Innovation and use it “as a tool to include people in our society”.
- Putting those for whom solutions are being developed at the centre of the design, delivery, and evaluation of innovations.
- Developing coherent and deliberate strategies with, and within, the public service.
- Supporting the identification and creation of innovative thinking and solutions.
- Frontloading investment to support the implementation of innovative solutions at scale.
- Urgency in the context of the COVID-19 environment and aftermath.
- Case presentation: The European Social Catalyst Fund (ESCF) – a new initiative designed to identify and support innovations with potential to have significant impact our most pressing social challenges.
 Carlos Moedas, former Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation speaking at ‘Opening up to an Era of Social Innovation Conference’, Gulbenkian Foundation, 2017
Session format: Roundabout
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