Social innovation on the rise: yet another buzzword in a time of

The Italian NHS is paradigmatic of broader trends toward decentralisation, marketization and a new balance between public and private funding. Inspired by a mere logic of cost-effectiveness and indiscriminate cuts, the restructuring of the NHS is contributing to increased inequalities and territorial disparities.

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Experiments in social innovation have been also implemented in the labour market in order to cope with new social risks, i. However, the Italian welfare state has not been structurally reformed to deal with these new risks yet.

In conclusion, we question the idea that social innovation can substantially address the inadequacies of the Italian welfare state, counter-balancing the retrenchment of public social provisions. Against this backdrop, general calls to social innovation may contribute to a shift in political attention from public to private responsibility and be instrumental in avoiding heated discussions on structural inequalities.

In absence of a structural reform of the Italian welfare state, social innovation might then become a buzzword echoing neoliberal mantras in times of austerity. Paper Social innovation in a time of austerity-useful resource or convenient buzzword. Social innovation, commonly defined as new ideas products, services and models that simultaneously meet social needs and create new social relationships or collaborations, is considered both good for society and capable of fostering collective involvement in the provision of social services.

Over the last two decades social innovation has gained significant popularity in Italy and in other Mediterranean countries as a strategy to tackle new social risks within healthcare and employment policy.

See more of: Session Proposals.What is social innovation? Over the last decades, social innovation has gained significant popularity as a process able to tackle societal challenges and improve well-being via the direct engagement of the civil society. Hundreds of initiatives have claimed to be linked to this concept both in urban and rural contexts and in all topics and domains.

Is social innovation yet another fuzzy word in a modern century of trending topics and well-designed marketing strategies? One of the aims of the H SIMRA project Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas is also this one: to identify and map what are the key variables desirable for Social Innovation to occur, so as to identify success and failure cases, and develop methods for their appraisal and assessment.

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During the VI Mediterranean Forest Weekwhich took place from 1 to 5 April in Brummana, Lebanon, hundreds of researchers, policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders from the wide Mediterranean basin gathered to discuss Mediterranean-wide forestry issues.

Emerging topics included: the role of forests for achieving NDC targets for COP21, existing linkages between forests and other sectors water, cities and biodiversityforest communication, socio-ecological resilience of forests and many more.

Social Innovation was indeed one of them, with a SIMRA-organised workshop aiming at exploring the role of the Mediterranean region as an incubating model for social innovation, presenting real cases that demonstrate elements for success and best practices for replication and learning purposes. Understanding what social innovation means in the forestry sector is strategic. This will allow for assessing whether innovative and inclusive practices have the potential to develop out-of-the-box initiatives tackling both persistent societal issues for example, wildfire risk, an increasing threat in the Mediterranean basin and improving the competitiveness of the sector, by providing new products and services, which could promote the intrinsic multi-functionality of forests.

Also, evidence from the case studies analysed in SIMRA shows that social innovation initiatives can be formalised into policies and regulations, or scaled out to other areas and realities where they can be successfully replicated.

Forest fire volunteer groups in Catalonia; community woodlands in Slovenia; participatory initiatives aiming at tackling wildfire risks in Extremadura, Spain; valorisation approaches to the Non-Wood-Forest-Products sector in Tunisia; social entrepreneurs tackling inclusion of vulnerable groups in the forest sector In Catalonia, or creating burial woods in Italy as a key to improve the cultural landscape; engaging youth in planting trees to fight deforestation and land degradation in Lebanon.

These are some of the Mediterranean cases that have been validated in SIMRA as examples of initiatives where a reconfiguration of attitudes greater awarenessof governance arrangements new formal or informal rules developedand of networks increase collaboration across local actors has produced positive outcomes on the local social well-being, in economic, social, institutional or environmental terms.

The development of a key methodology to assess such cases is thus central for practitioners and policy makers alike. This resulted in a full-integrated set of qualitative and quantitative approaches and tools, complementary to the Common Monitoring and Evaluation System CMES.

Such methodology is currently being tested in 11 case studies of SIMRA in order to assess whether it is flexible enough, allowing evaluators to analyse the different stages of social innovation, and the perspectives of the actors that progressively became involved in the initiative.

Also, understanding how to guide, implement, and support social innovation actions, allowing them to move their first steps on the local societal texture, is a complex endeavour tackled in SIMRA and presented during the symposium. Who is going to lead and take ownership of a social innovation idea?

Is the idea feasible in the first place? Are the legal and policy frameworks supportive of the idea? These and more are some of the issues which practitioners confront when supporting groups of local actors willing to develop new social innovation ideas on their territories. Nonetheless, flexible frameworks are needed to provide evidence of what works and what does not work, to support practitioners and policy makers in assisting social innovation initiatives. As these cases make clear, local actors should be supported in sharing information and best practices, and to achieve funding lines in order to strengthen existing embryos of social innovation into long-term, successful initiatives.

Only in such a way can we turn a perceived buzzword into a powerful concept, imperative for the future well-being of our Mediterranean society.

Designing a Social Innovation Based Knowledge Support System: A Preliminary Guideline

Home Governance Social innovation in forests: buzzword or opportunity? Governance Social innovation. Photo: Valentino Marini Govigli. Tree with little white primulas.But the irony behind the king of buzzwords is that, originally, "innovation" wasn't a compliment.

It was an accusation. In fact, shouts of "Innovator! As with any question of intellectual history, the path of innovation through the centuries is complicated. According to Godin, innovation is the most late-blooming incarnation of previously used terms like imitation and invention. When "novation" first appeared in thirteenth century law texts as a term for renewing contracts, it wasn't a term for creation -- it referred to newness.

In the particularly entrenched religious atmosphere of sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe, doctrinal innovation was anathema. Some saw this kind of newness as an affiliation with Puritanism, or worse -- popery. Godin cites an extreme case fromwhen an English Puritan and former royal official, Henry Burton, began publishing pamphlets advocating against church officials as innovators, levying Proverbs as his weapon: "My Sonne, feare thou the Lord, and the King, and meddle not with them that are given to change " citation Godin's, emphasis mine.

In turn, the pot-stirring Puritan was accused of being the true "innovator" and sentenced to a life in prison and worse -- a life without ears. Innovation began taking root as a term associated with science and industry in the nineteenth century, matching the forward march of the Industrial Revolution, although the language of that period focused more strongly on invention, particularly technical invention. Several factors helped invention develop a prestigious and positive connotation, including the rise of consumer culture, increased numbers of patents, and strong government focus on building labs for research and development, Godin argues.

So when did the focus change from invention to innovation?

social innovation on the rise: yet another buzzword in a time of

Godin attributes this differentiation to a definition offered by Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter. He defined invention as an act of intellectual creativity undertaken without any thought given to its possible economic import, while innovation happens when firms figure out how to craft inventions into constructive changes in their business model. Over time, a new element got woven into the definition of innovation, shifting its common understanding to "bringing to market a new technology.

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From the early s until the s, he said, innovation was understood as a process: theoretical research in labs provided an initial foundation; applications of that research were devised and developed; and from there, they became commercialized products.

Innovation was thought of as a packaged, predictable research product, and according to Godin, government funding for these kinds of ventures directly corresponded to the rise of this understanding of innovation.

So how does today's fixation on innovation stack up against this history? For roughly years, from about tothe American economy brimmed with newness. Since then, George Mason economist Tyler Cowen claims, the forward march of technological progress has hit something of a dry spell, regardless of what all the talk about innovation may indicate. We also see a lot of social tolerance -- people confuse that with technological breakthroughs.

The Internet does count as one big innovation from the past few decades, Cowen says, but he believes most of the economic gains from the Internet will come from applications that have yet to be developed in areas like manufacturing. What has been achieved, however, is a greater ability to manipulate information, which has an outsized affect on the lives and work of a relatively small segment of the population.

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These people happen to be the folks that spend the most time talking about innovation, though: journalists and academics. So how could we improve the way we talk about innovation?

Have a little humility, Cowen says. Look at the period from to or maybe and think about how unbelievably creative and powerful that was. Although actual innovation might be in decline, mentions of innovation are resurgent. Measurable innovation might be on the decline, but, for some reason, we just can't stop talking about it. We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters theatlantic. Skip to content.

Sign in My Account Subscribe. The Atlantic Crossword. The Print Edition. Latest Issue Past Issues.Policy Design in the European Union pp Cite as. In recent years, social innovation has become an increasingly prominent concept employed by political leaders and administrations across the world. In Europe, social innovation has proved to be equally conspicuous in pan-European strategies and domestic policies. Innovation has been of enduring interest and concern for European Union EU policy for many years Borzaga and Bodinibut since the late s social innovation in particular has captured the political interest of supranational organisations and domestic actors Pol and Ville ; Grisolia and Ferragina In the EU, social innovation 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 ; OECD ; Sinclair and Baglioni It seems clear that this considerable interest in social innovation has been intimately linked to the Great Recession, structural unemployment and the social challenges arising as a result European Commission a.

Skip to main content. This service is more advanced with JavaScript available. Advertisement Hide. Social Innovation Policy in the European Union. Chapter First Online: 26 January This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Brussels: Bureau of European Policy Advisers.

Innovating for a Higher Purpose

Google Scholar. Bonoli, G. CrossRef Google Scholar. Borzaga, C.

Innovation: The History of a Buzzword

What to Make of Social Innovation? Towards a Framework for Policy Development. Social Policy and Society — Caulier-Grice, J. Davies, R. Patrick, and W. Chen, Y. Molana, C. Montagna, and Y. Globalisation and the Future of the Welfare State. Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor. European Commission. Investing in Social Europe.

Brussels: European Commission.To browse Academia. Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Social Innovation on the Rise: yet another buzzword in a time of austerity?

Francesco Grisolia. Emanuele Ferragina. The changes within the Italian healthcare system, one of the most important sectors of the welfare state, in which the concept of social innovation has been widely discussed, are a clear example of a broader trend toward decentralisation and marketization.

social innovation on the rise: yet another buzzword in a time of

In conjunction with a new balance between public and private funding, these changes are contributing to increased inequalities and territorial disparities. The call to social innovation, if not embedded within a structural reform of the Italian welfare state and the health care system, might simply become a convenient buzzword to forward the neoliberal ideology in a time of austerity.

Keywords: social innovation; neoliberalism; austerity.

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We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their insightful suggestions and constructive comments. Social innovation is commonly defined as new ideas products, services and models that simultaneously meet social needs and create new social relationships or collaborations.

These innovations are considered both good for society and capable of enacting greater societal involvement in the provision of social services Murray, Caulier-Griece and Mulgan,p. The Young Foundation, in order to distinguish between social and business innovation, stressed that social innovation is developed and diffused via organisations, whose primary purposes are not centred on mere profit maximisation Mulgan et al.

The Bureau of European Policy Advisers more precisely defined social innovation as socially oriented in both ends and means Hubert, According to these definitions, social innovation is characterised by: the capacity to address social needs that traditional policy seems increasingly unable to tackle; the empowerment of groups and individuals; and the willingness to change social relations.

Hence, social innovation is often presented as a way to increase the quality of social services and their cost-effectiveness, offering equivalent, if not superior, outcomes despite considerable budget constraints. The aim of this paper is to question the idea that social innovation can substantially address the deficiencies and inadequacies of the welfare state.

In particular, discussing the case of the Italian health care system, we show that social innovation cannot counter-balance increasing cuts in social spending. The paper has two sections. For a discussion, see Eysenbachand Cipolla and Maturo The second analyses the changes within the Italian healthcare system as part of a wider trend of reforms in Europe that are contributing to increasing inequalities.

We conclude by suggesting that a social innovation perspective, which is not embedded within a structural reform of the Italian welfare state and the health care system, might simply become a convenient buzzword, useful for advancing the neoliberal agenda in a time of austerity5, rather than a tool for addressing the social challenges we are facing today.

The context The effectiveness, flexibility and economic sustainability of welfare states have been under severe scrutiny since the s. More recently, the emergence of the welfare mix 6 debate has primarily focused on the necessity to decrease state funding for social services while meeting, at the same time, rapidly growing welfare demands 7. This debate clearly overlaps with the spread of social innovation idea within policy-making and academia. In particular, there are two areas of convergence.

The concept of social innovation emerged 8 during the s in a political and economic context characterised by the end of Fordism and the attempt of neoliberalism to actively promote the reduction of public 5 For a description of neoliberal ideology and its multiple manifestations, see Gamble and Harvey Weber and Durkheim and in the influential definition of innovation proposed by Schumpeter. In this regard, see also Moulaert and Moulaert et al.Policy makers and funding agencies increasingly emphasize the social nature of innovation.

However, focusing just on the product side of social innovation might easily reduce the concept to commercialization of social goods.

Engagement of all stakeholders in the knowledge co-creation process makes innovation really social. The aim of this paper is to highlight the essential elements of a social value creation based support system that would engage all stakeholders to the innovation process.

To explore this guideline, we conducted a case-study research using qualitative data collected from diverse stakeholders of an NGO involved in early age child education in Turkey. Our findings suggest that social innovation based support systems require an architecture bridging the coordination of both online collaboration and knowledge management tools to the offline communities of practice.

The most important challenge to this architecture is integrating piecemeal tools and practices into a social ecological system. Skip to main content. This service is more advanced with JavaScript available. Advertisement Hide. Conference paper First Online: 02 December This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

FORA, Copenhagen. Strategy Environ. Lee, J. Dekkers, R. Ameri, F. Aided Des. EC, Luxembourg. Terzi, S. Lifecycle Manag. Mulgan, G.

Innovations Spring— Google Scholar. Murray, R. Grisolia, F. Shamir, R. Law Soc. Millar, C. Cajaiba-Santana, G. A conceptual framework.

social innovation on the rise: yet another buzzword in a time of

Change 8242—45 CrossRef Google Scholar. Huddart, S. Borsato, M.This week, we will do something that's a bit different from our recent shows. We will be discussing innovation buzzwords, things that are often misused inside and outside of the innovation world. A buzzword is a term that can be technical or specific to an industry or a job function.

It is often used to impress ordinary people, and also often pushing them away. One typical example is synergywhich simply means working together.

Another example would be clickbaitwhich is used as a negative slam for those who create content. Growth hacking is also a buzzword that has gone way overboard. It consists of trying to figure out how to grow an organization. It would be so much easier if we just simplified our language in a way that everyone could understand it.

In the Innovation game, we have our own set of buzzwords that tend to drive people crazy. The number one innovation buzzword in my book is design-thinking.

This buzzword has been around for quite some time and is a term hated by actual designers. The original intent was to find a process in which the needs of the user were conceived from the start of the project and all the way through.

These days, design-thinking has lost its meaning and fully turned into an innovation buzzword. We at The Innovators Network teach workshops on the process of ideation. What does it mean? Ideation is a process where innovators generate ideas. People outside of the innovation industry can be highly annoyed by it. In reality, it is a made-up word. What is the difference between ideation and brainstorming? The output of both ideation and brainstorming is ideas.

In some cases, you can argue that the usage of ideation arose as a way to find new clients. The next buzzword is one that I also use a lot. Disruptors may not necessarily be bad people, but they come in and disrupt already established settings.

An example of this would be Uber changing the ride-hailing industry. Uber disrupted the industry earning itself the reputation of a disruptor.

The challenge is that everyone and their mother says they are an innovator. People often describe themselves as innovators to be seen as extraordinary. Some argue that innovator is not a buzzword, but I say it is based on how much it is thrown around and applied so loosely.


The next innovation buzzword we will discuss is system-thinking. You may have heard of this from one of the big six consulting houses attempting to differentiate themselves.

I used to be part of this group, so I understand what these companies are trying to do. They use the term system-thinking in which they look at complicated things as systems rather than a defined and well-understood process.

They are trying to make something sound way more complicated than it is. Next, we have the buzzword pain pointswhich refer to answering the things that drive customers crazy.

Another buzzword used is social innovation, which I have had a good amount of experience with. This term has been used to the point that it is almost meaningless. It is meant to focus on innovating to fix a social problem.

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