Social innovation stems from people’s unfulfilled needs. It creates social value or change and thereby drives social development and renewal in society.
It is society’s hidden growth and value maker and an expression of our social evolution. It is an expression of how we think, learn, live and work. And it is about new solutions that solve societal problems or meet people’s unfulfilled needs in new ways that improve their lives.
The co-operative movement, legislation, tax, therapy, insurance, stenography, labour unions, social welfare centres, kindergartens, management concepts, pedagogical methods and e-learning are all examples of social innovations that have emerged in the context of a particular period in history to meet the needs of their time.
Today social innovation is again proving to be a significant driver of creating both economic and social value in benefit of society. In fact, the concept of money as a means of transaction between people is a social innovation that can be traced back to around 3200 B.C. and now being developed and adapted in support of a sustainable future.
Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) and other local currencies, venture philanthropy, microcredit, CSR (corporate social responsibility), the market-based Fairtrade system, Gross Company Happiness measures, emissions trading and hybrid social business models are all examples of recent concepts that have been born from permeating traditional borders between economics and humanism as answers to some of the vital sustainability questions that are being asked right now.
Public awareness of successful social innovations is, however, still limited. Therefore, Euclid Network in partnership with The European Commission and Social Innovation eXchange (SIX) will showcase 10 large-scale successful examples of socially innovative initiatives to help people in Europe and beyond to understand and promote social innovation. Read more about some of the social innovation case studies that have already been identified here.