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EU President discusses “social innovation”

23 January, 2009

I came to this announcement through Putting People First, a great blog for those interested in the social dimensions of design.  The article suggests that European interest in understanding “soft” aspects of innovation — moving beyond seeing progress and innovation as primarily technological in nature — is still strong.

The short article published by the European Commission provides a fairly concise definition of how “social innovation” is being conceptualised:

Social innovation means the design and implementation of creative ways of meeting social needs. It covers a wide field ranging from new models of childcare to web-based social networks, from the delivery of healthcare at home to new ways of encouraging people to use sustainable means of transport. Social innovation can help in the development of better models of eldercare, or in finding new ways to change work and travel habits to cut carbon emissions, or new ways to accompany and support young people in their transition to adulthood. Europe has a great tradition of social innovation and a wealth of civic organisations and social entrepreneurs. Examples of social innovation highlighted during the meeting are an initiative which creates local partnerships to reintegrate socially excluded, homeless or those released from prisons, or leaving orphanage; a European initiative among local authorities, business circles and private initiatives to help young adults without a qualification to reintegrate into a learning and work pathway; a community which has welcomed and rehabilitated socially marginalised individuals and drug addicts.

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