TRANSIT presents: Learning for Change | Final Conference

14 Sep, 2017

Social innovation has been heralded as an effective way of dealing with societal challenges and has found its way into policy discourses across the EU. The optimistic assumptions made about social innovation merit scrutiny however, as they seem to underestimate the complexity of these challenges. At the final conference of the TRANSIT research project, we will be sharing insights on the transformative nature of social innovation, while also seeking to foster new connections and knowledge in support of a transition to just, resilient and sustainable societies.
Update: the TRANSIT conference is fully booked! Staying tuned? Follow the conference on Facebook and Twitter for live updates.

TRANSIT is a research project on the transformative power of social innovation. After almost four years of research on two continents and lots of insights, events and work with social innovations, the “Learning for Change” conference is the final event of our project. It will happen between 14 and 15 September in BlueCity, Rotterdam.

The conference will explore the empowering and transformative potentials of social innovation in the face of persistent problems and growing complexity. This will include a critical approach, open to the paradoxes of social innovation and the diversity of interactions between actors engaging in it. Attention will also be given to the fundamental question of how transformative change can be generated through learning.

Key themes:

  • Paradoxes of transformative social innovation: Social innovation is widely heralded as the proverbial silver bullet, but is it really? In some cases, governments have used it to fill the gap left by a retreating welfare state; and in others, it has exacerbated social tensions by fuelling exclusion. If we truly want to generate a transformative impact, we need to have an honest conversation and include the good, the bad and the ugly of social innovation.
  • Activating the hybrid sphere – institutions and social innovation beyond the friend-foe distinction: The relationships between governments and social innovations are as multi-faceted and complex as these actors themselves. Yet, we tend to reduce their interactions to a pure positive or pure negative, overlooking the diversity of ways in which they are linked. TRANSIT will offer a conceptual framework, as a basis for mapping these out and discussing them. We hope this will enable a meaningful conversation for policymakers and practitioners to collaborate.
  • Learning by sharing narratives of change: Transforming our societies calls for new ways of thinking, organising and doing, which in turn requires dedicated learning processes and story-telling. Since all social innovations involve new practices, they come across similar learning issues. Rather than reinventing the wheel, we can exchange experiences, share our narratives of change and collectively reflect and think about how we together can make change happen – via sustainable lifestyles, emancipation, entrepreneurial support or the fine-tuning of institutions.


Read more:

Learn more about the conference and the programme by visiting the Learning for Change-homepage or read everything about TRANSIT at our projectpage. Staying tuned during the conference? Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.