Social Innovation Community

A range of social innovation organisations and networks have emerged in Europe in recent years to tackle the increasingly complex and interrelated challenges we face today. Yet too often this activity is limited to a small but active few, and is not well-coordinated or visible enough to achieve critical mass. Run by a consortium of 12 leading organisations across Europe, the Social Innovation Community (SIC) aimed to build an inclusive and interconnected community to create a more favourable environment for social innovations to emerge and develop across Europe.

This community or network of networks built on existing social innovation communities – including public sector innovation, digital social innovation, intermediaries, social economy actors, cities & regions and community led innovation. Through its activities the project helped to deepen the knowledge and capacity of the networks to act and grow and support public decision-makers and other stakeholders to work with social innovators more effectively in solving public challenges.

Starting from the premise that we need more open innovation approaches to effectively address societal challenges, the Social Innovation Community project ran a series of on- and offline activities, including place-based experiments, supporting five innovation host centers, providing summer schools, social learning workshops and policy masterclasses, the creation of a digital learning platform, research activities and more. Each of the (existing) networks had a dedicated network facilitator connecting the activities to their network and working to transform and enhance relationships within and across the networks.

Role of DRIFT
DRIFT was involved with several of the consortium activities related to social learning, experimentation and research. DRIFT monitors and evaluates five host centers across Europe throughout the duration of the project. We also contributed a review on the collaborative and sharing economy to the Research Landscape of Social Innovation report and organized a number of workshops to accelerate social innovation research throughout the project.

The first transformative research session on the new economy took place on June the 8th, 2017. You can find a summary here. With regard to the learning activities, DRIFT co-facilitated the first social innovation summer school in 2017 in Bologna and conducted a literature review of social innovation in higher education and a review of the current offering of social innovation learning programmes in Europe.

Furthermore the Transition Academy developed and delivered a series of workshops that complemented and deepened the learning processes of social innovation actors and support learning across the Social Innovation Community networks. In November 2017, the first SIC Learning Relay, focusing on Transformative Impact, was organized in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Read more
Do you want to read more about the activities and learnings resulting from the Social Innovation Community project? The DRIFT team summarized and shared main insights and promising resources that resulted from our involvement in a five-part blog series! You can start to read here.

And do you want to learn more about the resources and knowledge? Visit the SIC website.

Duration of the project
The SIC project ran from February 2016 to February 2019

The Social Innovation Community project has received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 693883, Social Innovation Community.

AEIDL – project coordinator and facilitating the social economy network; TUDO – leading the research work package; UNIBO  – leading the learning work package and facilitating the cities and regions network); YF The Young Foundation –  leading the experimentation work package and facilitating community-led innovation network and intermediaries; Nesta –  leading the policy work package and facilitating the DSI network; SIL involved with experimentation, learning and policy workpackage; Sinnergiak UPV/EHU – facilitating the public sector innovators network; ZSI –  leading the strategy work package; DTI – facilitating collaborative and sharing economy, corporate social innovation and inclusive development networks; SIX (Social Innovation Exchange) – leading the engagement and dissemination work; REVES

Julia Wittmayer (Project Lead), Marijke de Pous (Social Learning lead), Sophie Buchel, Giorgia Silvestri