Social Innovation Community in Retrospect – 2: Learning and Innovating Education

After three exciting years, the Social Innovation Community project, aiming to strengthen, connect and grow existing social innovation communities, came to an end. What did we learn during the project? The DRIFT team shares some main insights and a number of promising resources that resulted from our involvement in a series of five blogs. We started with insights on how SIC enhanced connections between science and society; in this second part, Marijke de Pous, Marieke Verhagen and Giorgia Silvestri elaborate on the SIC exploration of theories on and design of social innovation education. 

One of the aims of DRIFT is to foster transformative change towards sustainable futures and to trigger social innovation processes. To do so, experimental, reflexive and innovative learning processes need to be understood, designed and facilitated. The SIC project gave us the opportunity to explore theories and empirical evidence on social innovation education, as well as to design and facilitate experimental and innovative education formats for enhancing social innovation.

Learning Principles and Processes
As part of the SIC project, we developed a study to explore the Learning Principles and Processes in the context of Social Innovation. The overall aim of this study was to empirically analyse learning processes happening in different Social Innovation contexts, to classify and discuss them and to produce a set of recommendations to fulfill the gaps existing in the field of Social Innovation education. This was done by conducting multiple literature reviews and by analysing 14 real-life case studies.

The results of this study are: 1) the development of the SIC learning framework, a general model of learning that can be used when designing Social Innovation education programmes; 2) an overview of the main education offerings available in Europe and beyond on Social Innovation; and 3) the identification of gaps and opportunities for Social Innovation education programmes. If you would like to have additional information about the study on Social Innovation Learning Principles & Processes, you can read this blog on the SIC website, where you can also download the report of the study.

Social Innovation Relays
Social Innovation Relays are another activity developed as part of SIC project. Social Innovation Relays are based on an experimental blended learning format. They combine an inspiring face-to-face kick-off workshop with digital communication and meet-ups in a peer-to-peer learning environment in which experienced facilitators provide a professional support structure. Through the Social Innovation Relays, participants had the opportunity to share each other’s knowledge and networks as well as to get constructive inputs for each other’s challenges. The blended and peer-to-peer learning format of the Relays allowed the participants to continue supporting each other around their learning questions also after the kick-off workshop. In total, a series of three (separate) Social Innovation Relays were organised, each one with a different thematic focus, location, and group of participants:

As part of the Social Innovation Relays, a Learning Relay Toolkit, consisting of a number of social innovation tools and methods, has been produced and included in the SI Learning Repository.

If you would like further information about the Social Innovation Relays, you can read this blog on the SIC website.

Do you want to read more about insights that resulted from the Social Innovation Community project? Read the first blog, in which Julia Wittmayer and Sarah Rach explain how the project enhanced connections between science and society, part three on experimenting with social innovation & evaluation, written by Giorgia Silvestri and Sophie Buchel, the fourth blog on the writing workshop power & empowerment in social innovation, written by Flor Avelino, or blog 5, in which Julia Wittmayer looks forward: how can we apply the lessons learned?

And do you want to learn more about the Social Innovation Community? Visit our project page.

The research leading to the results mentioned in this blog has received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 693883, Social Innovation Community.

June 25, 2019