Session set 1

Parallel sessions on social innovation topics: First session set on 18.11., 11.30 – 13.00

Session title Speakers, discussants and moderators Central questions and session topics
Life cycles of social innovations Effie AMANATIDOU, University of Manchester, Manchester
Paul BENNEWORTH, University of Twente, Twente
Andrea BASSI and Giulio ECCHIA, SIMPACT project, University of Bologna, Bologna
Susanne GIESECKE, CRESSI project, Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna
Klaus KUBECZKO, CRESSI project, Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna
Nadia VON JACOBI, CRESSI project, University of Pavia, Pavia
Thorvald GRAN, University of Bergen, Bergen
What can we learn from the long-term study of social innovation to influence the positive outcomes for society as a whole? To answer this question, we will utilise a life-cycle-approach, helping to analyse how an innovation starts from a niche position, becomes a regime and finally reaches the status of a “landscape” or social transformation (Geels and Schot 2007). In the setting of the session we invite short inputs from two to three cases and will apply a world café format to identify common or specific determinants which affect the life course of a social innovation.
Empowerment for vulnerable people through “digital social innovation” Lucia DAL NEGRO, De-LAB, Italy
Ingo BOSSE and Christian BÜHLER, TU Dortmund University, Dortmund
Christoph KALETKA, SI-DRIVE project, TU Dortmund University, Dortmund
Jeremy MILLARD, SI-DRIVE project, Brunel University, London
Gianluca MISURACA, EC, Joint Research Centre. Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (JRC-IPTS), Seville
Bastian PELKA, SIMPACT project, TU Dortmund University, Dortmund
Gabriel RISSOLA, I-LINC project, Telecentre Europe, Brussels
This session deals with a triple intersection: It asks for social innovations empowering vulnerable people and focuses on those social innovations which are either “supported” or “enabled” (Millard/Carpenter 2014) by digital technology (“digital social innovations” DSI, Bria 2014). The notion of “Social Innovation” is based on the understanding of Howaldt/Schwarz (2010) as “new social practices”, trying to solve problems in a better way than existing practices. The notion of “vulnerable people” refers to those hindered from meaningful participation in various social fields, like employment, education or health by the social and technological environment.
The session asks for contributions which address one or more of the following topics (non exhaustive):
• How (far) can social innovations for vulnerable people be supported or enabled by digital means?
• Which aspects of vulnerability could be addressed by digital social innovations in particular?
• and more
Social innovation ecosystems Jürgen HOWALDT, SI-DRIVE project, TU Dortmund University, Dortmund
Dmitri DOMANSKI, SI-DRIVE project, TU Dortmund University, Dortmund
Dieter REHFELD, SI-DRIVE project, IAT, Gelsenkirchen
Anna BUTZIN, SI-DRIVE project, IAT, Gelsenkirchen
Harry FULGENCIO, Leiden University
Nicolás MONGE, LaFIS, Santiago de Chile
Despite growing awareness of the significance of social innovation in successfully addressing societal challenges, there is still no sustained and systematic analysis of social innovation, its theories, characteristics and impacts. Also, the relationship between social innovation and social change remains a largely under-explored area in social sciences as well as government innovation policies. What we need to understand are the conditions, under which social innovations develop, sustain, and finally lead to social change. As ensemble performances they emerge at the interfaces between different societal sectors. Increasingly, innovation policies in addition to supporting new technologies also start focusing on such ecosystems. But what are social innovation ecosystems exactly? How do they emerge and function? In what capacity do different actors understand and develop social innovations? What are the success factors for social innovations in communities, cities, regions, and states?
Beyond ‘scaling up’: spatial perspectives on social innovation
Iris KUNZE, TRANSIT project, University of Natural Ressources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Noel LONGHURST, TRANSIT project, University of East Anglia, Norwich
The discourse of ‘scaling up’ social innovations initiatives continues to pre-occupy practitioner networks and parts of the academic literature. Whilst this focus is understandable – and in many cases laudable – it is often based on an underdeveloped notion of scale and a neglect of the wider spatial dimensions of social innovation. The purpose of this session is to open up a wider conversation about the relevance of place, space and scale for social innovation. In particular the session will focus on social and material constitution of spaces. It is concerned with understanding the social practices, institutional forces, and material complexity of how humans and spaces interact.
We invite the presenters and participants to address the following questions:
Who/what is actually changing space and place?
What kinds of spaces and places are relevant for social innovation? How are they produced?
What kinds of space and place are produced by social innovations?
What can a critique of the ‘scaling up’ discourse provide? What other spatial metaphors might replace the scalar?
What kinds of space are relevant for disseminating of social innovations? Is scaling up a necessary condition? Can e.g. ‘heterotopias’ – ‘other’ places – hold stable ‘niches’ for social innovations?
Innovating research? Approaches and methods to research social innovation Julia WITTMAYER, TRANSIT project, Dutch Research Institute For Transitions, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam
Antonius SCHRÖDER, SI-DRIVE project, TU Dortmund University, Dortmund
This session critically takes stock of the different approaches and methods available for studying social innovation. Topics to be addressed are: What are current research approaches and methods for studying social innovation? What are the challenges and gaps of these approaches and methods? Should we (and if so how) innovate the way we do social innovation research?
Theories of change in sustainability transitions: the role of agency Flor AVELINO, TRANSIT project, Dutch Research Institute For Transitions, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam
Adina DUMITRU, TRANSIT project, University of Coruña, A Coruña
Social innovation initiatives, political actors and science itself are striving to understand the mechanisms for societal transformation. Initiatives endorse certain theories of change as well as beliefs about stability, transformation and the appropriate tools to achieve their goals, and these are likely to play a significant role in their ultimate effectiveness. Furthermore, different scientific approaches hold different assumptions on how transformation takes place and on the role of agency in these processes. Not much is known about how these theories are articulated in social change initiatives and how they change over time through the experiences of the networks in achieving their goals. The session will aim analyze the interplay of scientific and initiatives’ theories of change, processes of individual and collective agency and mechanisms by which effective societal transformation is achieved.
Service design, public sector and social innovation Alessandro DESERTI, SIMPACT project, Politecnico di Milano, Milan
Francesca RIZZO, SIMPACT project, University of Bologna, Bologna
The economic, demographic, social, and environmental long-term challenges are calling for deep changes, questioning many of the assumptions that have underpinned public services and posing new challenges for institutions, policy makers, civil servants, and communities. While austerity measures are being adopted, innovative solutions based on the active involvement and engagement of citizens emerge as a new paradigm, questioning the established welfare systems and raising quite a few unsolved problems. In this scenario, design thinking (Brown, 2009) is being interpreted as a mean to generate innovative solutions, to reshape services and to change the ways in which they are conceived and delivered. The session will investigate how service and participatory design processes can be applied to foster innovation in the public sector, and how prototypes and small-scale experiments can be scaled and turned into diffused practices.
Set of relevant questions and challenges.
– What is the desired impact of design culture on SI?
– How can we introduce design culture as an agent of change in public organisations?
– How can we relate design experiments to policy making to create impact and scale innovative solutions in the public sector?


Excursion on 18.11., 11.30 – 14.00 (lunch break and lunch included)

Excursion title Organisers Key topic
Excursion: ‘Social Lunch’ at ‘magdas Hotel’, a site of social innovation in Vienna Herbert SCHNEPF, Gabriela SONNLEITNER, magdas Hotel, Vienna
Eugene QUINN, space and place, Vienna
‘magdas Hotel’ employs refugees and hosts ‘social dinners’, where citizens from Vienna meet asylum seekers. In the excursion the concept of the hotel will be explained during a ‘social lunch’ where conference participants meet asylum seekers.‘magdas Hotel’ employs refugees and hosts ‘social dinners’, where citizens from Vienna meet asylum seekers. In the excursion the concept of the hotel will be explained during a ‘social lunch’ where conference participants meet asylum seekers.