The role of current public policies is fit in the reality of social innovations. Actions and activities by citizens and organisations underpin social innovation and help to tackle the new challenges in each of the policy areas.
The question for the SI-DRIVE project is how public policies (and politics) can support such actions and help social innovations scale up to achieve systemic change. Our theoretical research will provide insights into the nature of social innovation and the relationship between social innovation and public policy. Our mapping exercises will generate understanding of social innovation in each of the policy fields, and how these vary across different countries and world regions. For the SI-DRIVE project to deliver such policy recommendations, we will need to bind the theoretical and practical results together with the current policy models used in the European context.
We see the “The New Synthesis”-framework of Bourgon (see figure above; the framework of compliance, performance, emergence and resilience in public policies) as a useful dynamic frame of reference which can provide guidance to public officials in practice. In the SI-DRIVE-project, we will need to tie together our analyses for social innovation policies together with the foresight studies, but also connect our results to the multilevel nature of government and governance in the European setting. Our end result will be the following four objectives of the policy recommendations:
- Understanding of collaboration between public administration/policy makers and social innovation/innovators.
- Understand how social innovations can support the performance side of public administration.
- Understand which skill competencies and systems are needed for public policy makers in a social innovation environment (how to manage networks, competence in systems thinking, harnessing collective intelligence; fostering social innovation).
- Understand how policy makers can support social innovations to help build resilient communities and societies.
Our approach to achieve the required policy recommendations is to use a set of discussions between social innovators and public policy makers. We will start with policy area discussions with experts and policy makers. As input to these discussions, we will first start with a foresight study. The results of these discussions will feed into a
multilevel foresight and governance discussion (regional policy makers, national level, European level) based on a discussion with national policy maker on examples how to approach social innovation and a discussion with European policy makers. Within these separate round tables, we are also looking at the divide between politics and public administration.