SI Drive Newsletter

Issue #4 / December 17th 2014


Welcome to the SI-Drive Newsletter

Fourth edition

Welcome to the fourth eNewsletter of SI-DRIVE, a large-scale research project funded in the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme (FP 7). In our fourth edition we focus amongst others on the SI LIVE conference which brought together stakeholders from different projects dealing with social innovation.





European event brings together social innovation research and practice


SI LIVE was a two-day international event exploring the future of social innovation research, incubation and action. The event gathered leading social innovators, academics and practitioners to discuss and explore the future research agenda for social innovation, how best to incubate and scale social innovations, and how the EU can help to strengthen and develop the field of social innovation in Europe.

SI LIVE was coordinated by Louise Pulford (The Social Innovation Exchange, SIX), supported by the CALOUSTE GULBENKIAN FOUNDATION in Lisbon and brought together SI-DRIVE and three other consortia:

  • TEPSIE is a research collaboration between six European institutions aimed at understanding the theoretical, empirical and policy foundations for developing the field of social innovation in Europe.
  • TRANSITION is a 30-month project that supports the scaling-up of social innovations across Europe by developing a network of incubators which gathers established partners within the fields of social innovation and innovation-based incubation.
  • BENISI seeks to build a Europe-wide network of networks of incubators for social innovation. This network will proactively identify at least 300 social innovations that are identified with high potential for scaling successfully, and ensure the delivery of necessary support services to those social innovations.

During the two-day event on 12th and 13th November in Lisbon, members of the SI-DRIVE consortium shared perspectives on social innovation during the “Global Social Innovation Tour”: Maria Elisa Bernal (The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLA) from Colombia informed about social innovation and its focus on poverty reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean. Anne de Bruin, Directress of the New Zealand Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research Centre (SIERC), provided impressive examples of SI projects in her home country. Swati Banerjee (Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation, CLSI) provided insights into Indian SI experiences. Hamid El Zoheiry (Heliopolis University Cairo) gave an impressive presentation on the state of the art of social innovation in the Mediterranean area. And finally, Lindi van Niekerk (Bertha Centre of Social Innovation) shared the issue on how the “transformative paradigm” is making a change in South Africa.

Kriss Deiglmeier, founding Executive Director for the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford and now working for TIDES (USA), informed about drivers, trends and pending research questions on social innovation. She focussed in particular on the “stagnation chasm” phenomenon many social entrepreneurs are facing when diffusing their idea and scaling their start up. Jürgen Howaldt presented the “Soziale Innovationen für Deutschland” declaration which has recently been handed over to the German Federal Government. The SI-DRIVE project took the opportunity and met for another full day to prepare and launch the empirical research phase in which 1.000 cases of social innovations will be collected and analysed.

Further information with regard to the event is available here:, photos are available here:




first SI-DRIVE REPORT Completed

Theoretical approaches to Social Innovation – A Critical Literature Review


The SI-DRIVE report “Theoretical approaches to Social Innovation – A Critical Literature Review” delivers a comprehensive overview on the state of the art of theoretically relevant building blocks for advancing a conceptual understanding of social innovation. It collects different approaches which are conducive to a deeper understanding of social innovation. The chapters, focusing on (1) Theories of Social Change, (2) Social Innovation Studies and (3) Innovation and Management Studies, help to clarify the scientific concept of social innovation as a new combination or figuration of social practices. The report will guide the upcoming empirical research: the mapping of social innovation cases in the seven policy fields of SI-DRIVE as well as the case study analysis.

The report is available here: D1_1 Critical Literature Review


First SI-DRIVE publication released



Social Innovations for Germany

Declaration Published

Social innovations have increasingly to be considered and implemented in order to overcome the grand societal challenges of our societies today. This is the key message of the declaration „Social Innovations for Germany“. The declaration is the result of a consultation process lasting more than 12 months and involving policy-makers, scientists and representatives of the civil society and the economy. Among others, the Centre for Social Investments and Innovations at Heidelberg University, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Fraunhofer IAO and Genisis Institute for Social Innovation and Impact Strategies participated in the process. The declaration was initiated by TU Dortmund University / Sozialforschungsstelle and EBS University of Economics and Law.

The declaration has been sent to the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and handed over to the Chairman of the German high-tech strategy’s Advisory Board, Prof. Andreas Barner.

The declaration (in German language) can be accessed here:



Social Innovation Research

SI Studies from SI-DRIVE Partners


"Social Innovation and Regional Innovation Systems" from Anna Butzin and Dieter Rehfeld (Institute for Work and Technology - IAT) is an explorative exercise based on current theoretical discussions of two FP7 projects on social innovation (SI DRIVE and SIMPACT). Four key questions were in the central focus of the study: 1) What are the systemic elements of a fruitful regional environment for social innovation processes and how can it be developed and supported? 2) What regional infrastructures enable better integration of technological, economic and social aspects in innovation processes? 3) What role does science play in the process of social innovations? 4) What are the knowledge dynamics characterizing social innovation processes?

"Economic Underpinnings of Social Innovation – New Modes of Policy Production" from Judith Terstriep (Westphalian University, IAT) and Peter Totterdill (The UK Work Organisation Network - UK WON) investigated the impact of social innovation as new solution for dealing with results of the current economic crisis in Europe. Against this backdrop this paper examines the necessity for new modes of policy production arising from the revitalisation of social innovation as means of tackling the socio-economic challenges that regions are facing. It argues that a positive role for the state in stimulating, resourcing and sustaining social innovation means moving beyond traditional ways of designing and delivering public policies and programmes.

Both studies will be published on the SI-DRIVE website soon.


SI studies released



A boost for social innovation

Outstanding enterprises in the field of social innovation in the spotlight

Under the title "Need a boost towards social innovation?" creativ wirtschaft austria together with the EU-office of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) presented three outstanding enterprises who have established themselves successfully in the area of social innovation. Keynote speaker Anette Scoppetta (ZSI), focused in her presentation "Social innovation: just a new buzzword or a new way forward?" amongst others on central aims of SI-DRIVE: these include the global mapping of social innovation cases, the analysis and promotion of success factors of social innovations in different policy areas and the determination of the nature, characteristics and impacts of social innovation. Furthermore she provided background information about the framework conditions which are necessary for the implementation of innovations that have the potential to solve major social challenges within the EU.

Austrian economy & social innovation



German „High-Tech Strategy“ puts social innovation on the agenda

Social Innovation on governmental LEvel

In its “High-Tech Strategy” publication the German Federal Government is defining its overall innovation concept and its research and innovation approach for the upcoming years. The strategy used to outline the market potentials of different technologies in order to improve Germany’s competitiveness in global markets. The 2014 edition makes a difference by formulating “a comprehensive term of innovation which covers not only technological but also social innovations”, including society as main actor. „Especially, we need technological and social innovations leading to new services for new markets and which are characterized by societal benefit. Services require distinct patterns of innovation“, elaborates the strategy paper, concluding that „social innovations can contribute to overcoming the challenges of societal and regional change“.

The “High-Tech Strategy” publication can be accessed here:



Coming Soon ...

Fifth SI-Drive Newsletter


The fifth SI-DRIVE newsletter will be issued in March 2015. Amongst others, it will focus on the analysis framework of SI-DRIVE.

Please register at our si-drive website if you are willing to receive regular information.


Fifth SI-DRIVE newsletter

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EU This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 612870.