Social innovation on the European agenda

Karsten Frøhlich Hougaard

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Social innovation on the European agenda

Rising unemployment, increasing poverty, more marginalised young people and a growing number of senior citizens – these are just some of the social challenges that Europe will be facing in the future. Social innovation can become a new and effective way to address these problems.
Not through a reduction in public tasks and core services, but through new frameworks and solutions that mobilise already existing resources in the local communities.

A joint contribution
In many European countries – not least in Scandinavia – it has been a tradition that social challenges are handled almost exclusively by the public sector, also challenges that the public sector may not be the best at solving.

Social innovation is about sustainability and respect for the individual’s resources and potential and therefore social innovation often requires new types of partnerships and makes it necessary to think in untraditional ways through dialogue and experiments.

New models for cooperation
Danish Technological Institute is currently engaged in a number of projects that will contribute to encouraging social innovation in Europe. We are particularly involved in mapping and advising policy makers about new and sustainable models for cooperation between society’s different stakeholder – including public institutions, companies, associations, voluntary organisation and ordinary citizens.
Hopefully social innovation will help to solve some of the new problems that our society is facing with new economic opportunities, new skills, entrepreneurship, value societies and much more.
Danish Technological Institute at the forefront
As the demand for new and more effective social solutions increases, Danish Technological Institute will increase our work in the area, and in the years to come we will be involved in a number of initiatives and projects. Among other things, these initiatives and projects will lay the foundation for and develop new knowledge, focus critically on the potential of and barriers to social innovation; address the interaction between public services and social innovation and discuss how social innovation can become rooted in the local communities.