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Social innovation in Local Government - Experiences from Denmark

Karsten Frøhlich Hougaard

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Social innovation in Local Government - Experiences from Denmark

 Social innovation has great potential when it comes to easing the negative social effects of the local government budget cuts currently being implemented throughout Europe. Social innovation is about finding new ways to respond to social needs while at the same time enhancing society’s capacity to act. In most European countries, local governments function as the main day-to-day providers of social solutions – in Denmark, one can almost talk of a monopoly.

This article introduces the concept of social innovation in a local government context, discusses its potentials, and provides an insight into how local authorities can promote social innovation and integrate it efficiently as part of their everyday activities. It concludes that in order for local governments to reap the full benefits of social innovation, they should increasingly move from being “fixers” to “facilitators”.