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Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation

Periodic Report Summary 2 - CRESSI (Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation)

Project Context and Objectives:
The CrESSI project explores the economic underpinnings of social innovation, with a particular focus on how policy and practice can enhance the lives of the most marginalised and disempowered citizens in society. The four-year project was commenced in February 2014. It has already resulted in the publication of a series of working papers based on project deliverables, which are publicly available on the CrESSI website (

Overall, the CrESSI project takes an institutionalist view of the key issues when exploring the drivers and structures that lead to marginalisation and disempowerment. This research also aims to set out how interventions drawing on social innovation can address major economic, social and power imbalances and inequalities. The project draws upon three interlinked strands of theory to provide an overarching conceptual framework: Beckert’s social grid model; Sen’s capabilities approach; and Mann’s analysis of power structures and their enactments.

The main research work packages focus on: establishing an economic theory and context for social innovation across the EU; contextualising social innovation within established research and practice on technological innovation; exploring emergent social innovation ecosystems and lifecycles; setting out effective policy agendas and instruments for fostering social innovation; and establishing good practice metrics for capturing the impact of social innovation.

The conceptual and theoretical elements of the project are being tested and revised with a rigorous programme of empirical data collection and analyses. This has encompassed qualitative case studies and linked quantitative analyses, with a focus on key topic areas across several EU Member States that can inform the EU-wide (including European Commission) debates on building smart economies that reduce inequality and socio-economic marginalisation.

In addition, discrete work packages focus on the overall management of the project and the dissemination of its key findings and contributions.
Project Results:
The CrESSI project brings together 8 partners, from 7 EU countries: University of Oxford (UK), University of Greifswald (Germany), Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), Heidelberg University (Germany), University of Pavia (Italy), Austrian Institute of Technology (Austria), University of Tampere (Finland) and CERS-HAS (Hungary). There are ten work packages, including one (Work Package 9) on internal project management. At present, 3 work packages (1, 2 and 3) are completed and 4 are almost finalised (4, 5, 6 and 7). Work on a further 2 work packages is currently on-going (8 and 10). Public deliverables have been published on CrESSI website; 33 working papers have been published so far, based on the completed project deliverables that were submitted to the EC and on papers presented at conferences. 8 Summary reports resulting from different work packages are also available at CrESSI website (See Table 1 and 2 attached). Progresses can be summarised as follows:
• Work Package 1 was completed by March2015. Theory and Practice in Terms of the Vulnerable and Marginalised was completely finalised. All deliverables were submitted and published as a series of working papers.
• Work Package 2 deals with the integrated qualitative case studies of the CrESSI project. Work was completed by October 2015. All deliverables were submitted and a summary is available at the CrESSI website.
• Work Package 3 has investigated methodological pathways with which to apply the CrESSI conceptual framework to empirical analysis. Work was completed by December 2015. All deliverables were submitted and public ones were published as a series of working papers.
• Work Package 4 has looked into what can be learned from the experiences of innovation policy and innovation studies and theorising for social innovation. Work commenced in June 2015 and will be completed by April 2017. Reports on Social versus technological innovation (D4.1 and D4.2) and on the contribution of social innovation to systemic change (D4.3) are completed and submitted. The Policy Briefing on contribution of social innovation to systemic change (D4.4) was completed and published in March 2017, after the end of the second reporting period. D4.3 will be published in April 2017.
• Work Package 5: the main work on Social Innovation Life Cycles started in September 2015 and has been mostly finalised by January 2017. Reports on relevant actors in history (D5.1) theoretical foundations of social innovation in Finance (D5.2) and a comparative report (D5.3) are completed and finalised reports were published as a series of working papers. The Policy recommendations report (D5.4) was completed in March 2017, after the end of the second reporting period. D5.4 will be published in April 2017.
• Work Package 6 explores the current status and future potential of public policy agendas supporting social innovation that is capable of tackling marginalisation. Work has started in October 2014 and will finish in September 2017. A report on member states policy survey (D6.1) and a comparative policy survey report (D6.5) together with summaries of policy seminars (D6.2 and D6.6) policy roundtables (D6.3) and practitioners seminars (D6.4) are completed and published as a series of working papers. Work on academic journal papers (D6.8) has already started and EU policy recommendations and guideline report (D6.7) will be commenced in the final year.
• Work Package 7 aims at gathering primary data across three European cases of social innovation in order to empirically test CrESSI’s conceptual framework. The main work started in June 2015 and will be finalised in November 2017. Eight questionnaires for case study data collection, four data sets (D7.1) and the statistical report on case studies (D7.2) are completed. The editorial work in preparation of Deliverable D7.3 and the Advanced statistical analysis (Task 7.4) have started and will be completed in the next reporting period.
• Work Package 8 (reassessment and final synthesis) formally commenced in January 2017 (D8.1 project book meeting in Berlin) but some preparatory work had already started in May 2016. This work package is currently on-going and is due to be finalised by the end of January 2018.
• Work Package 9 addresses the management of the CrESSI Consortium and includes on-going tasks that will be continued throughout the project life cycle.
• Work Package 10: as part of the dissemination strategy (D10.1) a newsletter regularly reports on CrESSI publications and events. The project website (deliverable 10.2) launched in 2014, is constantly updated. Inclusions of stakeholders (D10.3) long term impact (D10.4) and the outreach to a wider public (D10.5) are all on-going tasks. Financial literacy seminars (D10.6) and financial plans for social innovators (D10.7) are underway and are in line with the agreed timetable of the project.
Further details are available in the attached reports - Section 1 & 2.
Potential Impact:
In the final year of the CrESSI Project, the main findings and outputs arising from all the other completed work packages will be analysed and compiled by work conducted in Work Package 8 (Synthesis), with the aim to: i) reassess the social grid conceptual framework in the light of the results of the project’s empirical work and to draw final conclusions regarding the creation of a fair economic space, favourable for social innovation; and ii) draw policy recommendations for promoting a fair economic space for social innovation. The main anticipated outputs from this process are summarised below. Although most of these outputs are not planned until towards the end of the project, some progress can already be reported at this stage:

(1) Project book (Deliverable D8.1) will include the final version of the theoretical framework used in the project, incorporating Beckert’s social grid framework, the capabilities approach and Mann’s reflections upon power relations, along with the key findings of the various work packages. Outputs achieved in the first 36 months will provide the conceptual basis for the project as a whole, as well as the analytical frameworks with which the empirical data collected in the course of the project will be tested and evaluated. Then, results of the data analysis will be reflected on to enhance and extend theory development, which will form the basis for the project book.

(2) Strategic policy recommendations (Deliverable D8.2): a second main output at the end of the project will be a set of final policy recommendations aimed at policy-makers, civil society actors and intermediaries, differentiated according to the three levels of social innovation. Work already started in engaging with policy-makers (at national and EU levels) and developing policy questions (Policy Seminars held in Brussels and in London). As a result, a policy memo has been drafted and circulated at the London event. The document is in progress and will be finalised in the final period including feedback from EC DG and other relevant stakeholders. The policy memo will be used as a basis for EU policy recommendations and the Strategic policy recommendation report. A final Policy workshop will also be organised in order to present and discuss CrESSI policy recommendations and engage with all relevant stakeholders.

(3) A Special Issue of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities (Deliverable D8.3),which will focus on social innovation and capabilities, will be published in May 2017. Good progress has been made towards this goal, with seven articles making it through a thorough review process, and in addition a policy paper section that will include an additional four papers. This special issue will explore the conceptual foundations of social innovation from a human development perspective. It will include an in-depth discussion of the capabilities of marginalised and disempowered groups in relation to ethics and policy-making.

(5) A Special Issue of the Journal of Social Entrepreneurship (Deliverable D7.3): a further special issue that summarises some of the key findings elaborated in WP7 will be published in Fall 2017 within the Journal of Social Entrepreneurship. The special issue will comprise an introductory chapter by the editors, papers focussing on the four empirical cases investigated in WP7 and a study that compares across the three cases for which CrESSI has collected primary data in three countries.

(6) Policy memo “The Case for more direct EU-investment. Lessons from social innovation research - Roma communities as test case” resulting from the research undertaken within the CrESSI project has been circulated to the members of the EP budget commission and to the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility. The memo focuses on policies to support the inclusion of the Roma and suggests similar opportunities that should also be considered for other long-term marginalised populations. Positive feedback and dialogue has been received from the European Commission.

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