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Social Innovation Community

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SIC (Social Innovation Community)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2019-01-31

There is increasing interest in social innovation as a means of addressing societal challenges, but considerable variation in the extent to which different countries and regions have embraced it. To address this, the EC funded several research projects, competitions and network-building activities. However, the overall landscape of social innovation support in Europe remained fragmented.
The Social Innovation Community (SIC) project aimed rectify this by strengthening and connecting networks of social innovation actors. It identified eleven ‘networks’ to engage with, some well organised (DSI community) and others newly emerging (community-led social innovation). Through research, experimentation, learning, policy and communications activities, SIC engaged with researchers, social innovators, citizens, policymakers, support organisations and intermediaries, businesses, civil society organisations and public sector employees, helping them to build new connections and strengthen their social innovation practices. In summary, SIC:
• Engaged and connected with diverse social innovation stakeholders to create a truly inclusive social innovation community. SIC’s dissemination channels had substantial reach (1100 newsletter subscribers; 200 000 page views on the website, and over 20000 likes and followers on social media). Over 2000 people engaged in face-to-face events.
• Created a framework for a common understanding of social innovation. SIC’s Research Landscape report analysed past trends, new evidence and emerging methodologies relevant to SIC’s networks, while workshops on ‘hot topics’ and ‘transformative research’ allowed researchers and practitioners to explore emerging themes of interest to the community, such as new economic models and refugee integration.
• Tested new approaches to social innovation. SIC organised five 3-day co-creation events, bringing together public officials, citizens, social innovators, professionals and others to identify local problems and design solutions. Some are now being implemented: the ‘To-Home’ programme in Torino, a new service for families at risk of eviction, is being piloted with ESF funds.
• Promoted social innovation learning among practitioners, policymakers and researchers. SIC held five summer schools in cities across Europe, with over 200 participants, as well as three ‘learning relays’, and set up an online Learning Repository with 60 tools to support social innovation processes.
• Supported policymakers to design policies for social innovation. SIC created the Lisbon Declaration on Social Innovation, with ten policy proposals for the EU and Member States, and input from over 350 people. It was subsequently endorsed by 650 people in 27 EU countries and received public backing from Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation, at Web Summit in Lisbon, November 2018.
• Co‐created a vision and strategy for the social innovation community and devised plans to sustain relationships, products and activities created by the project.
"The SIC project started in February 2016, publicly launched in September 2016 in Brussels and closed by a final event in November 2018 in Seville.

Work Package 1 coordinated and provided support to the 11 networks (3 added halfway through the project). The SIC’s digital platform (www.siceurope.eu) is complemented by newsletter and social media accounts. It established communication plans for SIC’s flagship outputs, organised SIC’s launch and final event, and coordinated SIC’s active involvement in more than 70 events and roadshows in 21 countries, including substantial involvement in the EC’s large-scale ‘Opening to an ERA of social innovation’ conference in Lisbon, in November 2017.

Work Package 2 was responsible for research. As well as the flagship ‘Research Landscape’ report, partners conducted 5‘hot topic’ workshops and 5 ‘transformative research sessions’. An online Research Forum published nearly 40 blog posts.

Work Package 3 ""experimentation"" tested new multi-sector collaborations in addressing locally defined challenges in Croatia, Italy, Estonia and Norway, focusing on issues such as refugee integration, urban revitalisation and families at risk of eviction. Through these ‘experimentation’ processes, local partners tested and refined over 30 practical learning tools, later included in the online Learning Repository. Around 20 articles were published, and case studies of the 5 co-creation processes were included in an ESF dossier.

Work Package 4 ""learning"", carried out a comprehensive review of social innovation learning offers across Europe, designed and ran 5 summer schools (2 more than planned) and designed the ‘learning relay’, helping participants crowdsource input for each other's challenges. 3 learning relays were conducted with 55 attendees. The online SIC Learning Repository (www.silearing.eu) had more than 1800 unique users by the end of the project.

Work Package 5 focused on policy. As well as the Lisbon Declaration on Social Innovation, it ran 17 policy workshops, 7 online roundtables, and one standalone conference hosted by the Committee of the Regions. Partners produced 3 detailed reports on EU social innovation policy, 4 policy digests aligned to themes in the Declaration and set up a Policy Portal with over 25 pieces of original content. ‘Action Teams’ of partners working on specific policy recommendations positively influenced current EU programmes proposals.

Through Work Package 6, SIC developed its vision of an open, collaborative and inclusive SI community within a broader SI ecosystem, assessed its impact and progress. SIC’s sustainability strategy, developed from the start of the project, ensures that valuable outputs (Learning Repository, Research Forum etc.), methodologies (e.g. Summer Schools), policy impact (ongoing advocacy for the Social Innovation Declaration) and relationships (new policy alliance and online SI Assembly) will be sustained after the project ends.

Work Package 7 ensured the successful management of SIC. All tasks and milestones were completed and 64 deliverables submitted. Within the EU budget, SIC delivered considerably more than originally planned.
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Continued dissemination of results via SIC website for next 4 years
SIC Yearbook presenting project results in clear, simple visual format
11 networks engaged rather than 10
Research Landscape report - 1st detailed study on the international social innovation research community
Report on SI Learning Principles and Processes - 1st comprehensive review of SI learning offers in Europe
SIC Handbook - comprehensive collection of SI tools improved through experimentation
Research agenda influenced (EU-SPRI innovation studies conference 2017; ESSI conference 2019)
Learning Repository maintained, used in other EU projects (SISCODE), included in the OPSI collection.
Learning activities' replicability demonstrated (2 additional summer schools run).
New methodologies developed for SI experimentation (co-creation events in cities) and learning (summer schools and learning relays)
New SI solutions developed and implemented (‘To-Home’ new service for families at risk of eviction in Torino, piloted with ESF funds).
Lisbon Declaration on Social Innovation presented to high level EU and national policy makers, widely disseminated, reaching cities (Athens, Amsterdam). Successful results on influencing wording of EU proposals relating to ESF + and Horizon Europe.