The challenges of scaling up local innovation


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Presentation given by Marie Nordfeldt from Ersta Sköndal University College and the European WILCO consortium at the FEANTSA/HABITACT seminar "Tackling homelessness as a social investment for the future: Looking at the bigger picture", 12th June 2013, Amsterdam

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The challenges of scaling up local innovation

  1. 1. Social innovations for SocialCohesionPreliminary findings from theWILCO projectMarie Nordfeldt, Ersta Sköndal UniversityCollege,
  2. 2. BackgroundInternational comparative project, 14partners, 3 years (2010-2013)Funded by the 7th European FrameworkProgramme (2.4 million Euro grant)Coordinated by Radboud UniversityNijmegen (Taco Brandsen)20/06/2013 2
  3. 3. Radboud University Nijmegen(Coordinating Institution )Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität MünsterPolitecnico di Milan oUniversité de Genèv eUniversity of Barcelo n aUniversity of ZagrebCentre de Recherche etd’Information sur la Démocratieet l’Autonom i eUniversity of WarsawUniversity of Ken tErsta Sköndal UniversityCollegeJustus-Liebig Universi t yEMES European ResearchNetworkEuropean Research ServicesGmbH (ERS )The Network of Institutes andSchools of PublicAdministration in Central andEastern Europe (NISPACEE)
  4. 4. Key issuesStrong social exclusionProblems perpetuated across generationsand geographical areasDespite years of public programsthese wicked problems remain20/06/2013 4
  5. 5. Objectives and overall designTo chart patterns of social inequality and exclusion in European cities.To identify (socially) innovative practices in European cities.(a) finding models, features and trends in local social innovation thatappear across Europe(b) looking at local contexts and welfare systems: key factors fordiffusion and upgrading of innovations?Ten EU-countries, 20 cities – one large and one mid-sized cityFocus on:– three groups (single mothers, young people at risk, migrants)– three policy fields (housing & neightbourhood revitalization; childcare & education; occupational & social integration)20/06/2013 5
  6. 6. Social innovationsBroad definition:Social innovation refers to new services,products, processes and approaches thatmore effectively meet urgent needs andcreate new types of collaboration among(esp. local) governments, business, non-profit organizations and citizensNew in the local context where they appear20/06/2013 6
  7. 7. Types and balance of local innovationsA pool of about 80 innovationsService innovations are dominating.Most innovative services/approaches to be found withinthe third sector; yet local welfare policies andadministrations can be part in various ways (byprograms, funding, initiative)Many small scale and time-limited projects, (EU-funded), sometimes implemented by integration inestablished organisations/programmes or achieve self-sufficiency.Occasionally commercial viable20/06/2013 7
  8. 8. Prel. results: Diffusion– opportunities and challengesDiffusion - sometimes hard to traceSocial innovations - often local in focusInnovators sometimes interested in spreadingtheir approach/idea, but not always aninterest in, or time to, “sell” an innovationto other places.A crucial role for intermediariesDiffusion appear to be easiest for lesscomplex innovations that require limitedresources8
  9. 9. „Translation‟ of innovations necessary when theytravelFailure can be connected to lack of capacity,initial financial resources and consensus. Timelimited projects.Requires change in how people/organisationswork together; therefore resistance is not unusualResearch on diffusion tends to focus on theadoption of innovations; yet changes in localrelations / discourses that precede adoption areat least as important9
  10. 10. Concluding remarksDifficult scaling up social innovationsContext dependent, based on socialrelations and collaboration ofdifferent actorsOften hybrids formed of differentideas or inspirationsTo avoid inventing the wheel over andover – support structures based on thespecific features of social innovationsHousing first – a successful exception?20/06/2013 10
  11. 11. Thank you!More information; national, cityand comparative raports 11