6th Global Meeting of Associations, 6 – 8 May 2015, Montreal
Francesc Xavier Grau
Non-executive director of GUNi
GUNi: 209 members in 78 countries
Higher Education Institutions.
Research Centres in HE.
UNESCO Chairs dealing with HE issues
2006 2007 2008
2009 2011 2013
GUNi HEIW Reports
Main Project 2015-16
Analyse the dual responsibilities of universities at local and global scale
Identify best practices and provide recommendations to both the academic
community and public officials on how universities can improve and make
compatible cultural, social and economic impact at local and global levels,
Explore the potential conflict, or intrinsic difficulties, in addressing both local
demands of society based on the race for global competitiveness and local
and global demands to contribute to a more equitable and sustainable
society (at local and global scales).
International experts working group
UNESCO Chairs UNITWIN network (create synergies between UNESCO Chairs devoted to
City-University working group (direct responsibilities of cities on citizens, confronted with all
cultural, social and economic issues that need the attention of universities)
Catalan working group laboratory to test different possibilities of measuring and
monitoring impact and engagement
» Emergence of new terms Install in vocabulary. “Social Innovation” one of those terms
» Still refining the definition.
Anyway, it is a concept that refers to the search of innovative solutions for the complex
problems and challenges of the society. These solutions often correspond to new forms of
communication and cooperation, so that exercising social innovation implies trespassing both
organisational and disciplinary borders, as well as individual, collective, public and private.
» Social innovation seeks to respond to unfulfilled social demands and it is focused on
both the development of actions and on obtaining results. Social innovation thereby
becomes a key factor to ensure social cohesion.
» “After two decades of energetic reform to improve technology transfer universities are only just
beginning to think about how to achieve equivalent results in the social field, through the
employment of heads of social innovation and social transfer, running social laboratories or
incubators to connect users and innovators, or setting up ‘social science parks’.”(Mulgan, G.
2007. Social Innovation: What it is, Why it matters and How it can be accelerated. Oxford: Said
» Universities ( “inescapable social forces for the good” Father Ellacuría), can be involved at all
levels of a national/regional social innovation strategy: actors, facilitators, leaders, research, …
The role of the University in social innovation: directly related to social responsibilities; affects
two main missions: teaching and research.
» In order to achieve dynamic and efficient ‘social innovation’ it is necessary to promote their
values within the educational system, also at the highest level.
» Universities do not have impact alone, especially on social issues. Adaptive problems need
for collective impact approaches (Kania & Kramer, Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2011):
(1) a common agenda, (2) shared measurement systems, (3) mutually reinforcing activities, (4)
continuous communication and (5) backbone support organizations (universities and networks
can also play this role)
» Effective Networking: Regional/Local partnerships. Local nature of social innovation. Global
social problems require global-scale solutions Social innovation allows adapting local
solutions to global contexts.
» Moreover, at national/regional scale universities configure a system: SYSTEMNESS Impact of
systems of universities.
» Need for facing long standing and new social challenges, more efficiently. Need for a reliable
reference to the building of arguments and decision making.
» A priority on the macro (national) level. But also at the micro (organisational) level. Social
innovation metrics at the macro level and social impact measurement systems jointly
contribute to enhance the understanding of social value creation that is central to the viability
of contemporary and future societies (Tepsie)
» Building a system of indicators concept becomes more precise & recognisable
consolidation. Indicators = measurement instruments instruments for evaluation and
» Universities used to measure impact of “easy“ measurable things: impact of research through
bibliometric measures, economic impact through input-output tables… What about social
impact? And, again, systems of universities work at the macro and micro levels.
» In contrast with technological innovation, metrics in social innovation cannot be so easily
based on outputs. More attention to enabling conditions and social innovation potential.
» Drafting indicators of social innovation is not an evident task:
(1) no theoretical approach or explicative models, from which variables and indicators
could be derived that permit the estimation of causal relationships.
(2) no statistical set of data available no robust or reliable indicators
(3) comparative studies among different regions could be made would allow for
establishment of indicators (unfortunately, this type of analysis has yet to be done)
» development of indicators of social innovation = still an experimental task
» requires: adjusting approaches and concepts, serial measurements (annual or biannual),
comparative studies with other nations/regions and case studies to consolidate a system of
national/regional indicators of social innovation.
Catalonia’s population (M7.5)
is similar to Denmark, Bulgaria
or Austria. The Catalan GDP per
capita is above the European
• Catalan GDP accounts 20% of Spanish GDP.
• Catalan exports represent 26 % of all Spanish exports.
• Catalan population is 16% of Spanish total population.
• Economic crisis has hit very hard. (unemployment rate: over 20% in
Cat, over 23% in Spain)
University of Barcelona 56.567
Autonomous University of Barcelona 34.244
Technical University of Catalonia 33.894
Pompeu Fabra University 17.204
University of Girona 15.056
University of Lleida 10.074
Rovira i Virgili University 14.037
Open University of Catalona 43.362
• Catalonia has a diverse system of
universities, a diverse society, a
representative dimension of local-global
• ACUP: sense of systemness. Tradition of
measuring collective impact (Research &
• Individual universities, experience in
measuring impact on society.
• Opportunity to measure collective social
impact of a university system
» Create a benchmarking laboratory, as a
coordinated space of the eight ACUP universities,
to discuss, analyse and test different possibilities of
measuring and monitoring impact and engagement
OF A UNIVERSITY SYSTEM, both at local and
global levels GUNi HEIW6.
Work Package 2: Measuring Social
Focus on measuring social
innovation at the macro level: in
what kinds of sectors and
organisations does it occur and
what tools can we use to measure
A Blueprint for social innovation
A Scoreboard. Not a single index
(complexity of social innovation).
Two groups of data
1) Innovation measurement in
2) Social, normative,
Complemented by “innovative”
data sources (ex. Google trends)
Universities (can be) involved in
more that 50% of these
indicators and/or metrics.
1) Put the indicator system
2) Identify patterns of
3) Develop indicators at
4) Improve statistics
5) Engage. Multiple actors to
» Implementing a Scottish Social Innovation Strategy (2014-2020). Summary of
» Raise awareness about social innovation beyond the usual suspects
» Formulate (with stakeholders and citizens) a Scottish social innovation strategy.
» Implement a smart specialisation strategy encompassing social innovation
» Support the development of social innovation networks and platforms to enable
greater focus and co-ordination of socially innovative activities in Scotland.
» Support the expansion of the incubation of social innovation to provide opportunities
for 'bottom-up' solutions, and sustainable job creation.
» Plan and implement the creation of a dedicated social innovation cluster/park in
UNIVERSITIES involved at all levels
+ Previous experience of our universities in
measuring social impact
Tepsie Metrics related to Universities
RESINDEX Metrix related to
University expenditure on innovation
Proportion of personnel dedicated to
Number of Start-ups. Early-stage
Activities for exchanging ideas,
knowledge and relevant information in
Enterprise death rate Association with external agents in SI
Equal opportunities / inequalities
regarding disabled people
Number of projects in innovation
Equal opportunities / inequalities
regarding women / men
Individuals or units devoted to identify
needs / social demands
Share of students coming from
Diversity of cooperating partners
Percentage of people 25-64 with
Diversity of financing sources
University expenditure in social
Dissemination of social projects
Demands from society to universities Diversity of sectors impacted
Participation of universities in
organisations / networks related to
environment, ecology, ...
Degree of participation of the target
population in the project
» Social innovation = key factor to achieve the social cohesion, the competitiveness &the sustainability
of our societies. More cohesive societies more competitive & sustainable societies.
» Social innovation provides new solutions to social problems that are especially complex. Global
problems that find local solutions. Local solutions that can be transferred to other contexts and
therefore, to other societies ("Innovation by adoption").
» Social innovation brings together different agents to search for solutions collaboration between
people & organisations encourages cooperation and hybridization between sectors.
» Social innovation generates results (products, processes, services) value must be made visible
in order for the society to realise how important it is results that have to be measured.
» Universities involved in: Research, Culture dissemination, Incubation, networking, and as an actor.
Thanks for your attention!