Why Social Innovation?

Social innovation is a complex concept, and there is a vast number of definitions. For the purpose of this project, we have decided to adopt the most simple one: social innovations are “innovations that are social both in their ends and their means” (Murray et al., The Open Book of Social Innovation 2010).

In the context of European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg), this means that we are talking about novel approaches (products, services or models) that

  • meet social needs related to the large societal challenges such as demographic change, migration and climate change in cities and regions of the EU and
  • are being created and implemented not in a traditional for-profit setting but in collaborations and networks of the public, private and third sector and – more and more often – citizens and users of services.
If seen in this way, social innovation projects contribute to the overall goals of European Territorial Cooperation and the specific objectives of the various Interreg programmes. They create growth and jobs, foster social inclusion, make cities and regions (including rural areas) more attractive places to live in and bring the European idea and values closer to people who may not be so familiar with or positive about the EU.

We therefore advocate the continuation of support for social innovation in the new Interreg funding period 2021-2027!