PHASE 1 of ESF project 4895 Meer werk maken van innovatie voor werkgelegenheid en arbeidsmarkt

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1 BASELINE STUDY Phase 1 output The state of social innovation in Flanders, Czech Republic, Poland and Sweden within an EU Structural Funds perspective and principles of innovation derived from a literature review April

2 STATE OF SOCIAL INNOVATION 1 FLANDERS Definition of social innovation in the country/region Flanders in Action White paper at Belgian level Actors Generic support Innovative work organization focused Technology focused Networks, platforms Coordination of programme with other actors Interesting tools and/or approaches Programme s view of social innovation General definition of social innovation Support for social innovation in the past POLAND Definition of social innovation Actors Actors from the public sphere Private sector, NGO, Networks, platforms Coordination of programme with other actors Interesting tools and approaches Programme s view of social innovation General definition of social innovation Support for social innovation in the past SWEDEN Definition of social innovation in the country/region

3 3.2 Actors Universities/centres/hubs Governmental agencies Social economy Private sector welfare service providers Programme s view of social innovation General definition of social innovation Support for social innovation in the past Czech Republic Definition of social innovation in the country/region Actors Public sector NGO sector Private sector Networks, platforms Coordination of programme with other actors Interesting tools and approaches Programme s view of social innovation General definition of social innovation Support for social innovation in the past Conclusion: interesting practices to review in phase PRINCIPLES OF INNOVATION 6 Introduction Innovation strategy The innovation process Getting ideas Getting users involved Networking

4 12 Teams Leadership Decision-making and review of progress

5 State of social innovation in the EU 1 FLANDERS 1.1 Definition of social innovation in the country/region Flanders in Action Flanders in Action, the vision for the future of Flanders with as horizon 2020 (see ), states that by 2020, Flanders wants to stand out as an economically innovative, sustainable and socially caring society. Within the context of Flanders in Action, a report of 2011 by the Innovation direction group on social innovation ( ) states that the priority first lies with properly conceptualizing workplace innovation as a more narrow form of social innovation. They refer to the following definition: concepts and applications relating to processes concerning the organization of work and management. This is an agreed definition in Flanders. The report mentions that there is also a broader, more vague notion of social innovation. For this they refer to following definition We define social innovations as new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations. In other words they are innovations that are both good for society and enhance society s capacity to act. But it should be clear this is used only as an example, not as an agreed definition at the Flemish level. The report only wants to start the discussion. Currently, innovation as social innovation is explicitly mentioned by VIA on its website ( ). It is now split up into: Broadly supporting innovation (a call launched by colleagues at the department of Economy, Science and innovation is mentioned there but also the Social Innovation factory see below for more) Workplace innovation (innovative work organization linked to Flanders Synergy see below for more) Social entrepreneurship (linked to the Social Innovation Factory see below for more) 5

6 1.1.2 White paper at Belgian level The Flemish Department for Internal Affairs (similar to a Ministry of the Interior) refers to an initiative at the Belgian level to write a White Paper on Public Sector innovation ( ) by June It is interesting to note that the Department situates this project within the perspective of an innovative organization of work rather than a broader concept of social innovation. This is of course in line with what was written above. Nevertheless, in a draft version of the mentioned white paper, the following broader definition for innovation is given: creating added value by converting ideas to new and sustainable processes, products services, work organization or ways of working. 1 No further details about this project are available. 1.2 Actors There are many actors involved in social innovation in Flanders. The following overview limits itself to those actors that are using public funds to facilitate and guide other actors in applying for and running innovation projects and processes Generic support o IWT ( 3.pdf ) is the Agency for Innovation through science and technology. It exists since It distributes around 300 million EURO in subsidies each year in a variety of ways. For business (in principle also social profit) e.g.: SME-feasibility-studies: a preliminary study to investigate the potential and feasibility of an innovative idea (max support). 1 creëren van toegevoegde waarde door het omzetten van vernieuwende ideeën naar nieuwe en duurzame processen, producten / diensten, arbeidsorganisatie of werkwijze. See on 22/4/2013 6

7 SME-innovation-projects or Large company SPRINT projects: when developing an innovative product/ process/service requiring new knowledge to be created or existing knowledge to be applied in a creative way (max support). R&D projects: these are large research and development projects associated with great uncertainty (max support, min with preferred duration of 24 months and a maximum of 36 months. Basic funding rate of 25% for development activities and of 50% for research activities increased by 20% for SEs and by 10% for MEs increased by 10% for substantial cooperation between enterprises). Portfolio of feasibility studies: these studies examine the feasibility and relevance of investment in research & development (max support a year). VIS integrated projects (collective): these grant programmes are designed for companies who have a rather limited research capability on an individual level but who -through working together as a group- build up knowledge and innovation (financing is 80% of the accepted budget of the final project). There are also opportunities for research institutions and researchers and temporary (up to 4 years) competence poles, living labs, strategic initiatives or thematic research programmes. IWT is also the national contact point (NCP) for supporting applications to international (incl. EU) R&D / innovation programmes. It coordinates the Flemish Innovation Network (see below). It should be noted that concepts have to be already at a certain maturity level before being able to apply for IWT funding. IWT does help applicants through the process but has no extensive capacity to really support the innovators in developing a good solution. o Since 2007 support to access IWT funds for companies is provided by the five regional Flemish Innovation Centres. (Predecessors of these Innovation Centres were active since 2003, These centres exist in every Flemish Province, with generally 6 to 8 people. They provide a local point of contact regarding innovation for the SME in Flanders and are as such the front-end for the Network of Flemish innovation actors (VIN see also below). 7

8 They help to find funding (not only subsidies but also other financing for innovation), advise in how to prepare a file for funding, find the right partners within the Network of Flemish innovation actors. They offer individual advice and services to support SMEs to innovate efficiently and continuously to increase their competitiveness. They receive their funding and mandate from IWT who follows up on them. Their services are free. o Social innovation factory (Sociale Innovatie Fabriek) o Their aim is to help find solutions to wicked problems that cannot be tackled by simple laws, subsidies or effort as they have to do with rigid, fixed patterns and ways of thinking. They provide information on social innovation and social entrepreneurship to non profit, business, individuals, advise on concepts, provide networks, point to financial support e.g. as provided by IWT. They run a learning network on social innovation to develop ideas into viable concepts. This network operates on the principle that if you use it, you must also contribute similar efforts for others and is based on a complementary currency. This allows everybody to engage in this learning network based on the expertise they can bring. It makes the learning network accessible to many, even those who don t have budgets to spend on fees or membership. They help to find funding (not only subsidies but also other financing for innovation), advise in how to prepare a file for funding, find the right partners within the Network of Flemish innovation actors and Flemish funding opportunities (also in the private sector). They do research on social innovation and set up events for network creation, knowledge exchange and capacity building. They receive an 80% funding for running the organization from IWT who follows up on them. 20% is own revenues. Sociale InnovatieFabriek receives an annual budget (first year about 2 milion) to spend on social innovative concepts that have been screened and approved by its advisory board and by IWT. They define social innovation as an innovative solution for an important challenge for society, that results in a product, service, organization model and/or method. Services are free. 8

9 Sociale InnovatieFabriek exists (as a VIS- Vlaamse Innovatie Structuur) since July 2013 and has a 6 FTE staff. o Flanders district of creativity: Flanders DC ( ) is the Flemish organisation for creative entrepreneurial creativity. Its mission is to make entrepreneurial Flanders more creative and Creative Flanders more entrepreneurial. They do research on creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and creative industries. They set up events, develop tools and bring people together. Where innovation in the past was always limited to technology, Flanders DC stresses bringing in the creativity from people or other domains (arts& culture, creative industries) as drivers of innovation in business and society. Flanders DC focuses on achieving 1-to-many impact. The Flanders Fashion Institute (FFI) is part of the Flanders DC organsiation since Their services are free. Funded and governed by the Flemish Ministries of Innovation and Economy. Budget: 2.8 M (excluding FFI) + 0.5M (FFI). Flanders DC was created in FTEs Flanders DC: (FFI). They run the CICI subsidy programme that allows for the creation of a number of inspiring alliances that bridge the gap between creative industries and other sectors. IWT does the evaluation of proposals and provides the funds. Budget 2nd CICI call: 950k. CICI started in o Flanders Inshape ( Flanders Inshape offers advice and coaching in the field of product and service development, design tools and design management. The user is the source and inspiration for innovation in this process. They organize long-term courses (cross-company and in house) and sector and cross-company networks: workshops, study days, inspiration and information moments. They initiate (research) projects at the request of Flemish companies. The aim of these projects is to develop industrial relevant knowledge and tools and disseminating them to the broadest target audience possible. It operates as a platform between all partners in question: companies, designers, knowledge institutes, sector federations and educational institutes. Flanders Inshape started in 2007 has a team of 10 people The services of Flanders Inshape are not free (they charge daily rates) 9

10 The Flanders Inshape budget is euro a year for the regular activities (50% funded by the Flemish Government -Minister of Innovation, supplemented with charged fees). They are a VIS (like Sociale Innovatie Fabriek). Besides that, they also have euro for research projects (from IWT) and a budget from the Agency for entreprise (Agentschap ondernemen) via Design platform Vlaanderen Innovative work organization focused Flanders synergy: o This is a Competence Pole (old name of this structure; they are now also a VIS) concerning innovative work organisation funded and monitored by IWT. o They do research, provide networking activities, help redesign organisations and point to relevant subsidies, provide training, organize conferences, o Their services are for paying members only and mostly not for free Technology focused o iminds: iminds is an independent research institute (SOC, Strategisch Onderzoeks Centrum) founded by the Flemish government and governed by the Department for Economy and Innovation. It offers companies and organizations active support in research and development. It joins various forces on research projects. Both technical and non-technical issues are addressed within each of these projects. Its research departments are : Digital Society Department, Future Health Department, Future Internet Department, Future Media & Imaging Department, Security Department. It focuses on the following markets: Media, Energy, Health, Manufacturing, Smart Cities. They also house MIX (Media innovatie centrum Media Innovation Centre). This is a VIS (like Flanders Synergy, Flanders In Shape, Sociale Innovatie Fabriek) since You can be selected for a free 5 day training on innovation with a follow-up afterwards. 10

11 They also have their own calls for proposal where during a period of 6 up to maximum 18 months, iminds provides financial means of max. 50k EUR as convertible loan for incubation. Even though a minimal support towards further technology development can be given, the main focus lies on the business development portion (developing a business plan, clarifying the intellectual property situation, market analysis, customer contacts through fairs, marketing and sales activities ). In order to be eligible, a start-up does not need to be established yet. Some form of proof-of-concept or prototype of the core product/technology is a necessity however. They also operate (MIX/) ICON calls for proposals for interdisciplinary, collaborative research projects that link iminds-researchers to industrial partners. The end result is a proof-of-concept / demonstrator. imindsresearchers are financed by iminds. Partners finance themselves but can request subsidies by IWT. o VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Innovation): This is another Strategic Research Centre (like I-minds) focused on sustainable development and strengthening the socio-economic fabric of Flanders. They have a budget of +/_ 145 million euro and 750 staff. They have 5 research programmes of which one has to do with the ageing population, which is therefore of relevance to ESF. Of course, private sector providers of innovation facilitation also abound in Flanders (e.g. I-propellor) but these are not the focus of this review. 1.3 Networks, platforms a) The Flemish Innovation network ( ) is a network of +/_ 1400 persons in +/_ 230 intermediary organisations and knowledge institutes active in the area of innovation support. They are coördinated by the IWT. It works on all forms and concepts of innovation, not exclusively on social innovation. This network however does have a sub-network for innovation in social economy. They have published a guide b) Socius is the support platform for socio-cultural work with adults, funded by the Flemish Department of Culture. It runs a blog on innovation ( ) and is publishing a guide on social innovation to be released in on 22 May

12 ( ). This guide will focus mainly on how to become learning organisations and communities. c) Flander s care ( ) This is a programme (not a structure) set up by the Flemish Government (the coordinating Flemish Minister for Welfare, Public Health and Family, the Minister-President of the Flemish Government and simultaneously Flemish Minister for Economy and Foreign Policy, the Flemish Minister for Innovation, Public Investment, Media and Poverty Reduction, the Flemish Minister for Finance, Budget, Work, Spatial Planning and Sport). Flanders Care promotes innovation by ensuring cross-fertilization between care facilities, care providers, care users, knowledge centres and the business community. It does not have any instruments of its own apart from facilitating a network and granting their label to each project that is related to care and is financed with Flemish government funding. d) Zorginnovatie in welzijn ( this is a project that researched, developed and now provides some instruments to help facilitate innovation for sectors like care for the disabled, youth, families, daycares, volunteers and elderly people. 1.4 Coordination of programme with other actors Until now, no systematic coordination efforts have been undertaken apart from intensive collaboration with Flanders Synergy concerning innovative work organization. 1.5 Interesting tools and/or approaches Many of these organisations have useful tools. These will be accessed in the second phase of the project when trainings will be developed. 12

13 1.6 Programme s view of social innovation General definition of social innovation There is no general definition of social innovation. Social innovation in the more narrow sense of innovative work organisation is treated separately from the more generic concept (see below) Support for social innovation in the past Measure/priority in the programme In the Flemish ESF Operational Programme for there was a dedicated priority for innovation. In addition, there was also a dedicated priority for transnational cooperation, part of which also concerned innovation. However, it also happened that in other priorities, new types of actions were being funded, without being referred to explicitly as innovative but rather as experimental / pilots. Social innovation in the narrow sense (work organization) is financed under a separate priority. This is not the focus of the next paragraphs. Rather the more generic innovation is Rationale for innovation A large diversity of labour market issues and policy priorities are quoted Specific definition for innovation Innovation is about improving existing services or offering new services to target groups in the labour market. It is stated that innovation concerns the degree of innovativeness of an instrument AND the degree of innovativeness of the service provision that the instrument tries to secure. Innovativeness is NOT defined at the level of an individual service provider. It is not enough 13

14 that the service is new for this provider (unless it is the only provider in Flanders by decree). It must be new for a wider collection of providers in Flanders Procedures A proposal is to be submitted for a two year period. A third year reservation for dissemination is also made, conditional upon passing a validation process. This validation process is held at the end of the second year and consists of experts and peers reviewing the innovation which is presented by the project. Standard budgets for two years are max EUR (50% ESF versus 50% co-financing). The dissemination year is max EUR (again 50/50%). Monitoring consists of an annual progress report relative to the plan Issues in trying to finance innovation The following issues exist for the ESF in Flanders relative to its generic support for innovation (as distinguished from its support for workplace innovation): find, develop and fund innovative services that respond to policy priorities scaling up / mainstreaming across Flanders rather than stay limited to only a few actors; demonstrate the impact of this funding in Flanders over the longer term; increase the share of funding spent on successful innovations relative to non-successful ones without becoming risk averse and having only incremental innovations funded; balance flexibility (rather than rigid planning) with accountability; coordinate better with other actors in the innovation landscape; lower the threshold for good ideas without being submerged by average ones. 14

15 2 POLAND 2.1 Definition of social innovation Generally, social innovation is not a crucial issue in the public debate in Poland, the interest on political and private level is rather limited to some individual initiatives. However, in the recent months some increase in interest may be observed. The starting point for these discussions is usually linked with technological innovations and cooperation between science and business. Thus, European Social Fund is not visible enough in this debate. There is no systemic or coordinated approach to the development and support of social innovation in Poland. The initiatives undertaken are rather new and scattered. They concern different actors and sectors (public, private, NGOs) and different levels (local, national, European, global). The supporting infrastructure (e.g. hubs, incubators) is also lacking. Hence, there is no one general definition of social innovation used commonly by all the institutions involved in supporting social innovation in Poland. Each organisation draws up a definition for its own purposes. 2.2 Actors Actors from the public sphere There are no institutions in Poland from public sphere which are appointed to support social innovation. However, this issue may be one of different tasks they are involved in. Their activity is most often associated with financing the projects on social innovation (by launching the calls for proposals) or supporting the debate on this issue. Thus, the information presented below includes the description of the individual initiatives undertaken and not the institution itself (i.e. it is not possible to answer detailed questions indicated above). Initiatives of public institutions in Poland: 1. The National Centre for Research and Development public institution appointed as the implementing agency of the Minister of Science and Higher Education. One of the initiative implemented by the Centre is a Program Social Innovations. Its aim is to support the sector of science, business and non-governmental organisations in taking up and implement socially innovative activities which are based on achievements of the science and technology. Since 2013 within the programme the Centre has launched 2 calls for proposals for technical innovations which solve social problems. The main features of the calls were: 15

16 a) Definition of social innovation: a new solution (product, process, service) of social issue which is more efficient than applied so far and which at the same time is answering the public demand as well as causes the long-lasting change in a given social groups. In the call social innovations are interpreted both as technical and technological innovations which are socially justified, as well as innovations strictly social; b) Objectives: 1) increase in the number of implementations of innovative technical solutions and innovative products, services and procedures allowing for solving social problems, 2) rise in the multi-sectoral cooperation on the local, regional and national level; c) Total budget for both calls for proposals: EUR (public resources); d) Project promoters: consortium of scientific units with entrepreneurs and non-governmental organisations Private sector, NGO,. In case of non-public sector the institutions specialised in social innovation are also missing. There are some actors involved in the discussions and implementing individual initiatives. However, the scale and the scope of these actions is rather limited. Some examples of activities and organisations: 1. Project coordinated by PwC Poland (consulting company) in cooperation with Ministry of Economy and Responsible Business Forum the cooperation of these 3 institutions started after publication of the document Vision The new agenda for business" by World Business Council for Sustainable Development. It concerns the challenges of sustainable development faced by the business and the identification of market chances enabling companies stable development in the long perspective. Currently the partnership is working on drawing up the Vision 2050 on the level of Poland. One of the subject they are involve in is social innovation. Their objective in this field is to encourage enterprises to use social innovation in the business activity as a response to the market needs and as a possibility to ensure sustainable development of enterprises. In consequence in their definition of social innovation, apart from elements repeated in other approaches, the financial benefits for the business (by generating new areas of the income) are also underlined. The partnership has been focusing so far on developing models of collaboration among the business and the society in favour of social innovations and on collecting experience of companies in the implementation of innovative projects. 2. Pomeranian Science and Technology Park (PSTP) in Pomorskie region within its activity the PSTP started a module on social innovation. In this area they: 1) expanded collaboration with different entities, 2) implement different projects and 3) support the organisation of various events in the field of social innovation. The examples of initiatives supported by the PSTP: designing the public areas by residents, innovative tools for persons with disabilities (e.g. speech synthesizer, software for controlling electronic devices with the help of thought, facial 16

17 expression and emotion), advanced solutions for customers of the City Office (e.g. speaking website (iwebreader), virtual clerk), designing public services by customers (e.g. setting the criteria of the quality of care services). 3. Cooperation of NGOs and municipal authorities in one of the biggest Polish city (Lodz) a Social Innovation Fund was created in It is a first such initiative in Poland started by the Federation of non-governmental organisations in Lodz, UNDP Poland and the City of Lodz Office. 60% of the Fund budget is guaranteed by the city and 40% by donations from private companies raised by the Federation / UNDP. The Fund supports small local NGOs and informal groups in organising different initiatives addressed to the inhabitants of Lodz. The objective of all the actions is to contribute to the development of the city and to satisfy important social needs in the area of culture, education, social integration or civic participation. The first call was launched in 2013 with the allocation of EUR. The sponsors were looking for actions which aimed at supporting social integration of children and young people. 4. The Unit for Social Innovation and Research Shipyard the non-governmental organisation which concentrates on 3 key issues: development of local communities, social innovations and civic participation. Their objective in the field of social innovation is to be a place of discussion on the importance, nature and conditions favourable for development of social innovations. They are carrying this activity through implementing different projects, participating and initiating a debate about social innovations and linking activities of different institutions in this area. 5. Ashoka Poland the activity of the organisation focuses on support for individual social innovators by financing the development of their ideas and assuring the platform of cooperation. 6. Individual researchers there are some researchers working for different universities in Poland interesting in social innovation. They participate in a debate and in the projects implemented on different levels, including projects financed by the European Commission within Seventh Framework Programme. 2.3 Networks, platforms We do not have information on such initiatives (as formal structures) in Poland. However, all the activities previously mentioned either support the increase of cooperation between different actors or are implemented in cooperation. 2.4 Coordination of programme with other actors 17

18 The scope of activity of these institutions and their initiatives differ from the approach to the implementation of social innovation within ESF. In consequence it is rather the issue of the cooperation than the coordination. Currently we cooperate with some of these organisations especially in the field of developing the provisions concerning implementation of social innovation within ESF in the future operational programme. 2.5 Interesting tools and approaches As all the initiatives are quite new and scattered we do not identify any tools or approaches which would be interesting and useful enough to be analysed during a study visit. 2.6 Programme s view of social innovation General definition of social innovation When drawing up a definition of social innovation within ESF there were two main assumptions made: a) It should be as broad as possible in order not to exclude any idea at the stage of application; the main assessment whether the solution proposed in the application is innovative or not should be made by the experts during the selection process; b) It should serve as a general hint (main direction) for project promoters and experts assessing the project. The definition of social innovation within ESF: new, more effective solutions of the problems identified in the area of ESF intervention. There are 3 dimensions of social innovation possible: 1. New target groups not supported before / supported differently 2. New problems not included enough in the policy of the state 3. New instruments in solving current problems. The solution worked out within an innovative project does not have to be entirely new - there is not a revolution or a new wheel expected. Thus, the adaptation of different solutions to, for instance, new target group or new sector is also accepted. As there are a lot of new solutions which are rather simple and easily implemented in practice and which at the same time do not generate high costs if proved to be ineffective after implementation, the support within ESF is given only to these innovative solutions which need testing at smaller scale before implementation at larger scale. 18

19 To conclude, in this approach there are 2 important features which restrict and direct the understanding of social innovation. The first is the scope of thematic intervention only projects where a direct link with the objectives of the ESF is proved may be supported. The second is linked to the novelty of the solution worked out only the project promoters who present how their approach changes the current situation may be financed Support for social innovation in the past Overall The first experiences were gained within EQUAL Initiative. Basing on them and introducing some changes a new system for supporting social innovation in ESF was built within programming period Generally there was one approach taken to the implementation (details presented below). And it is the main change which is planned in comparison with the next programming period in which there are 2 schemes foreseen: 1. Projects implemented at larger scale the provisions of the implementation similar to those used within EQUAL and the current programming period ( ); focus on policy innovations, social experimentation, systemic influence; direct selection of the project promoters by the MA / IB; 2. Projects implemented at smaller scale focus on incubation of new ideas; small changes, more owners of the problems or difficult to be defined, need for cooperation; two-stages in the selection process: 1) selection of the operators by the MA / IB, 2) selection of grants by the operator Measure/priority in the programme In Poland a horizontal approach to the implementation of social innovation within ESF was used. In consequence in the financial perspective the innovative projects are implemented: 1. In all ESF areas of intervention (labour market, social integration, adaptability of employees, education, higher education, good governance) 2. In all priorities of the operational programme (OP) 3. On national and regional level 4. By large number of different institutions (more than 40) 5. Within the themes updated twice during the programming period. 19

20 This approach would be changed in the next programming period. Social innovation would be implemented only on national level and within a dedicated approach, i.e. there will be one priority axis within the OP dedicated both to social innovation and transnational cooperation Rationale for innovation The main objective was to look for new and more effective solutions to the problems identified in the areas supported within ESF and solved in traditional way so far Specific definition The definition was the same as presented in point 2A Procedures Each innovative project had to be implemented within 3 main stages: i. Additional diagnosis which included also working out the draft version of the instrument (max 8 months); this stage ended with the preparation of a strategy of project implementation; ii. iii. Testing the aim was to verify the effectiveness of the solution in practice on small scale; this stage included also the mandatory external evaluation and validation; Mainstreaming and dissemination. The selection procedure was the same for standard and innovative projects. However, during the implementation of the innovative project there were 2 additional moments of assessment: 1) strategy of project implementation, 2) validation of the solution worked out. In both processes thematic networks were involved. It was their main task. Additionally, thematic networks were responsible for linking project promoters with policy makers, including their needs in the instruments worked out and supporting the mainstreaming of the validated solutions. As a result of the additional assessment during the project implementation there were some instruments introduced in the grant agreement which enabled to dissolve a contract if the strategy was not accepted or the product was not validated. According to the provisions of the implementation the project promoter should evaluate the whole project and assure the external evaluation of the solution worked out after the testing phase. 20

21 Issues in trying to finance innovation There are several issues which should be solved before starting the implementation of social innovation in the programming period The main questions are the following: 1. How to select the themes for social innovation in order to have a short list of narrow areas? 2. How to change the assessment procedure in order to catch good ideas all of from those which were presented? 3. How to avoid administrative burden when financing social innovation according to the ESF rules? How to use simplified costs? 4. How to ensure sustainability of the solutions developed? 5. How to involve effectively policy makers in the whole process (selection of themes and projects, mainstreaming)? 6. How to build a brand of social innovation within ESF? 7. How the process of validation should be organised? 8. What should be the responsibility of the project promoters in terms of mainstreaming? 9. Should the work of thematic networks be continued? How to ensure active involvement of the members? 21

22 3 SWEDEN 3.1 Definition of social innovation in the country/region There is a National Strategy for innovation which is an important background document: SE Government s The Swedish Innovation Strategy (2012); the strategy has a fairly general approach, including some references to Social Innovation/SI (even if the concept/word is not used explicitly). The document opens with quoting the Europe 2020 strategy (societal challenges) and relevant OECD documents. There is no specific definition used in the document, but there are references to a number of definitions/concepts often used, e.g.: Innovation is about new or better ways of creating value for society, businesses and individuals. Innovations are new solutions that serve the needs and demands in daily life and in the world around us. The value arises in the utilisation and implementation of an idea. The value created may be economic, social or environmental. Innovation can occur in a step-by-step process or in disruptive leaps. OECD tends to differentiate innovation by degree of novelty: it may be new for an organisation, new for a market (or area of application) or new for the world. The substantial impact on value creation for society as a whole arises as new solutions are adopted and spread throughout society. The word innovation refers to both the process of developing new solutions and the result of the process, i.e. the new solutions. (The Swedish Innovation Strategy, p.9) The implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organisational method in business practices, workplace organisation or external relations. (OECD, Oslo Manual Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data) As a starting point there is also reasoning on different forms of innovation, its societal context, roles and responsibilities between different actors and support mechanisms needed. Under the heading The road to a world-class innovation climate in 2020 (sic) you find six different fields of interest and intervention, with goals and sub targets: Innovative peoples, Research and higher education, Framework conditions and infrastructure, Businesses and organizations, Public Services and Innovative regions and environments. One of these fields is Innovative public services, here given as an example with potential links to ESF objectives and project interventions. The theme has the following Goals and Sub targets: 22

23 Goal: Innovative and collaborative public service organizations that are legally secure and effective, and has a high degree of quality, service and availability Sub target: Public sector organizations works systematically with innovation in order to increase efficiency and quality Sub target: Public sector organizations contribute in developing innovative ways of me meeting societal challenges Sub target: Efficient public sector support for innovation with a focus on customer benefit (The Swedish Innovation Strategy, p. 22) 3.2 Actors The main actors in Sweden are: Academia Governmental agencies Social economy/third sector Private sector welfare providers ESF has supported mainly the social economy/social entrepreneurship as a kind of forefront SI actor ; ERDF has funded universities and connected innovation centres/innovation hubs (also regional). Private sector has been engaged in SI through massive privatization of welfare provisions due to down-sizing and austerity measures in public sector (including labour market and integration policy measures, many closely linked to ESF project interventions areas) Universities/centres/hubs 23

24 Malmö University, Forum for social innovation, a dynamic and expanding SI actor, good intelligence/news reporting and networks Helix, Linköping University, one of the oldest centres, earlier EFS/ERDF funding Lund university social innovation centre, newly ERDF funded, the University has a highly progressive Social sciences faculty, has received EU-funding for SI Centre for social entrepreneurship, Stockholm University (partly ESF funded linked to SU Incubator), has a rather narrow scope supporting innovations and entrepreneurship among students Open innovation accelerator/ Innovationskontorett, Linköpings universitet GU Holding, Gothenburg University (includes also SI from 2013 as well as university course Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship) Royal Institute of Technology (RIT): Design as an Enabler of Social Innovation (ESF); the concept has been further elaborated by the Faculty for Design (a cluster of university institutions in SE, including RIT), see e.g.: Governmental agencies Swedish agency for innovation systems (also responsible for Horizon 2020); several funding options e.g. seed money for developing an agenda for innovation (incl. SI). Swedish agency for economic and regional growth (MA for ERDF), separate calls for SI projects in ERDF and also national funding. Swedish ESF Council (MA ESF and EIF), though innovation was a horizontal priority in the former OP/National programme (EIF) there has been no coordinated efforts to implement, follow-up, evaluate or up-scale SI-related good results from experimental projects Social economy A large number of centers and hubs linked to social cooperatives and other activities in the third sector have been supported by ESF (and ERDF). Social cooperatives are now a part of Government s policy for disadvantaged/disabled groups on the labour market, and a National Thematic network (only Swedish, not much updates) on social entrepreneurship funded by ESF has made contributions 24

25 in identifying, validating and evaluating good practices (incl. SI) as well as activities for dissemination/mainstreaming/policy impact. There are also a number of coordinating and developing bodies in the social economy sector, e.g. Coompanion, an umbrella organization with some 25 regional offices for advice for cooperative business start ups, lobbying etc. Though not directly supporting SI, these activities can be seen as one way to find alternative solutions (supported by ESF/ERDF funding) in welfare service production (on a national, regional and local level); the other being the private sector. There are however serious flaws in the coordination, follow up and up-scaling of these activities from a SI perspective (see above), a fact also mentioned by the ex post evaluators of the ESF Private sector welfare service providers A massive change from public sector produced services for disadvantaged and disabled target groups to private sector commercial actors has taken place the last decades in Sweden. A quasi market for providers for labour market measures has emerged, the PES has for example a substantial part of their services outsourced to private (and partly third sector) companies/ organizations. Very little research has been carried out in this sector, focusing SI. Evaluations and reports have mainly been analyzing cost-effectiveness and comparisons with public sector services. ESF has shown little interest in the topic, mainly supporting social entrepreneurship and social economy in the third sector. There is definitely a scope for further studies and research - as well as ESF interventions - when it comes to commercial welfare service providers. 3.3 Programme s view of social innovation General definition of social innovation Definition and section on SI in OP SE (not yet negotiated/approved): Social innovations are innovations that are social both as regards to their objectives and their methods. Social innovations entail new ideas (products, services, models) which simultaneously address social needs (more effective than existing alternatives) and create/develop new social 25

26 relationships and forms of co-operation. These types of innovations are beneficial to the individual in that they address individual needs, and they increase/strengthen society s ability to take action by allowing new or better structures for co-operation. Programme Area 2 has an inherent focus on developing methods to strengthen transitions to the labour market for the programme s priority groups. Programme Area 2 aims also to scale up and apply successful methods which address existing social needs. Initiatives can focus on the priority groups directly or on persons and functions which, within the frame of their position or mandate, are able to positively influence the situation for the priority groups and thereby achieve the programme objectives. Examples of needs and important initiatives are found in section 3. These persons and functions can be found in the private sector, public sector, NGOs and the social economic sector. Even Programme Area 1 can contribute towards testing and scaling up innovative solutions to current social needs. Examples include focusing on employed and unemployed in one and the same project, or competence development in the social welfare sector which facilitates the achievement of programme objectives Support for social innovation in the past A number of actions were taken to support SI in the ESF period: In ESF programme documents there have been guidelines for SI including criteria, definitions, and explanations. In a handbook on programme criteria the concept of innovation is explained, starting with a short characterization: Innovative activities within the ESF are about new strategies, concepts and ideas responding to different types of social needs. The criteria innovative action aims at creating/developing new thinking and added values in the projects. The results of an innovation have to be useful in the products and systems when mainstreamed and disseminated. A dedicated support structure for project promoters in application and preparation phase was provided for free by the MA, also including support for achieving and maintaining social innovation. The support was provided by private consultants, contracted by the MA, including process support as well as support for adequate responding to standards/criteria when it comes to gender mainstreaming, accessibility, transnational cooperation and innovation. Five Thematic networks for identifying, assessing/validating and promoting good/best practice, supporting dissemination, mainstreaming and policy impact were set up during the programme period, funded by the ESF. The networks should also take into account the level of innovation and added value in the projects and use the results for policy/system change. 26

27 An Evaluation structure provided/recommended for project promoters from MA (focusing ongoing/learning evaluation). The formative evaluation approach helped the project promoters to carry out the projects in an appropriate and efficient way, but in some cases also linking the activities and results to a larger context of societal reforming processes and thus, social innovation. Special calls with SI as a priority have been fairly successful, even though the strict ESF regulations (e.g. national co-financing) have been an obstacle. New target groups have been reached as well as new fields for project interventions (e.g. homeless EU-citizens, Roma and extremely poor and disadvantaged people included as new target groups as a result of the European Year against Poverty and Exclusion). As already mentioned there has been poor coordination and follow up of end results, and a lack of a solid structure to capture and exploit potential SI results. Complementarity and cooperation/ synergies with other players (ERDF, academia, Progress/EASI etc) has also been lacking. The heavy emphasis on Social economy/social entrepreneurship, maybe positive and reflecting the need for more extensive changes in welfare structures in SE during last decades, partly supported by ESF Issues in trying to finance innovation? There was much higher risk taking and a better innovation climate in e.g. Equal and CI Employment compared to ESF The mainstream programmes were often used for up-scaling of innovative results from the more experimental projects and programmes programmes had focus on audit instead of innovation/experiment/risk: more important to do things right than do the right things. In the new programming period a part of ESF should be dedicated to special SI projects with a high risk level having i.a. the following characteristics: a close follow up and support in the different project phases from MA/IB (or external consultants); links to research and policy making has to be strengthened; better possibilities for up-scaling successful results in mainstream programmes. ERDF has currently been more active in direct support to SI in academia and for infrastructure development (e.g. hubs, centres). There has to be better coordination and cooperation between the funds; private sector as well as third sector involvement is an interesting dimension in welfare system restructuring which should be supported by ESF as well as ERDF. The current situation is characterized by a number of somewhat uncoordinated actions in different societal areas, having different political interests and agendas playing the major role. 27