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Social Innovation in the Public Sector EGPA Conference 11 Septembre 2013 Edinburgh Victor Bekkers Erasmus University Rotterdam.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Innovation in the Public Sector EGPA Conference 11 Septembre 2013 Edinburgh Victor Bekkers Erasmus University Rotterdam."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Innovation in the Public Sector EGPA Conference 11 Septembre 2013 Edinburgh Victor Bekkers Erasmus University Rotterdam

2 Content Social innovation as a rising star and the LIPSE project. Why is social innovation a ‘magic concept’? What is social innovation? What are drivers behind social innovation? What about citizens and governments? Social innovation as a magic concept: some questions?

3 Social innovation: a rising star “combines public and private resources to grow promising community-based solutions that have evidence of results …. America's challenges are being developed every day at the grass roots -- and government shouldn't be supplanting those efforts, it should be supporting those efforts” (Obama’s social innovation fund) “The idea is to give local communities more power and to encourage people to play an active role in these communities. The assumption is that these communities set up co-operations, charities, mutual and other social enterprises to deal with the local and concrete needs that citizens encounter. (Cameron on the Big Society) Social innovation is “ about new ideas that work to address unmet needs. We simply describe it as innovations that are both social in their ends and in their means” (European Commission)

4 LIPSE  To identify relevant drivers and barriers that explain the success or failure of social innovations in the public sector, and to give policy recommendations.  To learn from cross-national and cross-sectoral comparisons to understand how social innovation practice convergence or diverge between states  To advise policymakers and researchers on potential future pathways for social innovation in the public sector that can enhance productivity, growth and competitiveness in countries  To contribute to the governance of social innovation in the public sector

5 Social innovation as a magic concept Four developments merge: – How to meet new societal challenges, like global warming, (youth) employment, growing elderly population? Responsiveness of governments – How to deal with needs that really matter to citizens and companies? Efficacy and legitimacy of governments – How deal with the budgettary crisis of government? Austerity and efficiency – How to make use of the self-organizing power in society? How to use this power of individuals and communities?

6 Social innovation as a magic concept To produce need-oriented outcomes Open process of co-creation with relevant stakeholders: collaborative innovation networks Game-changer: fundamentally changes existing relations, positions and playing rules Beyond technological innovations Re-allocation of public values thereby reinventing publicness

7 The essence of social innovation Innovation as a process – Learning, trial and error, experimenting – Qualitative discontinuity with the past (radical, transformative change) – Ecological perspective Co-evolution between different environments Interaction between different stakeholders Specific (institutional) environment and local embeddness

8 Building blocks of drivers and barriers The broader innovation environment The innovation network The innovation process The diffusion and adoption process

9 Drivers and barriers of social innovation

10 Citizens and governments Citizen participation – As co-implementor of existing rules and programs – As co-creator or co-design – As initiator : self-organization Expectations regarding possible outcomes Expectations regarding efforts to participate Level playing field and ‘weak interests’ Representativeness of voices

11 Citizens and governments Governments – Formal witdrawal but informal steering problem of ‘letting go’ and ‘the open back door’ – Persistence of existing practices – Weak interest and level playing field But also: Self-organization paradox: self-organization requires strong government involvement???

12 Social innovation as a magic concept: some questions? Is social innovation more than a rhetoric strategy to legitimize the withdrawal of government and the downsizing of the welfare state? Is social innovation as form ‘conspicious production’: it is the process that counts: inspiration, sense making and learning that matter not the outcomes that have been produced? How relevant are the outcomes and to whom? Cui bono? The proof is in eating the pudding How are these outcomes being legitimized? New values and the re- allocation of existing values: re-definition of (in)equality, solidarity and freedom? Other forms of publicness?? Does context matter? Are some states and policy sectors more social innovative than others? How to overcome innovation bias? Looking for ‘failed innovations’? Did policy makers and society make use of the ‘austerity ‘ policy window to change the ‘rules of the game’?

13 Further information


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