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Social Innovations and Population Ageing . International Conference „ Active Ageing “ – The potential for society Dublin, 9th – 11th July 2012 Prof. Dr. Rolf G. Heinze / Prof. Dr. Gerhard Naegele Ruhr-University Bochum / TU Technical University of Dortmund .

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social innovations and population ageing

Social Innovations and Population Ageing

International Conference

„ActiveAgeing“ – The potential forsociety

Dublin, 9th – 11th July 2012

Prof. Dr. Rolf G. Heinze/Prof. Dr. Gerhard Naegele

Ruhr-University Bochum / TU Technical University of Dortmund

european commission social innovation in and for europe i
European Commission - Social innovation in and for Europe I
  • In Europe the term social innovation is a relatively new one, although social innovation is not new as such
  • In Europe it is often confused with social enterprise or is limited to the social field
  • “Social innovation is about new ideas that work to address pressing unmet needs. We simply describe it as innovations that are both social in their ends and in their means. Social innovations are new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations” (European Commission 2010, taken from the definition in the Open Book of Social Innovation, Murray, Calulier-Grice and Mulgan, March 2010)
our own definition of social innovation
Ourowndefinition of socialinnovation
  • We speak of social innovation if there is an intentional, purposeful new configuration of social practices realised by a certain group of stakeholders respectively constellations of stakeholders.
  • The objective here is to solve or satisfy socio-political problems or needs better than it would be possible on the basis of established practices.
  • This means that it is about the founded and explicitly intended integration of various constellations of stakeholders and practices into new socio-political methods of operation and organisation.
  • Social innovations can thereby be market-oriented or ‘non-respectively without profit’ orientation towards outstanding societal challenges/social issues.
c riteria of and preconditions for social innovations
Criteria of and preconditions for social innovations
  • Orientation towards outstanding societal challenges/social issues
  • New solutions in the sense of a real understanding of newness
  • Specific new configurations of social practices/arrangements
  • Overcoming the traditional dichotomisation of technological and social innovations through integration
  • Integration/Co-operation of heterogeneous players that usually do not (have) co-operate (d) (e.g. between technology producers and social work)
  • Integrated patterns of action
  • Integration of the end-users (“user co-production”)
  • Reflexivity and interdisciplinary approaches
  • Orientation towards the key goal of societal usefulness
  • Very often aiming at solving societal and social problems
  • Sustainability of measures (in the sense of social practice/facts)
  • New growth potentials in terms of regular employment
demographic change and population ageing in europe
Demographic change and population ageing in Europe

Shrinking of the population as a whole

Declining resp. stagnating birth-rates

Increase of the so-called "further life expectancy”

Increase of the average age of the population

Shrinking and “greying” of the workforce

Increase of the very old (“double” and “threefold” population ageing)

Considerably growing of the older in relation to the younger generation

Further rise in the proportion of (in many countries also ageing) foreigners within the overall population

Apart from the Eastern European countries Germany and Italy belong to those countries in the EU with the most prominent demographic challenges

challenges of collective population ageing 1
Challenges of collective population ageing … (1)
  • Fundamental changes in both the living- and family structures as well as in social networks of the ageing population
  • Structural change in the household composition of older people (“singularisation of old age”)
  • Decline in the informal and/or family-bound helper potential
  • Ageing and shrinking of the workforce
  • “Baby-boomer” generation is retiring
  • Substantial lack of skilled workers in many EU member states expected
  • Elderly women are increasingly faced by the new burden of reconciling work and (family) long-term care, many of them at the same time still engaged in looking after their elderly children (“sandwich generation”)
challenges of collective population ageing 2
Challenges of collective population ageing … (2)
  • At the same time EU governments have raised (or at least are planning to do so) retirement ages
  • Population ageing goes along with an increase of age-specific morbidity and long-term care
  • In consequence, there is a need of both adapting the health treatment systems as well as the provision of long-term care according to the special needs of an ageing population
  • Among the older generation one can find a strong wish to maintain to live independently in their own “four walls” as long as possible/or long-term care
  • Population ageing is leading to an increased need for lifelong learning in all stages of life
  • In many European countries one can observe an ethnic-cultural differentiation of old age
need new answers as social innovations e g
… need new answers as social innovations, e.g.
  • Demographic-sensitive adjustment of working conditions
  • Policy-mix in approaches oriented to the working environment
  • Adequate health provision reacting to an increase in chronic illness and multi-morbidity (e.g. integrated care approaches)
  • To meet the challenges of long term care and dementia in old age
  • To adapt housing conditions to allow longer independently living
  • Policy- and player-mix in housing and environmental oriented approaches (e.g. housing industry, IK-technologies, social services, local authorities)
  • Policy-mix in the field of service providers
  • From a „front-oriented“ education system to lifelong learning
  • To involve older recipients/users of social innovations practically
what should be done to use the social and economic resources of an ageing population
What should be done to use the social and economic resources of an ageing population ?
  • Population ageing as a cross-sectoral task of shaping
  • Demographic-sensitive adjustment of working conditions
  • To promote workability and employability of an ageing workforce
  • To adapt/reconstruct the health treatment and long-term care systems
  • To adapt housing conditions to allow longer independently living
  • Adapting the „front-oriented“ to lifelong learning systems
  • Stakeholder- and policy mix
  • “Silver market” for a better use of the economic power of old age
  • To fight socio-economic inequalities across the entire life-course
  • To promote social and civic participation in old age
  • To promote healthy ageing by self-determined health-promotion and prevention
  • To let technology become part of older people`s lives
social innovations and population ageing1
Social innovations and population ageing
  • Social innovations are regarded as suitable tools to put the productive potentials of an ageing society into practice
  • These potentials should aim at interactive learning processes and the networking of heterogeneous players and patterns of action
  • Undoubtedly, simple technological product- and market innovations are not enough to meet the challenges of population ageing best
  • E.g.: New technologies in the field of living and/or caring need to be mixed with approaches of handling and acceptance among the target group
  • Social innovations are dependent on the socio-spatial environment and players who are willing to co-operate
  • This is of growing importance for the local level where “new strategic alliances” as (local) social innovations are needed
social innovations in practice
Social innovations in practice
  • When it comes to look for adequate social innovations there is no ‚one best way‘
  • Both existing social configurations as well as the “blockades” of the players involved have to be taken into account
  • The success of social innovations is not only based on new institutional preconditions but on the will to co-operate
  • However, this is hard to realize in a highly fragmented and regulated policy system (like the German one)
  • This is particularly true for the health and care sector
  • Therefore, good practice, benchmarking and the exchange of experiences are additional necessary preconditions for sustainable social innovations aiming at the challenges of population ageing
the silver economy as an option for economic innovation
The ‚Silver Economy‘ as an option for economic innovation
  • The option that a country like Germany with one of the ‘oldest’ populations worldwide could develop a lead market for social innovations regarding ‘age’ has not been discussed at great length
  • It is only for the past ten years that a systematic processing of the ‘silver economy’ has started; part of the ‘silver economy’ are those sectors producing services that are especially demanded and bought by older people or people preparing for old age
  • The ‘silver economy’ is not an independent economic sector that is easily definable but a mixed market
  • In detail see: Rolf G. Heinze/Gerhard Naegele/Katrin Schneiders, Wirtschaftliche Potentiale des Alters, Stuttgart 2011: Kohlhammer Verlag.
old age and it linked services
Old age and IT-linked services
  • Our society needs the potentials of the older generation due to both social as well as economic reasons (taking into account the costs for residential home care compared to outpatient care)
  • Especially the linkage of both aims independent living as well as promotion of health is considered to be a significant future growth market (also including e.g. nutrition, wellness and communication)
  • Older people need both individuality as well as community. Intelligent living facilities and housing-related services can offer both
  • Older people do not refuse new communication technologies; rather they are able to handle and use new technologies productively when being introduced accordingly
  • Care for those in need will probably not be possible without an increased use of an integrated supply network combined with civic engagement and the use of modern technologies
living independently in old age as an innovative growth market
Living independently in old age as an innovative growth market
  • “Living independently” has become a key issue in the process of population ageing
  • It refers to both social and household-oriented services as well as to many products supporting independent living in old age. It also affects traditional lines of business such as the retail sector
  • With increasing age more time is spent at home. Thus the own flat/house increasingly becomes the centre of life. This is combined with increased demands regarding the quality of life, especially in terms of comfort, security and payability.
  • Networked living will increase in the wake of population ageing. The technological infrastructure already exists, although in many cases suitable networking and business models are still missing
  • Social innovations can only be successful if there is a change of institutional arrangements and if e.g. the infrastructural preconditions and structures of cooperation for ‘networked living’ are created
  • Older people should not only be seen as consumers but as co-producers of social innovations
  • There is innovational power of the ‘economic factor age’ regarding the combination of civic engagement (or ‘social capital’), innovative micro-system technology and new social services linked with economic concepts for process optimization
  • Social innovations are on the agenda in Europe, but are found only marginally in standard provision
  • A strategy to promote social innovations in an ageing society requires structural reforms and new forms of networked cooperation
  • This still means significant challenges for all key actors involved
thank you for your attention
Thankyouforyourattention !


Prof. Dr. Gerhard Naegele/

Prof. Dr. Rolf Heinze

Institut für Gerontologie an der TU Dortmund

Evinger Platz 13

44339 Dortmund

thank you for your attention1
Thank you for your attention

Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Soziologie, Arbeit und Wirtschaft heinze