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Linking Social Innovation and Smart Specialisation. FP7 SmartSpec Project, Learning Journey Workshop, Ljubljana , 29-30 , September 2014 Ranald Richardson, Pedro Marques, and Kevin Morgan. Presentation Structure. Introduction: Key objectives of WP2

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linking social innovation and smart specialisation

Linking Social Innovation and Smart Specialisation

FP7 SmartSpec Project, Learning Journey Workshop,

Ljubljana, 29-30, September 2014

Ranald Richardson, Pedro Marques, and Kevin Morgan

presentation structure
Presentation Structure
  • Introduction: Key objectives of WP2
  • The (fuzzy) concept of Social innovation
  • Linking Social Innovation and Smart Specialisation
  • The Societal Challenge approach
  • Potential limitations of societal challenge approach
  • Open discussion: other approaches
wp2 key objectives
WP2 Key Objectives
  • To explore the conceptual links between S3 and social innovation
  • To identify how social innovation can contribute to S3 strategies focusing in particular on:
    • The role of public service innovation around RIS
    • The involvement of users and citizens in processes of design and decision
    • The role of social enterprises as sources of social innovation
  • We look at these issues through the lens of the ageing societal challenge combining conceptual and empirical approaches
  • Our core deliverables are academic papers but we seek to contribute to directly to policy thinking
so what is social innovation
So what is Social Innovation?
  • “An idea longing for a theory….no consensus regarding its relevance or specific meaning… lacking in clarity…. ‘a Babel-like terminological confusion’” (Pol & Ville, 2009; Moulaert, et al, 2013;Oosterlynk, 2013)
  • A ‘quasi-concept’ whose utility lies in grouping researchers and policymakers around a set of issues and concerns to generate social knowledge of value to both” (Jensen and Harrison, 2013)
  • BEPA’s 3 broad ‘interdependent’ categories (BEPA, 2011)
    • grass roots: social innovation for unmet social demands
    • societal challenges: where ‘social’ and ‘economic’ boundaries blur in order to better meet society wide problems
    • systemic: fundamental changes in attitudes, values, strategies, policies, organisational structures and processes, delivery systems and services…re-shaping society itself
  • Our view: SI is context dependent - Our Context is S3
social innovations as processes and outcomes
Social innovationsas processes and outcomes
  • “Social innovations are innovations that aresocial in both their ends and their means…new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations.
  • The process of social interactions between individuals undertaken to reach certain outcomes is participative, involves a number of actors and stakeholders who have a vested interest in solving a social problem, and empowers the beneficiaries. It is in itself an outcome as it produces social capital” (BEPA, 2010: 9-10, italics added)
disconnects between ris and si
‘Disconnects’ between RIS and SI


Social Innovation

  • Economic goals
  • Economic-industrial policy
  • Market values
  • Wealth creation
  • Efficient socio-economic arrangements
  • Technology biased
  • European model of capitalism
  • Established regional strategy role
  • Fragmented communities of regional economic development practice
  • Social goals
  • Social policy
  • Social values
  • Resource redistribution
  • Just socio-economic arrangements
  • Critical of technology bias
  • Anti/post/operating-in-the- interstices of capitalism
  • Limited regional strategy role
  • Fragmented communities of social development practice

Separate multi-territorial governance silos

emerging models of social and economic collaboration
Emerging Models of Social and Economic Collaboration

Firm-centred LL model

Triple Helix + users model

emerging models of social and economic c ollaboration
Emerging Models of Social and Economic Collaboration

Public-sector-centred LL model

Citizen centred QH model

si and the four cs
SI and the Four Cs
  • The Four Cs
  • Choices: the selection of a few investment priorities based on a process of entrepreneurial discovery to identify promising areas of specialisation
  • Competitive advantage: building on current economic specialisation and mobilising talent by matching RTD+I with business needs and capacities
  • Critical mass: developing world class excellence clusters and providing arenas for related variety and cross-sectoral links which drive specialised technological diversification
  • Collaborative Leadership: collective endeavour involving the academic world, public authorities, business and innovation users
  • Can SI contribute to Four Cs?
    • Bring different values to motivate action
    • Extend domains of entrepreneurial discovery
    • Help move S3 beyond STI or at least complement STI bias
    • Enhance process and expand collective endeavour to underpin S3
  • Can S3 contribute to SI?
focus on societal challenges
Focus on Societal Challenges
  • Societal challenges where ‘social’ and ‘economic’ boundaries blur in order better to meet society wide problems
why choose societal challenge sc
Why choose ‘societal challenge’ (SC)

EU Grand Challenges

Health, demographic change and wellbeing

Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research, and the bio-economy

Secure, clean and efficient energy

Smart, green and integrated transport

Inclusive, innovative and secure societies

Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials

Why focus on societal challenges?

  • Global policy buy-in to ‘challenge’ approach – OECD, WEF, etc.
  • €30bn Horizon 2020 for SC
  • S3 strategies can… be a powerful instrument to tackle (societal) challenges (CEC, 2013)
  • Challenge perspective should be included in regional strategies
  • Early research indicates many regions adopting SC approach
  • Most promising space for empirics
the ageing challenge and opportunity
The Ageing Challenge and Opportunity
  • Ageing society as a challenge and an opportunity
    • “Ageing isn’t a problem, but a source of innovation and growth” (Nellie Kroes)
  • Markets innovations
      • Innovation of new products and services
      • Innovative approaches to ageing consumers and citizens
  • Public service innovations
      • More cost effectively delivering public services
      • Planning and delivering public services
      • New sources of public service delivery
  • New sources of innovation funding
  • New sources of labour requiring labour market innovations
  • ‘New’ sources of entrepreneurship: private , social and third sectors
  • Direct contribution to innovation processes “the wisdom economy”
smart spatial specialisation s3
Smart Spatial Specialisation (S3)
  • S3 has a dual territorial logic
    • At the European level S3 is about overcoming duplication, creating greater collaboration and a more diverse innovation system
    • At the (national) regional level it is about specialisation for competitive advantage around existing or credibly realisable excellence
    • European strength through diversity based on local ‘particularism’
societal challenge innovation at the europe level health and care initiatives boekholt 2013
Societal Challenge Innovation at the Europe Level: Health and Care Initiatives (Boekholt, 2013)

European Innovation Partnership AHA

Organisational change

Cultural change

Horizon 2020

Health, Demographic Change, Wellbeing

Ambient Assisted Living

Prevention chronic diseases

Social interaction of elderly people

Assisted daily living

Personalised medicines

Integrated care systems

Independent living

Self management of daily life

Bio Markers

Service integration



Early Diagnosis

Distant patient monitoring


Interoperationability for e Health

Innovative Medicine Initiative

Digital Agenda for Europe

EU legislation cross border healthcare

Health for Growth

but s3 requires specialisation
But S3 requires specialisation

Adapted from Lower Saxony Region RIS3

s3 and ageing challenge supporting alternative innovation domains
S3 and Ageing Challenge: Supporting Alternative Innovation Domains?
  • Home region as test market, innovation test-bed, and a collective innovation environment for SCtechnologies, with extra-regional collaboration and market search
  • SI as ‘handmaiden’ of economic growth?

Medical tech


Social isolation

ICTs & Smart Transport




Medical & Life


Built environment



s3 and ageing challenge supporting alternative innovation domains1
S3 and Ageing Challenge: Supporting Alternative Innovation Domains?

Also use technology innovation as catalyst for SI in home region, through PPPPs, culture and org change, new training regimes , etc.

Or focus on non-technology innovation, e.g., developing new services process consultancy

Medical tech


Social isolation

ICTs & Smart Transport




Medical & Life


Built environment



all regions face societal challenges but is it an opportunity for all
All regions face societal challenges, but is it an opportunity for all?
  • A number of ‘challenges’:
    • The Capacity Challenge
    • The Prioritization Challenge
    • The Stakeholder Engagement Challenge
    • The ‘Policy Mix’ Challenge
    • The Multi-level Governance Challenge
    • The Cross-border Challenge
    • The Smart (Evidence-based) Policy Making Challenge
    • The Policy Capacity Challenge
some examples
Some examples
  • Capacity Challenge
    • Lack of private sector capacity in Societal Challenge theme(s) and of related variety proximity
    • Lack of critical mass to prioritize potential
    • Little regional power or responsibility
  • Prioritization challenge
    • Lack of integrated (social-economic) networks - missing actors in entrepreneurial search process
    • The ‘tyranny’ of traditional priorities
some examples1
Some examples
  • The Stakeholder Challenge
    • Interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, intra-organisational silos
    • Engaging civic organisations and users meaningfully and for long-term
    • Engaging public sector for innovative solutions in an era of austerity
  • Policy-mix Challenge
    • Integrating policymakers
    • Integrating funding streams
  • Multi-level governance Challenge
    • Vertical and horizontal alignment
    • Policy and responsibility split between social and economic

The Cross-border collaboration challenge

    • Difficult to design cross-border innovation strategies multiplied in context of national social strategies
    • Social policy actors tend to be concerned with their ‘own backyard’
  • The Smart Policy Making Challenge - evidence
    • Does social or economic have priority
    • Can you measure both
    • Social indicators and metrics underdeveloped
  • Policy Capacity Challenge
    • Can regions create the competencies mix and formal and informal new structures required?