Results of the Conference

27. Sep 2011

Challenge Social Innovation: Innovating innovation by research – 100 years after Schumpeter


The most obvious and immediate success of the conference was to form and make visible a community of some 350 scholars and experts on social innovation, representing more than 50 countries from around the globe. This made up the largest conference concerning scientific analysis and research on social innovation ever since the topic attained public recognition during the past years. The composition of the audience alongside with debates initiated and stimulated depicted a true mapping of the current state of the art pertaining to research on social innovation: There were the relatively small groups of more or less established researchers from Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) dealing with the subject, a great number of ‘newcomers’, and some of the most relevant players in the wider practice arrays of social innovation. CSI 2011 was the expected high level scientific conference reaching out to practitioners of social innovation in the private, public, and civil society sectors.

It was agreed to the greatest possible extent that high expectations in the praxis of social innovation are not yet adequately met and facilitated by scientific foundations, research methodologies and capacities. Thus the achieved large assembly of researchers with a multi-disciplinary as well as multi-cultural background from all continents was very timely and appropriate to raise awareness of different approaches and of the need to foster common theoretical and methodological grounds for internationally comparable, reliable and applicable research in social innovation.

On the third day of the conference, future research collaborations were established: more than 150 participants met in pre-arranged bilateral meetings, discussing their research proposals to be funded by the European Framework Programme (FP7).

The chosen set-up of the conference aimed effectually at creating a real working environment to establish the ‘Vienna Declaration: The most needed social innovations and related research topics’ (VD), and to send out strong signals to the wider community of researchers, social innovators, and to strategic and funding organisations involved in the formation of research and innovation policies. The VD consists of 14 topical research questions (voted by the whole of the conference participants in a digital voting procedure from a total of 56 themes suggested), according to the 14 research areas that structured the conference (e.g. ‘social entrepreneurship’, ‘society 2.0’, ‘measuring social innovation’, ‘demographic change’ ...). The VD includes an information on the ‘European School of Social Innovation’, whose establishment was announced during the conference, and a request for support to this initiative that will further allow to develop the international community of researchers as well as academic education and vocational training organisations in social innovation.

During October comments and debates concerning the initial version will be collected and integrated in a reworked release of the VD that will formally be presented to EC Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn during an academic event in London, on 11th Nov. 2011.

Further results of the conference include the online publication of all papers presented at the conference, and a selection of about 20 most relevant ones in a reference book published by Springer International in the first half of 2012.

Josef Hochgerner (ZSI), Jürgen Howaldt (sfs/Universität Dortmundt), Daniela Schindler-Daniels (NET4SOCIETY), 27 Sep. 2011


Tags: social innovation

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