social innovation

Social innovation: 5 smart ideas for a better society

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We live in an era of relentless change, where social innovation plays a crucial role in developing effective solutions to complex problems.

Integrating digital transformation into social innovation strategies will revolutionise the way we interact, collaborate and solve the problems that affecting our society.

Read on to find out all about social innovation, what it’s, how it can help you improve your life and what smart ideas it has already produced in Italy and Europe. Read more.

Table of contents

What is social innovation

The term “social innovation” refers to the implementation of strategies, concepts and new ideas developed to meet needs of a social nature, promote collective wellbeing and face the challenges such as inequality, the digital divide and ill-health.

This kind of approach is not only a process, but also an outcome aimed at improving the quality of life in a stable and sustainable way.

Social innovation, therefore, is the ability to respond to society’s needs in an innovative way, creating new models that generate social and economic value. Social innovation is an approach capable of involving different actors, such as the public, private and third sectors, often based on the use of digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and cloud computing.

Social innovation and digitisation: a winning combination

In the era of industry 4.0, digitisation has become the basis for social innovation. Through the use of advanced technologies, organisations can now collect and analyse data more efficiently, improving their understanding of community needs and increasing the impact of their initiatives.

The so-called “digital transition” is in fact an accelerator of innovation, making possible what was previously only imaginable.

Among the tools offered for better connectivity and collaboration are:

1. Community health app

Community health apps are mobile applications whose purpose is to provide access to health information, advice and support, especially in rural or underserved areas. They fall under the umbrella of e-health and m-health.

2. Online educational platforms

More often than not, online educational platforms, such as VITECO’s e-Logos, fall under the umbrella of on-demand educational projects, whose offerings are based on personalised and accessible learning for every level of education and cultural background.

3. Crowdfunding for social causes

Crowdfunding platforms for socially useful causes make it possible to raise funds for social initiatives and give voice to projects that otherwise would not find support.

social innovation

Social innovation examples in Italy and Europe

Concrete examples of social innovation include:

1. REFERENCE project and MyFunds App

REFERENCE is a European project, funded by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG Regio), which aims to facilitate access to European funds for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), universities, schools, non-profit organisations and public administrations (PAs).

The project created the MyFunds App, which provides detailed information on the various programmes and soft finance opportunities available in the EU. The project is coordinated by JO Consulting, a consultancy company specialised in European funds, which is part of the JO Group of companies.

2. STAGE consortium

STAGE consortium is composed of 5 organisations based in France, Cyprus, Greece, Germany and Italy and aims to strengthen the social inclusion of migrants in these countries, regardless of racial and ethnic identity, gender, age and sexual orientation.

The EU project, with the help of HT Apps, created an innovative web app that enables migrants to familiarise themselves with the language of the host country and build networks in local communities.

3. European networks

Without a shadow of a doubt, the networks set up by the European Union (EU) represent and want to be an example of social innovation. These include:

4. WE

WE: Real World Education aims to produce a set of tools that support best practice in sustainability in adults, contributing to the creation of a learning pathway for:

WE operates in Denmark, Cyprus, Greece, Spain and Italy, where IPPO Engineering has implemented focus groups, trainers and a curriculum on environmental education to foster change in people regarding sustainability.

5. European SHIFT-HUB database

SHIFT-HUB is another example of social innovation. The project, which originated within the framework of the Horizon Europe programme, aims to create a continental database enabling the adoption of high-quality healthcare solutions.

SHIFT-HUB includes 12 organisations from 7 European countries (Germany, France, Greece, Belgium, Romania, Portugal and Italy), which share an interest in smart health services. In Italy, the company IPPOCRATE AS is in charge of SHIFT-HUB.

Challenges and opportunities related to social innovation

As we have seen from the examples proposed here, social innovation often uses the opportunities offered by the digital transition to generate change from the bottom up, to improve people’s quality of life and make our cities more inclusive and sustainable.

With smart ideas and approaches, such as the proposed examples, social innovation can help build a society that is more equitable, supportive and attentive to the real needs of citizens.

Therefore, social innovation is both a challenge to be faced and an opportunity to be seized. Social innovation means solving, through winning ideas and projects, the problems of our time, such as inequality, climate change, ill-health and lack of civic participation.

Contact us to develop smart ideas and projects

If you have smart ideas and projects, which can in some way contribute to a better society, and you want to innovate, please contact us by filling in the contact form below or by calling +390950936053. A team of experienced consultants, from the JO Group cluster of companies, will guide you in the realisation of your social innovation project, whatever it may be. Call us, we are waiting for you.

JO Group: #borntoinnovate

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