#socialinterreg initiative launched
Social innovation matters, and transnational cooperation can help generate and stimulate social innovation. With the #socialinterreg campaign, more than thirty Interreg projects joined forces. Together, they want to showcase the added value of projects working with social innovation in Interreg, especially in the light of the programming process for the next funding period 2021-2027.
The campaign builds upon three main pillars: the website socialinterreg.eu, the twitter hashtag #socialinterreg, and an informal network of social innovation projects that stands behind the initiative. It is a spin-off from the Interreg Baltic Sea Region projects SEMPRE and SEMPRE Accelerators, coordinated by the Diaconie of Schleswig-Holstein, managed by us – REM Consult – and funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community.
What is Social Innovation?
Social innovation is a complex concept, and there is a vast number of definitions. For the purpose of this project, we have decided to adopt the most simple one: social innovations are “innovations that are social both in their ends and their means” (Murray et al., The Open Book of Social Innovation 2010). In the context of European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg), this means that we are talking about novel approaches (products, services or models) that (1) meet social needs related to the large societal challenges such as demographic change, migration and climate change in cities and regions of the EU and (2) are being created and implemented not in a traditional for-profit setting but in collaborations and networks of the public, private and third sector and – more and more often – citizens and users of services.
Why Social Innovation in Interreg?
If seen in this way, social innovation projects contribute to the overall goals of European Territorial Cooperation and the specific objectives of the various Interreg programmes. They create growth and jobs, foster social inclusion, make cities and regions (including rural areas) more attractive places to live in and bring the European idea and values closer to people who may not be so familiar with or positive about the EU.