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Social innovations

Handbook on social innovations and good practice projects

The Ministry of Investment, Regional Development and Informatization of the SR, in cooperation with the Platform for social innovations, prepared a Handbook to help people in regions to better understand the topic and prepare successful innovative projects. The Handbook offers explanations of the main areas of social innovation, defines basic notions and brings examples of good practice in Slovakia and abroad.

Handbook on social innovations and good practice projects (PDF, 2 960 kB)

Social innovations

The Ministry, as a key partner for the regional development, perceives social innovation as part of the preparation of integrated territorial strategies and support for the least developed districts. This topic is also part of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, Partnership Agreement as well as the future Operational Programme Slovakia.

Social and societal innovations constitute new, more effective, more sustainable and fairer solutions to societal problems as compared to traditional or usual solutions. It may include development of new products, services, introduction of technologies as well as a change of the set rules or creation of new roles in the social system.

“Social innovations are an integral part of the regional development as well as part of the preparation of integrated territorial strategies and integrated territorial packages in Slovakia. We would like to implement social innovations by involving several actors in the form of the so-called innovation triangle Civil society = entrepreneurs, industry, services third sector on the one side, Academia = public schools, universities, public research institutions on the other, and Government institutions = state and regional administration on the third. Cooperation with the platform of social innovations is very important for us. In the form of a webinar, we informed stakeholders in the regions about other examples of good practices in social innovations, such as Pontis, project titled “The future is different”, Ashoka, projects of the social innovators global network”, says Deputy Minister Dušan Velič.

What is social innovation?

Social innovations are societal innovations, which incorporate features of the systemic change, have an impact on the society in a region and bring a high societal value.

What is the objective of social innovations?

Compared to available alternative solutions, social innovations aim at bringing better solutions of societal problems (that means solutions that are more effective, efficient, sustainable and fairer), respond to urgent social and societal needs and, at the same time, build new social relations and cooperate in the development of the society, region, city or village.

What is the result of the societal change?

The result can be seen in the change of the mindset of people, their willingness to participate and embrace the change for the better. This is why we consider social innovation to be the basis for the future development of society. Organisations and models of the social economy will help create a more responsible, equitable and fairer economy.

What is the precondition for the societal change?

The unique handwriting of each one of us can motivate and restore creative thinking in the society, which is the driving force of a positive change and its implementation by every one of us.

What are the main areas of social innovations?

  • Population health
  • Education and human development
  • Social mobility and inclusion
  • Unemployment services
  • Support to entrepreneurship
  • Environment and regional development
  • Culture, creativity, development in communities
  • Effective public administration
  • Development of new technologies
  • Quality of life and financial literacy.

Who is the author of systemic socially benefitial changes in the country?

Organisations and individuals who have a strong social mindset and reinvest large part of their incomes to achieving their societal and environmental goals. It includes all types of organisations from a non-profit, public or private sectors, and academia.

What does it mean – to enhance and develop functional communities?

Enhancement and development of functional communities helps to restore and enrich the life in regions, and build better environment encouraging young generations to remain in regions, which can thus continue developing.

How to scale social innovations? 

Transfer specific solutions from the place of their origin to any other place and area where similar problems exist. This means in practice that social innovators develop certain activities in one region of Slovakia, which can be then transfered and implemented successfuly to solve identical problems in other regions. One step in the implementation of the change is creating a model of sustainable financing to achieve sustainable societal changes.