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Final report Digital Social Innovation

The final report on Digital Social Innovation, titled 'Growing a digital social innovation ecosystem for Europe' was published in February 2015. This report commissioned by the European Commission, DG CONNECT is the first systematic network analysis of the emerging digital social innovation (DSI) ecosystem in Europe. 

Download a copy here

Key Findings

  • The report identifies more than 1,000 rising examples of digital social innovation organisations across Europe, and the hidden links among them.
  • Social innovation in Europe is currently done by a few large organisations alongside a large mass of smaller organisations, but the majority of social innovators in Europe are disconnected from the bigger networks.
  • The largest and more interconnected community is focused around open hardware and open networks, and there is a large focus on awareness networks and new ways of making.
  • The open knowledge cluster is the second largest, with a focus on collaborative economy.
  • The third largest network is grouped around Nesta and is focussed on funding, acceleration and open democracy. Other communities, such as those grouped around open data are developing connected communities.
  • A growing movement of innovators in civil society, tech and social entrepreneurs are now developing inspiring digital solutions for a variety of social issues, in areas such as health, democracy, consumption, money and education.

From the report: "The largest community (10.29 per cent) is focused around open hardware and open networks and includes organisations such as iMinds, Fairphone, the City of Amsterdam, and Fab Lab Barcelona. Its most interconnected member is Waag Society, and there is a large focus on awareness networks and new ways of making." 

Digital technologies and the internet have transformed many areas of business – from Google and Amazon to Airbnb and Kickstarter. Huge sums of public money have supported digital innovation in business, as well as in fields ranging from the military to espionage. But there has been much less systematic support for innovations that use digital technology to address social challenges.

The DSI project seeks to define and understand the potential of DSI, to map the digital social innovators, their projects and networks, and to develop recom­mendations for how policymakers, from the EU to city level, can make the most of DSI.

Author
Francesca Bria

Contributors
Dr. Mila Gascó, ESADE Business School; Dr. Harry Halpin, IRI; Peter Baeck, Nesta; Dr. Esteve Almirall, ESADE Business School; Frank Kresin, Waag Society

The Digital Social Innovation project is funded by the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology under Contract No. 30-CE-0531673/00-86.

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