Social Innovation has been increasingly perceived as the answer to the rising number of European societal challenges. While the European authorities, leading academics, policy experts, business people and activists agree that social innovation is the key to better future for Europe and the world, it is extremely difficult for professionals to obtain high quality training on what social innovation actually offers and, more importantly, how it can be done in practice.
We aim to change this situation in Europe and beyond. SOCIA brings together five experienced partners from Luxembourg, Greece, Poland, Slovenia and Spain to develop and test the Social Innovation Academy concept.
The Academy will be the first European, fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation.
It will target the managers of companies, NGOs/civil society organisations and intermediaries (hubs, incubators, labs etc.) as well as (aspiring) social entrepreneurs willing to learn how to set up and run social innovation initiatives to solve the most pressing societal challenges of our times.
The project will be running from September 1st, 2017 until August 31st, 2019.
Concrete project objectives are to:
- Develop the social innovation skills and competence framework, based on research involving both successful and aspiring social innovators
- Analyse the current social innovation professional training supply and compare it with user learning preferences, identifying gaps
- Develop and test the Academy’ content and learning environment concept
- Draw broader recommendations for various stakeholder groups relevant for social innovation VET (aspiring innovators themselves, trainers/experts, intermediaries, policy makers and impact investors)
- Build a community of stakeholders around the Academy concept to ensure wide engagement and sustainability beyond the project duration
In effect, we aim to increase access to and level of the practical social innovation skills and competences of our target audience, raise awareness about the importance of practice-oriented social innovation training in Europe and ingrain it in the activities of various stakeholder groups.
The project will produce six Intellectual Outputs (IOs) using a variety of robust methodologies:
IO1 Social innovation skill-set and competence framework (mapping; semi-structured interviews; self-assessments; coding and comparative analysis)
IO2 Social innovation training handbook (network & desktop research; mapping; expert group; gap analysis)
IO3 Social Innovation Academy concept & learning environment (User-Centered Design; Robert Mager’s framework for learning objectives; assessment methodology; contents classification and knowledge management through taxonomies, semantics, ontology, descriptors for search and retrieval; prototyping of learning modules and paths using Pelz‘s principles of engagement, presence, and interaction; rapid prototyping of learning environment based on the ‘Checklist for Online Interactive Learning’ and ‘The Components Of A Successful Online Learning Environment’)
IO4 Social Innovation Academy validation & testing (focus group or living lab methodologies and individual monitored testing protocols, quantitative (survey) and qualitative (debriefing sessions) feedback collection)
IO5 Social Innovation Academy guides (desktop ‘digital storytelling’, ‘pyramid thinking’, editing & layout)
IO6 Online Social Innovation Academy community (stakeholder mapping & salience model, stakeholder engagement, online community, sustainability strategy)
We will also organise two related Multiplier Events in each of the five partner countries.
In addition to the Intellectual Outputs and Multiplier Events, the following results are expected. First, our project will result in the very first research- and evidence-based understanding of ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘how’ of social innovation training. Second, SOCIA will be the first project to result in a well-grounded, focused but comprehensive curriculum on social innovation for VET purposes. Third, by developing and testing the concept of the first online social innovation training programme for professionally active audiences, our project will result in increased awareness of and accessibility to social innovation know-how in Europe. Fourth, the project will result in the different stakeholders besides the learners themselves increasing their understanding of how they can benefit from and better support practice-oriented social innovation training in Europe. Fifth, some parts of the IOs will be constitute stand-alone results transferrable to other projects. Finally, extended cooperation among project partners will lead to further synergies and opportunities.
By training social innovators of the future, the Academy’s impact will reach the business, policy and administration audiences.
Copyright (C) SOCIA consortium