Europe in recent years has been in ‘crisis mode’ in terms of immigration, security and its countries’ economies. While the impact of this crisis is far from receding, some light has begun to appear at the end of the tunnel. The European Union, many international organisations, educational and health institutes, social entrepreneurs and researchers, as well as active communities of citizens around the world, are demonstrating their willingness and practical ability to cooperate and integrate social challenges into established practices. In this blog post we compile a list of 8 examples of how to address a grand social challenge.


Girls Who Code

Unfortunately, stereotypes are alive and well in the 21st century. Gender stereotypes still affect women in tech and business. Who said that girls cannot code? In a bid to beat these stereotypes the ‘Girls Who Code’ team came together several years ago in Washington aiming to support young women and under-represented groups to pursue a career in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Since then, further initiatives have followed in different parts of the world, all sharing the same goal – to take massive action in order to close the gender gap in technology. Today, the Girls Who Code initiative has reached almost 90,000 girls of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds across 50 states. So what are they doing in practice? Their students across the US have the opportunity to learn through a wide range of learning programmes, deepen their computer science knowledge and skills, and, finally, become prepared to successfully enter the computer workforce.

Find out more here.



Sociable is considered among the top influential projects in ICT for Active and Healthy Ageing. It is an innovative service for personalised mental empowerment via the exploitation of modern technology. It is aimed at helping people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia, in addition to adults who are interested in exercising their minds with targeted activities. It includes creative and fun activities for the exercise of memory, perception, attention, language, visual-spatial ability and orientation. The goal of the project is to practise and stabilise participants’ mental functions through personalised programmes designed by scientists.

Find out more here.



There’s no doubt that social innovation is the vehicle for a sustainable future. It is evident at all levels of entrepreneurship that there is a shift towards the reinforcement of creative thinking that can address grand social challenges. But realistically, what types of change can emerge if we don’t lead with money? Google Impact Challenge winner Pennies gives customers in the UK the option to donate a few pennies of electronic change with a single click. In just 7 years they have managed to help more than 300 charities by donating over £13,000,000, confirming the fact that you are never too small to make a difference.  

Find out more here. 


Social Innovation Academy

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. By training the social innovators of the future, the Academy’s impact will reach the business, policy and administration audiences as a whole.

Learn more about the project here.



Osiris is a European project that promotes open and social innovation in the regions where it was launched under the Interreg Europe Programme. The project builds on the cooperation of international and local ecosystems to improve planning and the immediate provision and implementation of open and innovative policies and actions to address social challenges. In pursuing new regional policies that will be tested and implemented to further develop cooperative and regional innovation systems, the project focuses on studying and exchanging the good practices and experiences already implemented in the participating regions that have resulted from regional projects and other initiatives. Each partner in the project will create an action plan to address how open and social innovation should be utilised when creating and implementing regional development strategies.

Read more here.


The UKeMED platform

UKeMED is a knowledge ecosystem offering innovative collaborative services to the healthcare community. The global healthcare community can share its collective expertise, knowledge and skills to train professionals, teach ways of working together, participate in research projects and, as result, improve patient care. UKeMED’s professional training activities are designed to engage participants in interactive learning sessions, enabling them to challenge established methodologies and practices and develop or enhance skills by sharing experiences with other professionals across the globe. The focus is on skills that can be applied in clinical practice, research, nursing or administrating a healthcare facility. The UKeMED team is in the process of expanding its activities to the world’s most impoverished and vulnerable countries that have minimal or zero access to knowledge and improvements in health.

Find out more about the UKeMED project here.


Nobel Grid Project

Energy saving is a pan-European challenge for which we continue to seek answers to deal effectively with the problem. One of the innovative solutions aiming to effectively address this challenge is the Nobel Grid Project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The project will provide advanced tools and ICT services to all actors in the Smart Grid and retail electricity market in order to ensure benefits from cheaper prices, more secure and stable grids and clean electricity. These tools and services will enable active consumers’ involvement, new business models for new actors and the integration of distributed renewable energy production.’ Source: here.

Find out more about the project here.



Youth unemployment and the use of human resources are among Europe’s greatest social challenges. YouRock was created to respond to two key issues around youth unemployment and the economic crisis in Europe. It is a free, multi-language employability and job search platform designed for both young people under 25 and employers. It helps employers to identify active workers with specific skills or candidates who wish to work in another country. It also helps young people to identify their core occupational skills and build a dynamic profile highlighting their most important skills.

Find out more about this project here.


Learn more at Social Innovation Academy

As the financial crisis deepens, institutions and citizens are looking for a more active role in changing the course of humanity. Civil society believes that global challenges require global responses. No country remains unaffected. To tackle this issue Limitless, along with 4 other partners, has recently started a project aiming to develop the first online Social Innovation Academy in Europe. The Social Innovation Academy will be the first fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation.

Why Social Innovation Academy? Social innovation is increasingly being 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 a 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.

Social Innovation Academy is aiming to change this situation in Europe and beyond. If you are interested in following the project, you can subscribe to our newsletter, become one of  our friends or follow us on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook). We welcome all requests for collaboration here.


The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Would you like to collaborate? Get in touch!

Subscribe to Social Innovation Academy updates


8 amazing examples of how to address a grand social challenge

In this blog post we compile a list of 8 amazing examples of how to address a grand social challenge.

Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Mexico

Interview with Karol Arambula, CEO, and founder of MY World Mexico MY World Mexico is a social business and national movement established in 2014 aiming at promoting the understanding towards the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its...

8 social innovation books worth your time

As new social innovation books seem to be popping up like mushrooms, follow our recommendation to read only the social innovation books worth your time…

8 social impact funding opportunities in 2023

 Social impact funding opportunities seem to be popping up all over the globe these days. Here's is a selection of 8 social impact funding opportunities to consider in 2023.100x Impact Accelerator by LSESocial impact funding is getting a new actor. 'The 100x Impact...


    Arizmendi Ikastola is a non-profit cooperative school in the Basque Country that is highly committed to social innovation. The aim of the school goes far beyond the curricular contents and focuses on the development of the person. A model of a person...

Social innovation in Thailand: 8 outstanding projects

Thailand is fast developing into a social innovation hub in Asia. Social Innovation Academy introduces 8 oustanding projects!

How to reduce microplastics pollution: PlanetCare

Did you know that washing your clothes is causing microplastics pollution? Tiny plastic particles are polluting our oceans, where they can stay for centuries, harming sea life and making their way into the human food chain. These microplastics -- fragments of plastic...

8 pioneer Social Innovations in Food

There have been many important innovations concerning food over the last few decades. In this blog post we present 8 pioneer social innovations in food.