Report: #ICT Enabled #Social #Innovation to support the implementation of the Social Investment Package

The demographic transition and the profound modifications in family structures, coupled with low productivity growth, ample territorial diversity, migration flows and the changing nature of work, are epochal challenges well-known even before the 2008 financial crisis. However, the crisis, and the recession that followed it, revealed the unsuitability of traditional solutions, showing the need to rethink the European Social Model to contribute to the creation of more resilient societies. Within this context, EU Member States are urged to modernise their welfare systems, by re-engineering the deep-rooted foundations of their social policy governance models and delivery mechanisms.
To address such structural challenges, the European Commission launched the Social Investment Package (SIP) in 2013. The same reasoning pressed the European Commission to put forward a proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights, adopted in April 2017. The rationale underpinning the SIP was to exploit the potential of social investment in order to deliver economic growth, protect people from poverty, and reduce inequalities, while simultaneously contributing developing a sustainable welfare state.
Social innovation is indeed a powerful instrument to support promoting social investment strategies.
Unlike traditional top down welfare policies, in fact, social innovation is citizen centric, in that it directly involves beneficiaries while building their longer-term capacities, impinging on multi-sector partnerships and innovative business models.
In this perspective, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) facilitates processes of collaboration and co-creation, enabling the transformation of social services design and delivery.
At the same time, successful, durable social innovation initiatives can have impact on the broader social, political and economic context that created the challenge they were set up to address in the first place.
To study the mechanisms through which social innovation in general – and ICT-enabled social innovation in particular – can bring about change, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, have launched a multi-year research project entitled ‘ICT-Enabled Social Innovation to support the implementation of the Social Investment Package’ (in short IESI).