The INNOSERV project was presented, which brings together academic actors and NGOs. This project, which is close to its end, has produced a series of videos presenting examples of local projects to stimulate discussion on social innovation. The project is also aiming at setting an agenda for research on social innovation in services. 7 areas have been already highlighted that need further investigation: user-centered services and approaches, innovations in institutional development, framing of social services in regard to innovation, the governance of social services innovation, influence of local and regional context, new technologies, measuring outcomes, quality and challenges. One of their main conclusions is that most of innovations come from actors already providing social services, that it is an incremental process, rather than a big leap and that users and professionals are the two key actors.
A project from Eurodiaconia was presented that supported people with disabilities into volunteering.
The representative of DG Enterprise Grzegorz Drozd PO- Unit B3 Innovation policy for growth presented the EC European social innovation competition (next round to be launched on 13 October 2013).
From the discussion it was clear that there is clearly no shared definition of social innovation, but that this “buzzword” reflects the need for a change with regards to social services. Different perspectives may underpin this concept. For DG Enterprises social innovation reflects the need to adapt to the “crisis and the changing role of State”. Others insisted to the necessity to de-compartmentalize the delivery of services in order to address emerging social needs. Agnès Hubert from the BEPA insisted on the importance of the involvement of users, social entrepreneurs being less individual than groups organising the participation of users as well as different actors. EAPN will need to follow new developments in relation to social innovation and make sure that they remain consistent with a rights based approach, are based on participation at all levels, and do not go together with the disengagement of public authorities from the social field but rather are part of the promotion of strong social protection systems.