What are social innovations?

Finding a single definition for the term “social innovation” is almost impossible.

The European Commission defines social innovation as “innovations that are social both in terms of their ends and their means, specifically those that refer to the development and implementation of new ideas (regarding products, services and models) that both respond to social needs and create new social relationships or collaborations, thus creating benefits for society and increasing its capacity for action’.

Social innovation is a broad and colorful concept that is made possible by the variety of organizations and people who actually create it. In general, they are innovative practices that assist the community in solving various challenges of a social nature.

According to a report by the Sofia Development Association from the SI PLUS project, which touches on the topic of social innovation in Bulgaria, various institutions in the country see several sectors in which there is the greatest for social innovations: 

  • The fight against poverty
  • Labor market
  • Quality and access to education
  • Healthcare
  • The standard of living of the elderly
  • Social inclusion
  • Changes in climate
  • The demographic problem 

Each country and region has different needs, which determine the saturation of social innovations in relation to the spheres in which they are applied. You can read more information about social innovations in Bulgaria and Europe here.