Building European innovation ecosystems

SIX is part of a new consortium, Change Hubs for Ecosystemic Social Solutions – CHESS (2023-2025), under Horizon Europe programme which seeks to improve the overall ecosystem for innovation in Europe.

It is now widely accepted in Europe that we need new approaches if we are to tackle the systemic and urgent societal challenges we face – traditional technological or business innovation alone is not sufficient. ‘Social’ must be part of the bigger innovation picture.

With significant support from the European Commission, social innovation is currently well embedded in several policy agendas, funding streams and the research, education and innovation ecosystems. Equally, a great number of social innovation toolkits are available for researchers and practitioners.

Despite this success, the full potential of social innovation remains untapped. Drawing specifically on the outcomes of three projects that members of this consortium have participated in (SI-DRIVE, Social Innovation Community, and Labs for Social Innovation), the CHESS project aims to contribute to: 1) improving practical application of social innovation through the testing of existing tools; and 2) helping social innovators better interact within the wider innovation ecosystems.

With a “learning by doing” approach, the CHESS project works towards these goals by designing, implementing, and testing Social Innovation in Action Manual in four pilot countries, Slovenia, Italy, Lithuania, and Greece. The partners will work on four distinct use cases within the local context that address concrete societal challenges, each systemic in nature: sustainable blue economy, youth and female unemployment, refugee integration and inclusive energy transition.

Instead of creating yet another toolkit, the partners will apply three rounds of ‘country workshops’ to test and improve existing SI methods and tools that aim to bring together social innovators and diverse stakeholders to support a wider and stronger innovation ecosystem to address the challenge together.

Consortium partners include: 

  • EMUNI University (Slovenia)
  • Project Ahead (Italy)
  • European Social Fund Agency (Lithuania)
  • The Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas (Greece)
  • Technical University of Dortmund (Germany)
  • The International Society for Professional Innovation Management (UK)
  • Social Innovation Exchange (UK)