The DSI Manifesto

The Manifesto is a EU level Policy Outreach document, which aims at fostering civic participation in Digital Social Innovation (DSI) and CAPS initiatives to counteract prevailing top-down approaches while promoting active citizenship. The Manifesto includes a set of recommendations for policy makers, aiming to facilitate DSI and CAPS initiatives to drive the Digital Agenda in becoming the core Innovation Engine for the entire European society. The Manifesto, which is a living document, will contribute to understand better how social innovation processes can be enforced, transferred and potentially reused for effective scaling up of social innovation initiatives.

Digital technologies and the Internet are rapidly changing the opportunities we have to address some of society’s biggest challenges. Across Europe, a growing movement of people are exploring these opportunities, which range from creating digital platforms to setting up social networks for people with chronic health conditions or developing online communities where citizens can map and share data on pollution levels and climate change in their areas.

DSI has the great potential to contribute to three of the most important challenges facing Europe today by reinventing:

  • Public services, often providing lower-cost models of addressing social needs.
  • Communities and how people live and collaborate together.
  • Business in ways that are better aligned with human needs.

Despite this potential, most DSI initiatives still operate at a relatively small scale. The reasons for this are mainly that:

  •  There has been little public and private investment in DSI.
  •  Evidence shows that new technologies and innovations are easily commercialised through startup companies.
  •  Many of the organisations that could benefit the most from DSI, such as NGOs, do not have the skills, capabilities and resources to make the most of this opportunity.
  •  DSI has mainly operated outside public services.

Given the scale of the political, social and economic challenges facing Europe today, we believe now is the time to make the most of the opportunities offered by DSI.

We want to work together with communities of people, projects and organisations for whom DSI can make a real difference by developing a Manifesto for DSI in Europe. The purpose of the Manifesto will be to set out the opportunities and challenges for DSI, and to define the measures needed to maximise the benefits and overcome the hurdles that stand in the way of its expansion and success.

The way towards the innovation in the digital society

The unprecedented hyper connectivity enabled by digital technologies and the Internet are rapidly changing the opportunities we have to address some of the society’s biggest challenges: environmental preservation, reducing inequalities, fostering inclusion, putting in place sustainable economic models.

However, to make the most of this opportunity we need to move away from the current centralization of power by a small number of large tech companies and enable a much broader group of people and organisations to develop and share innovative digital solutions.

Across Europe, a growing movement of people is exploring opportunities for Digital Social Innovation (DSI), developing bottom-up solutions leveraging on participation, collaboration, decentralization, openness, multi-disciplinarity. But still at a relatively small scale, because of the little public and private investment in DSI, the limited experience in large-scale take-up of collective solutions, and the relative lack of skills of DSI actors (civil society) compared to commercial companies.

This Manifesto aims at fostering civic participation into democratic and social processes, increasing societal resilience and mutual trust as core element of the Digital Society. It provides recommendations for policy makers, to drive the development of the European Digital Single Market to fulfill first and foremost societal and sustainability challenges (rather than short-lived economic interests), with the help and engagement of all citizens.

For the key points from the manifesto, and steps towards the final preperation, please see here

DSI Manifesto Workshop

For more information on the workshop, agenda and registration, please see here.