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What is social innovation?

For us, Social Innovation refers to the participatory process of ideation, development and implementation of new ways of solving social challenges and improving our quality of life through business activity, generating a more sustainable, participatory and people-centered model of society.

What is the Social Innovation Unit of Navarre?

The Social Innovation Unit is an initiative of the Department of Economic Development to promote Social Innovation projects that generate business activity and employment of quality, as a key factor for a more innovative, equitable and sustainable economic development. We have a transforming vocation and our focus is to generate systemic changes, point our actions to the structural elements of the model and create new dynamics, relational systems, teams and culture to turn Social Innovation into an essential component of Navarre's DNA.

It is a pioneering and transcendent action, which implies the creation, for the first time in the Region, of a reference entity to promote economic initiatives that generate a positive social impact in Navarra. Our region, like others in the world, faces complex social challenges, such as employment, aging, social cohesion and climate change. New challenges require new solutions, so it is necessary to innovate as a society and find viable and sustainable solutions to these great challenges. Technological and business innovation are very valuable and necessary, but in order to build a new economic and social model, it is essential to complement them with social innovation processes.

Our mission is to help address this profound transformation, in line with the change in the economic model that is occurring in the most advanced regions of the planet. And the way to approach it is through listening, collaborative work and practical action with the core development and innovation actors in Navarre: economic agents and society as a whole.

The Unit started its activity last June and, in a first phase, it has analyzed the main elements of Social Innovation Centers of worldwide reference in different countries (United Kingdom, Finland, Australia, Germany, Canada, Denmark, South Korea…); the model of the Unit for Navarre has been defined; and the identification of Social Innovation projects that can generate economic activity, transformation and positive social impact has begun.

Participatory governance

The Social Innovation Unit was born as an important action of the Integral Plan for Social Economy 2017-2020 of the Government of Navarra, prepared by the General Directorate of Economic and Business and Labor Policy with the collaboration of CEPES Navarra. The Social Economy is a very suitable platform to launch the Social Innovation Unit. The European Committee of Regions itself states that "social innovation can be successfully promoted through the social economy, social economy initiatives contribute to increase social, economic and territorial cohesion."

But to develop a greater innovative potential, it is convenient to link also the Social Innovation Unit to the technological component of innovation and to settle it in the heart of the Navarra Innovation System. The European Committee of Regions also determines that "social and technological innovation are complementary to each other and it is precisely through the incentive to their complementarity that important results for society can be achieved." Socially innovative projects have a greater impact on society and on the economy in general, when combined with technological supports ".

The coordination of the Unit is being carried out by the Department of Economic and Business and Labor Policy, CEPES Navarre and the ADItech Foundation itself. This collaborative governance positions the SiU as a connection node between the Social Economy of Navarre and the Innovation System, injecting innovative capacity into the Social Economy and strengthening the social dimension in the research and development effort of the Region.

Do you want to know more?

Download the Social Innovation Unit presentation (in Spanish)

Imagen de la presentación de la Unidad de Innovación social de Navarra, por parte de la Directora general de Política Económica, Empresarial y Trabajo, Izaskun Goñi

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