Social Innovation: Driving Force of Social Change / SI-DRIVE

Concrete objectives and approach

The SI-DRIVE project is a research project implemented in the 7th EU Framework’s sub-programme “Socio-economic sciences and the humanities” (SSH). The proposal addressed the call for Theme SSH.2013.3.2-1: “Social Innovation – empowering people, changing societies?”. Its main focus is an extension of knowledge about social innovation (SI) in three major directions:

  • Integrating theories and research methodologies to advance understanding of SI leading to a comprehensive new paradigm of innovation.
  • Undertaking European and global mapping of SI, thereby addressing different social, economic, cultural, historical and religious contexts in eight major world regions.
  • Ensuring relevance for policy makers and practitioners through in-depth analyses and case studies in seven policy fields, with cross European and world region comparisons, foresight and policy round tables.


SI-DRIVE involves 15 partners from 12 EU Member States and 10 partners from other parts of the world. Its key objectives are

  1. to determine the nature, characteristics and impacts of social innovation as key elements of a new paradigm of innovation (strengthen the theoretical and empirical base of social innovation as part of a wider concept of innovation that thoroughly integrates social dimensions,
  2. to map, analyse and promote social innovations in Europe and world regions to better understand and enable social innovations and their capacity for changing societies,
  3. to identify and assess success as well as failure factors of SI in seven particular policy areas, supporting reciprocal empowerment in various countries and social groups to engage in SI for development, working towards Europe 2020 targets and sustainable development (e.g. Millenium Development Goals (MDG)) and
  4. to undertake future-oriented policy-driven research, analyse barriers and drivers for SI; develop tools and instruments for policy interventions (SI experimentation, incubation, ‘SI Manual’). The theoretical assertions and improvements will be applied, tested and continually developed by means of sound empirical data and case studies in seven major policy areas: (1) education, (2) employment, (3) environment and climate change, (4) energy, (5) transport and mobility, (6) health and social care, and (7) poverty reduction and sustainable development. Research in these policy areas will be carried out for all EU Member states, supplemented by regional trend studies including major world regions: (1) Russia, (2) North America, (3) South America, (4) Australia/New Zealand, (5) Asia, (6) South Africa, (7) Middle East, and (8) Near East. For further information, please visit: