Strengthening Societal Innovative Capacity / GIs

GIs - Societal Innovation Capacities

The project »GIs – Strengthening Societal Innovation Capacities« analyses societal innovation capacities in less developed regions. It aims to develop explanations and models to understand how innovations promoting a successful regional transformation are generated. Furthermore, the project develops instruments and measurement approaches for an innovation policy that integrates and promotes societal innovation capacities.

Against this background, GIs analyses three overarching research questions:


GIs follows a systemic understanding of innovation by acknowledging the societal and transformative value of innovations in addition to innovation-based economic growth and by applying a broad understanding of environments for innovation (innovation ecosystems), including institutional, financial and political factors. Such an understanding of innovation enables us to study „soft“ innovation factors, such as social cohesion, social engagement, and trust in institutions. The empirical analysis is conducted in three less-developed German regions

The project results are (1) a model explaining societal innovation capacities from a social science perspective. It is the basis for (2) the co-development of instruments to promote innovations together with practitioners and (3) for the formulation of policy recommendations for an innovation-based transformation in less developed regions. (4) An indicator-based measurement concept for societal innovation capacities taking into account regional distinctions and serving as a basis to develop actions and routines for future innovation support.

The project receives funds from the German Ministry for Research. It is coordinated by the Department »Innovation Space & Culture« and implemented in cooperation with the Department »Spatial Capital« of the Institute for Work and Technology, Westphalian University of Applied Sciences. Project partners are the Centre for Social Investment and Innovation (CSI) of the University of Heidelberg and the Wuppertal Institute gGmbH.