Future outlook: The European School of Social Innovation (ESSI)

In order to expand the scientific fundamentals, qualifications and professional competencies for social innovation, the ZSI in partnership with the Social Research Centre of the University of Technology, Dortmund, founded the “European School of Social Innovation” in 2011. ESSI builds on existing organisations and networks dealing with social innovation in science and practice1. By collaborating under the umbrella brand ESSI, the partners take up activities and new developments, making them publically visible and interconnected. This can be accomplished by holding seminars, workshops, or conferences such as CSI Vienna2, as well as (and especially) through the cooperation of various educational and continuing educational organisations, in order to convey professionally valuable qualifications (on post-secondary, tertiary, and post-graduate levels).

The organisational basic idea aims to combine social innovation education and research, a collaboration structure that will close knowledge gaps in trans-disciplinary and international cooperation, and will spread new approaches to research and practice within the field of innovation.

The cooperation between the institutions working together under the ESSI umbrella (universities, polytechnic institutes, continuing education organisations, research institutes, etc.) is not limited to Europe. The educational (and continuing education) offerings are open to participants from all over the world. However, we assume that because of Europe’s historically well-developed social systems, economies, and cultures, there are genuine demands, prerequisites, and pathways to social innovation here in Europe, even if sizeable regional differences may exist. Well aware of this, the name European School of Social Innovation was chosen deliberately. We view our openness to contributions and participation from other regions of the world as a chance to learn to better mutually explore and understand similarities and differences. This kind of understanding and competence can and should contribute to a more socially balanced world society.

In case you are interested in ESSI as a potential member (as an institution or as a person) please contact directly Josef Hochgerner, hochgerner[at]zsi.at

1These include existing centres or laboratories for social innovation, universities with relevant research and study offerings, significant EU projects, foundations, and networks, as well as international organisations like the OECD. Overview: https://www.zsi.at/attach/List_of_social_innovation_organisations_and_key_publications.doc
2“Challenge Social Innovation. Innovating Innovation by Research – 100 years after Schumpeter” – www.socialinnovation2011.eu