Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

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Description: Digital technologies and the Internet have transformed many areas of business – from Google and Amazon to Airbnb and Kickstarter. Huge sums of public money have supported digital innovation in business, as well as in fields ranging from the military to espionage. But there has been much less systematic support for innovations that use digital technology to address social challenges.

Digital technologies are particularly well suited to helping civic action: mobilising large communities, sharing resources and spreading power. A growing movement of tech entrepreneurs and innovators in civil society are now developing inspiring digital solutions to social challenges.

 
Author: Francesca Bria PhD, Fabrizio Sestin PhD, Mila Gascó PhD, Peter Baeck, Harry Halpin PhD, Esteve Almir (Fellow) | Visits: 1064 | Page Views: 1271
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Contents:
GROWING A DIGITAL SOCIAL INNOVATION
ECOSYSTEM FOR EUROPE
DSI FINAL REPORT

A study prepared for the European Commission DG
Communications Networks, Content & Technology by:

Contract no. 30-CE-0531673/00-86
SMART 2012/0049
DISCLAIMER
By the European Commission, Directorate-General of
Communications Networks, Content & Technology.
The information and views set out in this publication
are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily
reflect the official opinion of the Commission. The
Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the
data included in this study. Neither the Commission nor
any person acting on the Commission’s behalf may be
held responsible for the use which may be made of the
information contained therein.
ISBN: 978-92-79-45603-9
DOI: 10.2759/448169
© European Union, 2015. All rights reserved. Certain
parts are licensed under conditions to the EU.
Reproduction is authorised provided the source is
acknowledged.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
AttributionNonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0
International License

This study was carried out for the European
Commission by:
PARTNER DESCRIPTIONS
Nesta
Nesta is the UK’s innovation foundation with a mission
to support innovation for the public good. Established
in 1998 by central government, Nesta transitioned to an
independent charity in 2012. Nesta is backed with an
endowment originally provided from the UK National Lottery
and works through a combination of research, investments,
networks, grant funding and practical support to innovators
with the aim of helping people and organisations bring great
ideas to life.
The Waag Society
Waag Society, Institute for Art, Science & Technology, is an
interdisciplinary non-profit media lab based in Amsterdam.
Its mission is to provide meaning and give direction to
the role of technology in society. Founded in 1994, Waag
Society is part of the Dutch national infrastructure for the
arts and culture, and a well-known participant in national
and international collaboration programmes.
ESADE, Center for Innovation in Cities
The Center for Innovation in Cities is interested in the
study and analysis of these innovation processes. Under
the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Management
of ESADE Business and Law School, it brings together a
group of academicians and practitioners with experience
in open innovation, new technologies and public
administration, particularly interested in improving the
management of cities in the 21st century.
IRI, Institute for research and innovation
In 2006, the Centre Pompidou founded the Institute for
Research and Innovation on initiative of the philosopher
Bernard Stiegler. The institute has been created as part of
the Centre Pompidou to anticipate, accompany and analyse
the transformation of cultural practices enabled by digital
technologies. IRI offers a wide-ranging foundation of talent
in both understanding the theoretical sources of innovation,
and cutting-edge research into technical questions and
design.
FutureEverything
FutureEverything (FUTURE) is a not-for-profit digital
innovation lab, festival and conference. It is a member
of ENOLL (European Network of Living Labs). FUTURE
engages a worldwide community in devising and testing
innovations in art, society and technty. A strong city
partnership in Greater Manchester enables them to work
closely with Cities and to participate in EU projects such as
CitySDK, Euporias, Apps4Europe and ECAS.

Principal investigator and main author:
Dr. Francesca Bria, Nesta
Project officer:
Dr. Fabrizio Sestini, European Commission
Research team:
Dr. Mila Gascó, ESADE Business School
Peter Baeck, Nesta
Dr. Harry Halpin, IRI
Dr. Esteve Almirall, ESADE Business School
Frank Kresin, Waag Society

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

3

FOREWORD
This report is like an open window looking out onto a wholly new, and largely unexplored, world. The emerging applications that we globally call “digital social innovations” are fascinating examples of how humans can find new
ways to collaborate in amazing manners, overcoming geographical, cultural and social barriers, and reinventing the
way society can thrive in a world with ever decreasing availability of natural resources.
There is only one natural resource that is now available in larger amounts than in the past: humans. Connecting
them, in novel, pervasive, widespread and affordable manners, is perhaps the biggest breakthrough enabled by digital
technologies.
Several names have been given to this: network effects, collective intelligence, hyperconnected societies. This hyperconnectivity is generating a new currency, more sustainable and ethical than money: data – open data. Open data increases
awareness and coordination, creates new opportunities for innovation, and strengthens inclusion, participation and,
ultimately, human well-being.
Society, economy, and even human psychology itself are undergoing an irreversible change, which we as citizens and
policymakers are still struggling to understand. This understanding is key to anticipating possible developments, while
at the same time to maximising the positive impacts on society, as well as averting the risks of misuses that inevitably
accompany any step of human evolution.
I am thankful to the authors for this startling journey into a nascent field, and I am confident that this will help us
all to understand how best to enable the emergence of new models for a more resilient and sustainable society.

Fabrizio Sestini
European Commission DG CONNECT
Senior Expert (Advisor) Digital Social Innovation

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Digital technologies and the Internet have transformed many areas of business –
from Google and Amazon to Airbnb and Kickstarter. Huge sums of public money
have supported digital innovation in business, as well as in fields ranging from
the military to espionage. But there has been much less systematic support for
innovations that use digital technology to address social challenges.
Digital technologies are particularly well suited to helping civic action: mobilising large
communities, sharing resources and spreading power. A growing movement of tech entrepreneurs and innovators in civil society are now developing inspiring digital solutions
to social challenges. These range from social networks for those living with chronic
health conditions, to online platforms for citizen participation in policymaking, to using
open data to create more transparency around public spending. We call this Digital
Social Innovation (DSI).
Over the last 18 months Nesta, funded by the European Commission, has led a large
research project into DSI. The project seeks to define and understand the potential of DSI,
to map the digital social innovators, their projects and networks, and to develop recommendations for how policymakers, from the EU to city level, can make the most of DSI.

Main findings

What is it?
Our study of more than 130 in-depth global examples of DSI showed the diversity of the field, but also that many innovations
can be understood as manifestations of four main technological trends:
Open Hardware
Open Networks
Open Data and
Open Knowledge

Open hardware: These projects are inspired by the global do-it-yourself maker movement and the spread of maker spaces.
They make digital hardware available for people to adapt, hack and shape into tools for social change.
Safecast, a project that enables citizens to capture and share measurement on radiation levels, is one example of the potential
of open hardware. It was founded in March 2011 as a response to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant
in Japan and frustration over the lack of government transparency about local radiation levels. Using the Arduino, an open
hardware circuit board with a microprocessor, Safecast built their own Geiger counters. These were given to local volunteers
who used them to create large open datasets on radiation levels in Japan. All data is plotted on a map that visualises radiation levels in a given geographical area, and which is free for anyone to access. To date, Safecast has captured more than 15
million data points.

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Open knowledge: This refers to large groups of citizens coming together through online platforms to collectively create and
analyse new types of knowledge or crowdfund social projects. This is the part of digital social innovation where we see the
most activity, from participatory democracy platforms such as FixMyStreet that enable citizens to crowdmap local issues like
potholes and broken streetlights, to co-writing legislation and e-petitioning on ideas for how to improve society.
One example of the potential in mobilising citizens to create collective knowledge is the work done by Cancer Research UK
on their citizen science platform Cellslider. To date Cellslider has involved more than 200,000 volunteers in analysing around
two million cancer images. Other examples include how the Open Ministry (now part of the D-CENT project) has involved
more than 250,000 Finns in co-writing and voting on citizen-led policy proposals, five of which have been put to a vote in the
Finnish Parliament.

Open data: This refers to innovative ways of opening up, capturing, using, analyzing and interpreting data.
OpenCorporates (OC) provides a good example of the opportunities in open data. It was set up to in the wake of the financial
crisis to make information about companies and the corporate world more transparent and accessible. It has since grown to
become the largest open database of companies in the world, including data on 60 million companies and their subsidiaries,
and search-able maps and visualizations. OC is widely used by journalists and governments seeking to understand global
corporate structures.
Another example of this potential is how the city of Vienna, in Austria, has opened up more than 160 datasets on everything
from budgeting to planning information. This has led local developers to create more than 109 open data-based apps for the
city and its residents.

Open Networks: The fourth trend describes how citizens are developing new networks and infrastructures – e.g. sensor
networks – where they connect their devices, such as phones and Internet modems, to collectively share resources and solve
problems.
One example of this is Guifi.net, which was founded in 2000 as a response to the lack of broadband Internet in rural Catalonia,
where commercial Internet providers weren’t providing a connection. The idea was to build a ‘mesh network’ where each
person in the network used a small radio transmitter that functioned like a wireless router to become a node in the Guifi net.
With more than 23,000 nodes, Guifi.net is the largest mesh network in the world and provides Internet connection to those
who would otherwise not be able to access it.

5

6

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Who are the digital social innovators?
The people and organisations working on digital social innovation may not identify
themselves as social innovators, and they are often in very different communities to
those who traditionally work on social innovation, such as established charities and
social enterprises. We’ve tried to explore who the people and organisations working on
DSI are, what their projects look like and how the networks of digital social innovators
are connected, as well as where there are gaps in the network, in order to devise new
strategies to support and scale the ecosystem.
Through crowdmapping organisations on www.digitalsocial.eu, we have mapped 992
organisations with 6022 collaborative DSI projects as of January 2015. In terms of the
areas of society that the DSI projects focus on, the majority focused on education and
skills (254) and developing new models for participation and democracy (251),
with least activity around DSI science and technology projects (110) and DSI finance
and economy solutions, such as crowdfunding for social good projects (104).
The network analysis shows that although there are few very active organisations,
most are disconnected from these stronger networks. Well connected ‘hubs’, including
Waag Society, Nesta, Fondazione Mondo Digitale and the Institute for Network Cultures,
have many connections. 26 per cent of organisations (243) have connections to at least
one other organisation, with the average number of connections per organisation being
almost three.

The challenges for EU
The big challenges for the EU are how to make it easier for small-scale radical
innovations involving digital technology to emerge and evolve, but perhaps
more important how to create the conditions for the really powerful ones to get
to scale. One of the key issues for the further growth of DSI in Europe is how to better
connect the many very young and small-scale organisations and innovative projects in
Europe to collaboratively develop projects, share learning and best practice, and seek
funding and sustainable new business models.
This research has identified the goals of policy, the policy tools and funding instruments
available and the frameworks and open standards to make it much easier for
digital social innovations to spread. The study also indicated some examples of
how these actions could be implemented within the framework of the Digital Agenda
for Europe and under the Horizons 2020 Work Programme.
As shown in this research, Europe has pioneered a reasonably comprehensive set of
tools (also through research programmes such as CAPS), and policy actions. But the
scale of innovation is still far too modest relative to the scale of the challenges. And
some of the biggest barriers to impact lie in the entrenched power of incumbents who,
not surprisingly, would prefer digital social innovation to remain the domain of geeks,
hackers and activists.
The Commission must create the conditions where digital businesses, social entrepreneurs and DSI communities can thrive. This includes several actions:
1. Experiment with bold public and social innovations

2. Invest in the infrastructure of the 21st Century, in order to provide a privacy-aware
decentralised environment for open data;

3. Educate a technology-savvy multidisciplinary workforce, and use all their powers
to foster a culture of democratic and inclusive innovation.
Only by improving its social innovation capacity can Europe remain productive and
competitive, and create the digital innovations for the social good that its citizens need.

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

7

What should policymakers do?
To support digital social innovation, policymakers from city to government and EU level
should focus on the following five key areas.
1. Invest in digital technologies for the social good: Make it easier to create new
Digital Social Innovation through specific regulatory and funding measures that focus on supporting non-institutional actors driving innovation in the following areas:
the collaborative economy, cities and public services; open tools and distributed
architectures; and citizen engagement and direct democracy.
2. Make it easier to grow and spread DSI through public procurement: Provide
support for evidence generation, common standards and integration with public services. Focus on the financial as well as the social impact (such as health outcomes,
wellbeing etc.) when procuring services. Particularly for DSI this could include
valuing the network effect and digital engagement of users provided by procured
services.
3. Increase the potential value of DSI (for instance, making available distributed architectures, common frameworks, open standards and through
supporting Innovation Spaces). Overall, there is a need for a public, common
framework for the design of DSI solutions and infrastructures underpinned by open
protocols, open standards, open formats, regulatory mechanisms and collective
governance models based on democratic and participatory processes. New financial
instruments (such as crowdfunding, challenges and prizes) should be experimented
with through R&D funding, while support to Innovation Spaces (such as Fab Labs,
hackerspaces and makerspaces) should be increased.
4. Enable some of the radical and disruptive innovations emerging from DSI
– such as new approaches to money, consumption, democracy, education
and health – to thrive: Policymakers need to provide space for more radical ideas
to be tested out in towns and cities across Europe, using knowledge about how
systemic innovation can best be organised. In some cases substantial investment
will be needed to achieve this.
5. Expand the European DSI network and invest in the development of skills,
and training: This could be done through growing the digitalsocial.eu network to
enable more opportunities for collaboration; increasing early stage seed-funding
programmes and other types of non-financial support for DSI start-ups; supporting
programmes that help people and organisations working on social innovation develop their digital skills; and building DSI capacity in Eastern Europe by facilitating
collaboration between established DSI networks and organisations from the rest of
the EU.

8

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

INTRODUCTION
There is a possible future in which services are explicitly designed to tackle societal
challenges such as climate change and unemployment. This research project has identified, mapped and engaged communities that are constructing the emerging Digital
Social Innovation (DSI) field and provides policy recommendations to foster, support,
and scale DSI in Europe. We believe this research comes at a crucial time – a range of
new online services are being developed just as there is renewed interest from citizens
across Europe in solving social and economic challenges.
The Internet is approximately 40 years old, and its capacity for generating societal and
economic value is relatively well understood, yet its potential for solving large-scale
social challenges remains largely untapped. The last 20 years or so have seen the commercialisation of the world wide web take precedence over its possible uses for the social
good, even though the web itself was founded at CERN to further a vision of scientific
knowledge sharing. While massive commercial investment and business models fuelled
the web’s incredible growth, the use of platforms like Facebook to serve social good has
been accidental, disputed and secondary to their primary commercial purpose.
A contradiction, therefore, exists at the heart of the Internet. Despite the existence of a
technical networking layer that could spread power and give people more ‘bottom-up’
political and economic control over their lives, the existing commercial services built
on top of this lower technical layer continues for the most part to empower existing
‘top-down’ centralised and established organisations in the corporate and government
sector. It also often neglects smaller and possibly game-changing innovative services
aimed at tackling large-scale societal challenges.
Online innovation developed specifically to effect major positive social change remains,
arguably, in its infancy, with relatively few services reaching global scale. There are a few
impressive success stories in obtaining a global reach, in particular campaigning sites
such as Avaaz and parts of the collaborative economy and the maker movement. Yet
services that exist to help communities collaborate on problems that may not fit in traditional institutional or commercial models are still underexplored and badly supported.

What is innovation?
The nature of innovation has changed dramatically over the past decade. Innovation is no longer seen as a linear step-bystep process in which R&D activities or technology pushes automatically lead to the commercialisation of new products, but
rather as a collective and cumulative process that builds on past knowledge. Some innovations involve big discontinuities,
such as ‘radical’ or ‘disruptive’ innovations, and others involve continuous small improvements, such as more ‘incremental’
innovations. Finally, innovation is a risky and uncertain process; the rate of failure is usually very high, and its impact can be
difficult to measure, particularly outside of the private sector.

A new field of DSI has emerged very quickly. It points to radically new ways
of organising many of the essentials of life – from money and health to
democracy and education.  Its forms are still emergent, some growing very
fast, others still being quite marginal.  It has been almost entirely invisible
to policymakers and has had none of the extensive support that has gone
into digital technologies for the military, government and business.
But it has the potential to contribute to three of the most important challenges facing Europe: reinventing public services, often in less costly ways;
reinventing community, and how people collaborate together; and reinventing business in ways that are better aligned with human needs.

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

9

In the context of this research we define DSI as
‘a type of social and collaborative innovation in which innovators, users and
communities collaborate using digital technologies to co-create knowledge and
solutions for a wide range of social needs and at a scale and speed that was
unimaginable before the rise of the Internet’.
There is great potential to exploit digital network effects, in social innovation activity
and new services that generate social value, but much of this potential has not yet being
realised. The goal is to enable more of these smaller innovative services to sprout and
flourish and effectively help to solve global scale societal problems.
In light of these transformations, there is the need to rethink policies and instruments
designed to nurture and orchestrate this innovation.
We present in this report the main insights from this research, including:


Defining the DSI Ecosystem: An emerging understanding of what social innovation enabled by digital technologies is. This includes the types of technologies
underpinning DSI services. These combine novel technology trends such as open
data, open hardware, open networks, and open knowledge; and they give rise to
new DSI areas such as: (1) open access; (2) awareness networks; (3) collaborative
economy; (4) new ways of making; (5) open democracy; and (6) acceleration and
incubation. Crowdmapping DSI organisations and their activities: 1000 organisations working on DSI in Europe have been mapped, 630 projects (as of January
2015) were identified and the way they are connected was analysed, including a
network analysis of the links between organisations.



Co-designing policies for DSI: Policy recommendations for DSI that can be implemented at a different level of governance are outlined. This includes mechanisms
to foster DSI, regulation, policy tools and financial instruments to nourish and grow
bottom-up innovation for social good.



Evaluation: A variety of methodologies to evaluate the impact of DSI are discussed.
Digital social innovations need to demonstrate their impact to make the case for
spreading, scaling and attracting funding opportunities. Equally, as DSI evolves
policymakers need to understand the extent to which the policies they are putting
in place to support DSI are affective

10

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Organisations
1

DSI Areas
Open democracy
Open access
Collaborative economy
Awarness network
New ways of making
Funding acceleration
and incubation
4

137

15
21

Technology Focus

Open Networks
Open Knowledge
Open Data

69

More Filters

Open Hardware

56

2

Screenshot of the crowdmap www.digitalsocial.eu

11

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

6
8
5
6

1

4
1
1

33

7
4
4

2
1

4

9

1
1
51

1

2

2

2
2

1

5

1
1

PART

PART

PART

1 2 3
WHY IS DIGITAL

MAPPING THE DSI

EXPLORING DSI

SOCIAL INNOVATION

ECOSYSTEM

NETWORK EFFECT

2.1 DSI Ecosystem: An emerging
typology of the DSI field

3.1 What is the distribution of social
innovation across Europe?

2.2 Domains of DSI

3.2 What communities of social innovation exist in Europe?

IMPORTANT?
1.1 Project overview
1.2 Harnessing Collective Intelligence
for the social good
1.3 Digital Social Innovation in the
context of Future Internet in Europe

2.3 Who are the organisations
involved in supporting or delivering
DSI?
2.4 Technological trends in Digital
Social Innovation

3.3. Which organisations currently
bridge the various communities?
3.4 What are the conditions for scaling DSI?

PART

PART

PART

4 5 6

REINVENTING

POLICY TOOLS

CONCLUSIONS

INNOVATION POLICY

AND ACTION

AND POLICY
RECOMMENDATIONS

4.1 Innovation Policy at a European
level

4.2 Open and participatory policy
making

4.3 Growing and scaling Digital Social
Innovation
4.4 The beta “bottom-up” policy
workshop toolkit

5.1 Economic instruments

5.2 Regulation and Legal frameworks
5.3 Research and Innovation support
5.4 Dissemination & learning
5.5 Evaluation

6.1 What should policymakers do?

WHY IS DIGITAL SOCIAL
INNOVATION IMPORTANT?

1.1
Project overview
1.2
Harnessing Collective Intelligence for the social good
1.3
Digital Social Innovation in the context of Future Internet in Europe

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

15

1.1 PROJECT OVERVIEW
This research aims to explore the potential of digital tools that can effectively empower citizens, communities
and social entrepreneurs to solve societal problems.
In particular, we examine how some of
these digital services can take advantage
of the network effect of the Internet
(i.e. that the benefit of a network and its
critical mass of users grows larger than its
costs), as the Internet is increasingly the
technical underpinning of the sociotechnical fabric of our societies.
We want to distinguish between two levels: 1) the level of the technical networking infrastructure itself provided by the Internet and 2) the level of

online services built on top of these
networks. Metcalfe’s Law, (i.e. that the
value of the network is in proportion to
the number of members squared, so that
the value of the network goes up for all
users when more users are added)1 applies to the value of technical networks
like widespread smartphone usage.
For example, despite the Internet being a
military-funded research project and the
web a scientific project at their inceptions,
the Internet and web were based on open
standards and a radically decentralised
architecture that could be harnessed by
any actor. So the Web was able to reach a
critical mass of connectivity so that both
commercial entities (like Google) and
non-commercial entities (like Wikipedia)

were able to exploit the “network effect.”
Beyond the Internet, many new technologies such as open hardware may have
positive network externalities. 
This network effect applies in a straightforward manner for some services such
as social networking sites like Facebook,
and sites that require large user-bases like
Wikipedia or Airbnb, but it may not apply
easily to some other services such as edemocracy platforms, caring networks and
local currencies. For each kind of socially innovative service, we want to determine how they can maximise their
impact using the infrastructure made
available by the widespread usage of
digital tools such as the Internet.

Examples of Digital Social Innovations
There are many cases of DSI being spread throughout society and we attempt to define and cluster these in this report. They
include: the collaborative economy, local exchange and trading systems, digital currencies, and awareness networks
that incentivise experimentation with new models in a variety of domains. For example, systems of mobility that present alternatives to the use of individual cars (from car sharing and carpooling to bike sharing); collaborative consumption (including
product service systems, redistribution markets and collaborative lifestyle platforms); citizen science, where the crowdsourcing
of scientific data allows for some scientific research to be conducted by non-professional scientists; new ways of making
that are experimented with in innovation hubs, such as Fab Labs, hackerspaces, living labs, urban labs and the HUB; and
collaborative events such as barcamps, hackmeetings, open knowledge festivals and maker fairs.

16

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

1.2 HARNESSING COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE FOR THE SOCIAL GOOD
The rapid evolution of digital technologies
and networks has made the ability to orchestrate knowledge and to manage creative interactions a central issue of economic and social policy. Understanding more
about how collective intelligence happens,
and devising and implementing effective
tools for fostering it, should be a major
project for Europe in the next decade. 2
However, we need to define the kind
of intelligence that is necessary to try to
tackle these large-scale societal problems.3
In the context of digital social innovation
we stress the potential of collective intelligence as:
a self-sustaining, self-directed integrated and distributed cognitive system that involves both other humans
and technology to successfully solve
problems beyond the cognitive capacities of any individual outside of the
larger system.
Collective intelligence is required because
some problems require collective coordinated action that individuals cannot

accomplish by themselves. Collective intelligence is not new - almost any team or
wider social system requires a level of coordination and acts intelligently in a way
that goes beyond each of its members.
By allowing new forms of communication,
collective memory and algorithmically
mediated attention, the Internet forms
a natural digital substrate for collective
intelligence.
Looking forward, collective intelligence is
necessary for social innovation to tackle
the problems facing society in today’s
complex and interconnected world, where
grasping problems such as the financial
crisis, climate change, and the demand
for quality healthcare, seem to require
digitally-extended collective intelligence,
such as collectively tackling problems via
platforms based on crowdsourcing and
cognitive mapping based on real-time data
analysis and visualisation.
There have been lots of attempts to harness collective intelligence to address
social issues, such as climate change. In
this report we identify some key initiatives such as Safecast and Smart Citizen Kit

that operate in this way. However, to date
these attempts have either been connected
to a specific event which has not been
sustained over time, or they operate at a
relatively small scale. As a result they often
they fail to lead to development of new
solutions or systemic behavioural changes.
A potential future scenario to tackle climate change using collective intelligence
could be the large-scale crowdsourcing
of environmental data, where people collectively identify their own high-carbon
intensive behaviour, then brainstorm and
implement the changes necessary to reduce emissions and change behaviour.
Today new forms of social innovation
are needed to create synergies between
the social and the technical, which create
new forms of value that are not limited to
economic value, but that result in largescale social impact. At the present moment, the Internet offers unprecedented
opportunities for collective intelligence
via its increasing ubiquity and the massive
amounts of data available for collective
transformation into knowledge.

17

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

1.3 DIGITAL SOCIAL INNOVATION IN THE CONTEXT OF FUTURE
INTERNET IN EUROPE
This research forms part of the European
Commission’s thinking around its Europe
2020 strategy and the European Digital
Agenda. Its ambition is to inform the development of better support, regulation
and policy, as well as to help define potential funding programmes from 2015 onwards. Europe 2020 strategy is broad and
ambitious and it is likely that an “out-ofthe-box” strategy reliant on harnessing DSI
would help to meet the Europe 2020 goals.
The evidence gathered here enables us
to recommend how best to combine research, strategy, and policy for DSI in relation to the Digital Agenda for Europe and

design, with the notable exception of the
domain name system) that allowed the
emergence of creativity and bottom-up
innovation.
To a large extent these founding principles
still exist. On the network level, there is
still an ongoing defence of network neutrality. On the level of platforms for client operating systems such as Windows
and Android, open standards have fostered
innovation by allowing technologies like
web browsers to be implemented over different underlying platforms, avoiding proprietary systems and vendor lock-in on the
web. This was a hard and contested battle,

recognised today: an increasing concentration of power in services in the
hands of a few data aggregators, none
of which are based in Europe (Google
controlling nearly 82% of the global search
market and 98% of the mobile search
market, Facebook dominating the social
networking and identity ecosystem, while
Apple, Amazon and Microsoft control the
mobile market and cloud-based services
platforms).
Apple has started a market that was entirely new; Google has developed the
open source Android operating system
and spawned innovation in applica-

The world wide web became successful because it was built on a set of royalty-free open standards decided through an inclusive and transparent process, via standards bodies such as the
IETF and W3C, continuing to this day.

under the Horizon 2020 Work Programme,
and in particular, but not limited to,
the Collective Awareness Platforms
(CAPS) Programme.
We are undergoing a transformation that
involves society and the economy, driven
by the fast evolution of ICT. More than
five billion additional people will connect
to the Internet globally in the next ten
years, whilst over twenty billion objects
will be connected to the Internet, transmitting data coming from people, sensors,
the environment and objects themselves.
However, we cannot expect the Internet
by itself to drive innovation to help citizens address major societal challenges.
If we observe the Internet during its early
phases when it was primarily funded by
research and defense, its founding principles, such as network neutrality, equitable service, and peer-to-peer architecture, were crucial to build a universal,
open and distributed infrastructure
(avoiding points of centralisation by

which turned out to be the best way to do
things, even commercially.
Yet on the level of services, the emerging cloud model of some services (proprietary social networks, big data providers,
implementations of the Internet of Things),
is convenient for users but also “locks users in” at the expense of security, privacy
and openness: protocols are often proprietary, the systems are centralised (particularly in terms of ownership and decision
processes) and interoperability between
systems is not a requirement.
This centralised model prevents new and
small companies from building innovative
applications, as their applications need access to social data held on third-party sites
and permissions to get into proprietary
‘app stores.’ The lack of standards forces
developers to create multiple versions of
the same social application for different
closed platforms and hampers bottom-up
disruptive innovation to happen.
A main Internet trend-threat is

tions worldwide; Facebook has enabled
the building of thousands of apps and
helped people to connect and organise.
However, one danger is that firms capture collective intelligence via proprietary
lock-ins, monopolistic behaviour and aggressive IP litigation rather than providing actual innovative services. Thus, there
is a danger that once users are ‘locked
in’ to various monopolies, the level of innovation in these services will decrease.
Furthermore, most users have accepted
giving away their personal data in
exchange for “free” services. Yet this
bargain not only undermines privacy
and weakens data protection but also
commodifies knowledge, identity and
personal data.
There are other models that focus on innovation. As we discover in this research,
while the value of big data is often only
associated with efficiency and profitability,
big data can also be used for social good,
to improve public services and stimulate
inclusive innovation.

Big Data can also be used for social good, to improve public services and stimulate inclusive
innovation.

18

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Europe could provide an alternative model in the form of investment in open infrastructures on
the network, service and data layer. We emphasize the importance of building European public,
distributed, privacy-aware architectures that can provide the underlying open digital
ecosystem on top of which innovations for the social good can flourish.

European SMEs, developers and social
entrepreneurs are innovating with cheap
open hardware, open source software,
open knowledge, data storage and analytics and are producing valuable data
about people, the environment and biometric and sensor data. The amount of
data produced by open platforms and
used for social innovation is still dwarfed
by the amount of data collected on proprietary platforms, with the danger that much
of this data is not available for the social
good. For example, even the European
Smart Cities project risks being dominated
by US companies such as IBM, Google
and Ciscos, partly because of the lack of
alternatives.
Take for example the commercial success
of Google: Google has already built one of
the world’s largest networks of computers
and data centres for online-search results,
and can repurpose their technology in order to expand into other data-driven services in order to increase their value, profit

and marketability. For example, the company is now pushing into smart watches, smart cars, smart thermostats, smart
clothes and smart cities. Their computing
power can now then be used to store and
analyse medical information, sensor and
environmental data, which raises significant issues of privacy and competition.
Right now few of these opportunities are
being taken advantage of by European
social innovators, for the most part due
to a lack of an open infrastructure and
difficulty finding investment.
The future of the Internet should remain
pluralistic, so that there is space for DSI
alongside commercial services in the
Cloud. In the long-term, if only a few
non-European commercial bodies control
all data-driven services, this threatens the
ability of the European innovation system
to compete

This European infrastructure would enable a whole new round of innovation
that may not even be possible within current business models, with new players
evolving, shaping and structuring whole
new markets and societal institutions that
can maximise social value and innovation.
The challenge for Europe is how it
might acquire the competitive advantage in social innovation by developing
distributed innovation ecosystems, rather
than ‘winner takes all’ marketplaces whose
dominant players set the terms of innovation and competition. (Bria 2012)
One of the motivations underpinning this
research is investigating how Europe can
embrace participatory and collaborative
innovation models and experiments5 and
promote policy tools and actions that support the growth of digital technologies for
the social good.

Digital social innovation could play a central role in the development of the Future Internet and
the Internet of Things.

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

POWER TO
THE PEOPLE

INTERNET

Wikis,
Usergenerated knowledge
P2P
Free Content Blogs
Social Networks
E-democracy
PEOPLE
SOCIETY
COLLABORATION
DISTRIBUTED

Open and distributed digital ecosystems
to foster grassroots social innovation
and entrepreneurship.
The alternative is to accelerate innovations that
align the capacities of the Internet better to social
needs and that decentralise power to citizens
and communities. The development of open data,
federated identity, bottom-up wireless and sensor
networks, open hardware and distributed social
networks can potentially serve collective action
and awareness. Making data available as part of a
common distributed and decentralised architecture,
open to all, allow new entrants to aggregate data
on demand and create new services. Competition
based on open standards, protocols and formats are
essential to deploy interoperability between data,
devices, services and networks. This vision requires
more investment in fundamental research to promote
net-neutrality, strong encryption, banning of trivial
patents, open standards and free software together
with the multi-stakeholder governance model.
Avoiding anti-competitive dynamics and lock-in
would engage all particapents in the value chain
and allow for a replicable and sustainable solution. It
would also enable new economic models, including
those beyond GDP and commons-based, as
alternatives to the centralised models of the current
dominant global platforms that often monetise and
sell personal data

BIG
BROTHER

Commercial services,
Entertainment (eg. IPTV)
DRM-heavy
apolitical

INDIVIDUALISM
BUSINESS
COMPETITION
CENTRALLY
CONTROLLED

Creation and consolidation of new
monopolies: Platform Lock-ins and a
battle amongst proprietary vertically
integrated digital ecosystems:
A major risk for the Future Internet is the realisation
of the ‘Big Brother’ scenario, with big industrial
players (mainly US-based) reinforcing their dominant
position by implementing platform lock-in strategies,
enforcing extensions of copyright and patents,
appropriating users’ data and discriminating
network traffic. By centralising computing, data
storage and service provision (via the Cloud), and
by striking strategic alliances between the largest
Over-The-Top (OTT)iand largest network operators,
there is a risk that the innovation ecosystem will
become more closed, favouring incumbents and
dominant players, thereby in time constraining
user-driven innovations, particularly ones that don’t
involve monetary payment. This currently seems
the most probable scenario, since we are seeing a
consolidation of existing powers at every layer of the
Internet ecosystem. Even more worrying, the latest
NSA data-gate showed that intelligence agencies
and governments have been engaging in mass
surveillance operations, with huge implication on civil
liberties and privacy.

20

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

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21

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

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MAPPING THE
DSI ECOSYSTEM

2.1
DSI Ecosystem: An emerging typology of the DSI field
2.2
Domains of DSI
2.3
Who are the organisations involved in supporting or delivering DSI?
2.4
Technological trends in Digital Social Innovation

23

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

2.1 DSI ECOSYSTEM: AN EMERGING TYPOLOGY OF THE DSI FIELD
Digital Social Innovation is a relatively
new field of study, with little existing
knowledge on who the digital social innovators are, what types of activities they
are involved in and how they are using
digital tools to achieve a social impact.
Therefore, the first task for this study was
to take a ‘deep dive’ into practice and to
look in more detail at the different types
of organisations involved with DSI and
the activities these organisations are involved in.
The overarching purpose of this chapter is
to give an overview of the lessons we have
derived from the case studies and how we
have used that to map the DSI field.

The analysis of practice enabled us to
develop the framework, which has been
used to capture data on DSI organisation via www.digitalsocial.eu. We have
mapped 1000 DSI organisations and 630
collaborative projects as of January 2015.
Data is categorised by:
1. A typology of organisations (e.g.
Government and public sector organisations, businesses, academia and research organisations, social enterprises,
charities and foundations and grassroots
communities)
2. The way these organisations are
supporting DSI (for instance, by undertaking research, delivering a service or organising networking events and festivals)

3. The main technological trends the
organisations and their activities fit under
(e.g. open data, open networks, open
knowledge, open hardware)
4. The area of society the organisations and their activities operate and
seek an impact in. The DSI field does
not have fixed boundaries; it cuts across
all sectors (the public sector, private sector, third sector and social movements)
and cuts across domains as diverse as (1)
health, wellbeing and inclusion, (2) innovative socio-economic models, (3) energy
and environment, (4) participation and
open governance, (5) science, culture and
education and (6) public services.

DSI Icons: 1 Organisation Type: Social Enterprise Charity or Foundation, Business, Grass Roots Organization or Community Network, Academia and
Research, Government and Public Sector. 2 Project Type: Delivering a web service, Network, Research project, Research project, Advocating and campaigning, Maker and hacker spaces, Investing and Funding, Event, Incubators and Accelerators, Advisory or expert body, Education And Training. 3 Technology
Trends: Open Knowledge, Open Hardware, Open Data, Open Network. 4 Areas of Society: Health and Wellbeing, Finance and Economy, Energy and
Environment, Education and Skills, Culture and Arts, Work and Employment, Participation and Democracy, Neighbourhood Regeneration, Science.

24

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

2.2 DOMAINS OF DSI
The organisations and projects identified
to date can roughly be grouped within
six broad domains. A provisional thematic clustering of DSI organisations
is emerging, grouping activities into 6

macro clusters that capture the way
DSI is growing and developing: (1) New
ways of making, (2) Open democracy, (3) The collaborative economy,
(4) Awareness networks enabling

sustainable behaviours and lifestyles, (5)
Open Access and (6) funding, acceleration and incubation.

Hexegan schematic of the 6 areas of DSI

New Ways
of Making

Collaborative
Economy

Awareness
Networks
COLLABORATIVE
ECONOMY
New collaborative socio-economic
models that present novel
characteristics, and enable people
to share skills, knowledge, food,
clothes, housing and so on. It
includes crypto digital currencies,
new forms of crowdfunding and
financing, new platforms for
exchanges and sharing resources
based on reputation and trust.

Open
Democracy

Funding
Acceleration
and Incubation

Open
Access
The collaborative economy – and the many other umbrella terms used to describe the
rise of digital marketplaces for people to make transactions and share skills, assets and
money – is fast becoming a key economic trend. Access to open digital infrastructures
and technologies, that enable collective action, mobilisation and self-organisation at a
large scale, has led to the emergence of new collaborative socio-economic models that
present novel characteristics and enable people to share skills, knowledge, food, clothes,
housing and so on. The Collaborative Economy has been documented by organisations
like the
P2P Foundation, Nesta, and
OuiShare.
Across the world the burgeoning field of collaborative consumption is using digital
platforms to change how people share resources and exchange goods and services,
which range from household equipment to hotel rooms, cars to catering. In the UK,
Nesta research documented how 25% of UK adults used Internet technologies to share
assets and resources in 2013 – 20146.
An example, which grew out of the desire to reduce consumerism and connect neighPeerby, which started in the Netherlands. Peerby enables you to borrow
bours, is
the things you need from people in your neighbourhood. It is now setting up branches
in the UK and USA.

25

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

OuiShare

SHARING ECONOMY NETWORK

OuiShare is a global collaborative consumption network founded in January 2012. The overarching aim of OuiShare is to shift
the focus of the economy to one that can find new ways to connect, create and share on the web. It achieves this through
two primary activities, Ouishare.net and collaborative economy events. Ouishare.net is an online community where members
can post articles on collaborative consumption and anyone interested in the subject can take part in online conversations. In
Europe alone, OuiShare organised 32 events in 2014 across 16 European countries, which engaged more than 2000 entrepreneurs. In addition to this the OuiShare Festival is an annual event, which brings together the global collaborative economy
community. The 2014 event took place in Paris and brought together more than 1000 people working on, or interested in,
the collaborative economy.

In parallel thousands of alternative currencies are in use – some focused on localities
(e.g. the Brixton Pound in the UK or Chiemgauer in Germany); some on business-tobusiness transactions (e.g. the SoNantes in Nantes and Sol-violette in Toulouse, France,
or Sardex in Sardegna, Italy, and the Sucre in Venezuela); some on particular sectors
such as care (e.g. Fureai Kippu in Japan); and some as generic digital currencies (e.g.
Bitcoin)7. Some of these have deliberately encouraged a changed awareness of how
economies work – for example, valorising labour time equally, or linking currencies to
data. In East Africa the development of M-PESA (a mobile financial payment system born
out of social innovation) has become an avenue for nine million people to gain access
to secured financial exchange services. This African success story has completely revolutionised the regional business terrain, at the same time empowering local people by
providing an easy-to-use and readily available banking service that hitherto was impossible to access because of poor banking infrastructure and a strict regulatory framework.

26

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Goteo

SHARING ECONOMY NETWORK

Other interesting initiatives such as Goteo are building services around the idea of the Commons, to enable communities to
access and share resources to collaborate on social projects. Goteo is a social network for crowdfunding and distributed
collaboration (services, infrastructure, micro tasks and other resources) for encouraging the independent development of
creative initiatives that contribute to the common good, free knowledge and open code. Goteo is managed by the non-profit
Open Sources Foundation that supports projects that offer some kind of collective return, such as the open source DIY shoest
kit8, a project developed with the support of Fablab Barcelona, or http://tuderechoasaber.es, a service that allows citizens to
send open data information requests to Spanish public bodies.

NEW WAYS
OF MAKING
An ecosystem of makers is
revolutionising open design and
manufacturing.
3D manufactur­ ng tools, free CAD/
i
CAM software and open source
designs are now giving innovators
better access to tools, products,
skills and capabilities they need to
enhance collaborative making.

A vibrant ecosystem of makers is developing across Europe and globally. Lowcost home 3D manufacturing tools (3D printers, CNC – computer numeric control – machines), free CAD/CAM software, like Blender, 123D or Sketchup, and
open source designs are now giving innovators better access to the enabling
infrastructures, products, skills and capabilities they need to enhance collaborative making. “Reuse, Remix, Recycle” are becoming the keywords of the open
hardware and makers movement, which embodies a combination of different
design and technology methods, such as fast prototyping, open design, lean
development and DIY. 
Open hardware seeks to shift the attention away from consumption and resource exploitation, to the creation of new capacities to build the products that people consume
according to a set of shared ethics and principles. The open hardware movement in
particular is about how people share knowledge, skills and tools, and how you build
communities around open products. People working on open source hardware are creating new organisations, such as the Open Source Hardware Association, to coordinate
research projects, such as the open source cars Wikispeed, and build farming tools and
new fabrication machines like the RepRap and others. These products are open source
and free, with a worldwide community of peers contributing to the collective discoveries.
A project like openp2pdesign is opening up design processes and tools to enable
collaborative communities to undertake large-scale projects that can lead to innovative
results in open business, open government or open data. Projects like Open Source
Ecology are promoting a shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
The makers movement is showing how experiments of collaboration and open culture
can be applied to design, prototyping and production.
Interesting trends are emerging at the intersection between open hardware, DIY culture,
open source software and open data. Projects and areas of work like
Safecast or open
source Geiger, the Smart Citizen Kit and open wearables are showing interesting
potential in combining innovative technology trends to generate unexpected services.

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

27

Organisations, from grassroots movements, think-tanks and universities to big charities
and public museums are hosting small-scale workshop spaces often with digital tools and
3D printing facilities (maker spaces and hacker spaces). There are now 96 known active hacker spaces worldwide, with 29 in the United States, according to Hackerspaces.
org. There are many more Hacklabs around the world that are not branded as hacker
spaces, but are community labs that incentivise the diffusion of free and p2p culture
and open technology.
Makerspaces are new and rapidly evolving hotbeds of innovation, which have been
facilitated by the latest in prototyping technology, while being rooted in traditional pillars of manufacturing: engineering, design, science and art.
The MIT founded a precursor in 2002 called
Fab Lab, and since then makerspaces
have expanded from the electronics-centric hacker spaces to having a stronger emphasis
on groups that attract a diversity of professionals such as artists, machinists, robotics
engineers, bicycle makers, jewellery makers, photographers and fashion designers.
Waag Society in Amsterdam is one of over 100 institutions worldwide hosting a Fab
Lab (part of a global movement of Fab Lab makerspaces), which has been used to
develop a number or digital social innovations, including the blueprint for a prototype
of a 3D printed $50 prosthesis that can be used in developing countries. An interesting
example that shows the possible convergence between makerspaces and Fab Labs is
WEFAB, a makerspace in Milan with a focus on open source, design, digital fabrication
and micro enterprises.

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Maker Fairs

MAKERS MOVEMENT

Maker Fairs are interesting expressions of this new form of networking events that emerged out of the big diffusion of the
Makers Movement. During Maker Fairs many organisations and people gather to showcase their projects and look for future
trends in a similar fashion to traditional commercial art fairs. Born in 2006 in the United States from the idea of Make Magazine,
​​
it has become over the years an event for families and fans that want to celebrate a DIY (do it yourself) approach in science,
inventions, crafts and electronics.
The biggest European Maker Fair was hosted in Rome during October 2014. The Maker Faire in Rome has hosted 230 makers,
of which more than half are Italian and the rest are from all over Europe. This year, Maker Faire Rome’s Call4Makers received
600 projects, 74 talk and 42 workshop proposals from 33 countries. In addition to its Call4Makers, Maker Faire Rome has
promoted a Call4School for projects created and developed in high schools, with the 25 best Call4School projects invited to
participate in the fair.

Another interesting example of collaborative innovation environments is the possibility
of setting up Urban Labs in Cities. When using urban labs as a tool for urban development city government can improve relationships with their citizens by testing ideas
in real world settings with all relevant stakeholders: citizens, companies and scientific
institutions.
One interesting example of an Urban Lab is the Barcelona Urban Lab. It was created
to facilitate the use of urban space as a laboratory available to companies that need to
test their products and services in a real environment. These pilot products and services
have to respond to an unmet municipal need, thus improving public service design and
delivery. One project was the adaptation of all traffic lights in the city for the blind.

29

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

OPEN
DEMOCRACY
Open democracy is transforming
the traditional models of
representative democracy.
Digital technology can enable
collective participation at a scale
that was impossible before
enabling citizens to be engaged in
decision-making processes,
collective deliberation, and
mass mobilisation.

Participatory democracy strives to create opportunities for all members of a population
to make meaningful contributions to political decision-making, as well as broadening
the range of people who have access to such opportunities. Since so much information
must be gathered for the overall decision-making process to succeed, technology can
help support participatory models, especially through technological tools that enable
community narratives and the accretion of knowledge.
Organisations and projects pioneering open democracy, large-scale feedback, and
citizen participation through crowdsourcing legislation, such as   Open Ministry or 
Liquid Feedback, are transforming the traditional models of
representative democracy.
OpenSpending encourages transparency and accountability, whilst participatory web
platforms such as Wikigender and
Wikiprogress developed by the OECD facilitate
the linking of National statistics to actual individual living conditions.

Pubblic spending
180.0b

Helping Others

122.0b
Health

68.0b

32.1b
Education

Openspending

35.3b

Running Government

Defence

29.7b

16.3b

Running the
Country,
Social Systems

Order & Safety

OPEN BUDGET

OpenSpending is a data sharing community and web application that aims to track every government and corporate financial
transaction across the world and to present that data in a useful and engaging form. OpenSpending is maintained by a community of contributors. Anyone interested in spending data of any kind is invited to contribute data to the OpenSpending database, create visualisations using the OpenSpending software and to use the OpenSpending API. Although the OpenSpending
project has a strong focus on government finance, it supports any dataset consisting of a set of transactions, each associated
with a quantity of money and a time. Where Does My Money Go was the first OpenSpending project. It allows UK citizens to
examine where their taxes were being spent through an interactive ‘bubble tree’ visualisation. Other Openspending projects
include visualising aid spending in Uganda and OffenerHaushalt in a way that allows users to explore and drill down through
the various layers of Germany’s federal budget.
Organisations like   MySociety  and the  Open Knowledge Foundation in the UK
have developed services such as FixMyStreet, allowing citizens to report city problems,
and CKAN, the biggest repository of open data in Europe, which is underpinning a new
bottom-up ecosystem for digital public services.
Digital technology can thus enable collective participation at a scale that was once
impossible and it is attracting a variety of citizens that are finding new ways of getting
engaged with decision-making processes. Addressing citizens and incorporating direct
feedback in detecting ideas and solutions has evolved to be a widely accepted method
in urban development. Online voting and challenge prizes are helpful instruments for
solving the problems of governments and administrations.

30

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Globally, cities now adopt systems like open 311 that provide a standardised and
collaborative model to track civil issues and get fast responses from local government.
Crowdsourcing processes also present challenges that are often related to managing the
crowd, quality or limitations of ideas, public commitment from policymakers, or lack
of investment. It is crucial for successful crowdsourcing to design the activity properly
to prevent excessive demands and frustrations. In Europe, interesting crowdsourcing
projects for cities are emerging from the Open Cities project and
Commons4EU,
drawing on the capabilities within communities (for instance, through utilising the skills
of civic innovators and hackers) to design and deliver public services that meet our
societies’ changing needs.
Your Priorities platform in Reykjavik is offering a successful model experimenting
with citizens in Iceland, integrating large-scale deliberation into democratic decisionmaking. The platform crowdsources opinions on city legislation, with the most popular
ideas then being debated by the city council.

 Open Ministry

CITIZEN INITIATIVES

The Open Ministry is a Finnish non-profit, non-partisan organisation based in Helsinki, set up with the aim of enabling the
crowdsourcing of legislation, promoting deliberative and participatory democracy and citizens initiatives. The Open Ministry
utilises crowdsourcing and it is fully operated by volunteers independent of governmental political parties. A change of law
in Finland was a major precipitating factor that made Open Ministry’s mission a possibility. On 1st March 2012, the Finnish
government amended the national constitution, so that any proposed legislation supported by at least 50,000 signatures (1.7
per cent of the voting population) must be put to a vote in the parliament within six months.
To get citizen proposals before parliament, the Open Ministry firstly helps citizens with an idea for a law proposal develop the
initial concept idea and refine this in to a clear proposition that will be acceptable to parliament. It is then up to the citizen
with the support of the Open Ministry to mobilise a minimum of 50,000 votes for the proposal, primarily through social media
campaigning. If successful the proposal is brought before parliament for a debate and vote. Five proposals have been put
before parliament to date, including a proposal for marriage equality, which reached over double the threshold number of
votes in the first day of its campaign, thus making it virtually impossible for the parliament to ignore.

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

D-CENT

31

COLLABORATIVE POLICY-MAKING

The Open Ministry is now part of the European D-CENT project that is building privacy-aware tools and applications for direct
democracy and economic empowerment. D-CENT is developing a decentralised social networking platform for large-scale
collaboration and decision-making and is piloting open source solutions across Europe engaging new political partices, citizen
movements and governments. Through the W3C partner, D-CENT is also helping to develop and implement open social web
standard standards, contributing to the W3C Federated Social Web Working Group.

Change.org is another example. It is a free petition tool with more than 70 million users
around the world. Its mission is to empower people everywhere to create the change
they want to see. MoveOn (http://front.moveon.org/) is another interesting case. It is
a non-profit educational and vocational organisation set up in 2001, which mobilises a
community of more than 8 million Americans who use innovative technology to lead,
participate in and win campaigns for progressive change.

AWARENESS
NETWORKS
Individuals, and communities are
now able to aggregate data coming
from people and the environment
in order to create a new generation
of products and services, fostering
behavioral change. Platforms for
collaboration are used to solve
environmental issues and promote
sustainable behavioral changes,
or to mobilise collective action and
respond to community emergencies.

Some of the best examples of DSI in Europe are clearly positively impacting society. For
instance cities including Vienna and Santander are pioneering new practices in open
data and open sensor networks that are changing the provision and delivery of public
services; personal networks like Tyze are generating new care communities that are
being integrating with traditional social care provision; and sharing economy platforms
like 
Peerby  are creating new forms of relationships and services. Inspired by the
open-source movement, individuals, self-organising groups and communities are beginning to aggregate the layers of data that increasingly permeate the urban environment, in
order to create a new generation of products and services, fostering behavioural change9
- for instance, platforms for collaboration to solve environmental issues and incentivise
sustainable behavioural changes, such as
Safecast and BeAware.

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Safecast

OPEN SENSOR COMMUNITY

Safecast is both the name of a Geiger counter built by the open source community as well as a global sensor network where
Safecast owners can map and freely share their radiation measurements in open data sets. The overarching aim of Safecast
is to encourage people to actively contribute to the generation of a body of data that might alleviate environmental problems.
Safecast was founded by Sean Bonner, Joi Ito and Pieter Franken after March 11th 2011, when a 9.0 earthquake hit Japan
and triggered a destructive tsunami which hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In an effort to help, the partnership
decided to take part in surfacing data on radiation levels across Japan, caused by the meltdown at the power plant. However,
the Safecast team quickly realised that most of the devices used by the public to map radiation were of poor quality and there
were massive holes in the public radiation data sets available. As a response to this, the team developed the bGiegie Geiger
counter, built on the Arduino open hardware board.
The team turned to ‘the crowd’ via crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, to finance the device and help launch a sensor network where bGiegie owners could share the data they were collecting. Safecast then worked with hackerspaces and used
grant funding to update the counter, which amongst others enabled users to mount the counter on the outside of a car and
use GPS technology to timestamp the data and log the location. All Safecast data is uploaded to an open data set, which
visualises radiation levels across Japan. To date, the Safecast network has used the Geiger counter to map more than 13
million data points.

Platforms are also used to mobilise collective action and respond to community emergencies, as in the case of Crisiscommons,
CrisisNET and
Ushahidi.

CrisisNET

CRISIS MAPPING

CrisisNET is an initiative developed by Ushahidi10, a non-profit tech company that specialises in developing free and open
source software for the collection, visualisation and interactive mapping of information. The primary purpose of CrisisNET is
to provide an easy to use tool which can continuously collect and organise crisis data from a variety sources, such as social
media, sensors or even quasi-real-time data. The hope is that the quick and easy access to real-time crisis data will make it
easier for organisations and developers to quickly to build their own applications without the need to spend days locating,
identifying and processing data, thereby enabling much quicker responses to crises such as Ebola or conflicts.
These platforms can gather and integrate information, allowing participatory urban planning and improvements in social cohesion and collective wellbeing through the use of
peer created information (e.g. Action for Happiness or challenge.gov). They also
use effective visualisation tools to better understand environmental, social and economic
indicators, and to bring them to public attention and create large-scale awareness.

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

OPEN ACCESS
The Open Access Ecosystem
approach (including open access
to content, open standards, open
licensing, knowledge commons and
digital rights) has the potential
to empower citizens and increase
participation, while preserving
the openness and accessibility
of the Internet infrastructure. It
includes projects that are using
bottom up privacy-preserving and
decentralised infrastructures, and
the diffusion of knowledge systems
in the Public Domain.

33

Many activities in this area exploit the power of open data, open APIs, and citizen science such as Open Data Challenge and Open Cities that provide citizens with better
public services, or
CitySDK which is defining interoperable interfaces for city-scale
applications. Other projects are exploring the potential of federated social networking, such as D-CENT and Diaspora, and the promotion and diffusion of knowledge
systems in the public domain, such as
Communia. These activities are favouring a
shift towards open access and transparency, thus having an impact on the underlying
norms and institutions that drive society.
Projects such as Confine, Commotion and Tor are using bottom-up privacy-preserving decentralised infrastructure for the open Internet constituted by open standards,
open data, free and open software and open hardware.
Github, the collaborative service for open software developers, is revolutionising
the way code is built, shared and maintained by a variety of projects around the globe.
Important developments to re-decentralise the Internet, leveraging P2P open technologies, are happening at many levels. For instance distributed social networking projects
such as Diaspora, Status.net or easy-to-run servers like arkOS – which make it easy
to run your own secure cloud – and decentralised media publishing platforms, such
as mediagoblin, are gaining new momentum. This open ecosystem approach has the
potential to empower citizens and increase participation, while preserving the openness
and accessibility of the Internet infrastructure.
Many activities in this space are driven by grassroots networks, like Observe Hack
Make, a five day outdoor international camping festival for hackers and makers, and the
Chaos Communication Camp, an international meeting of hackers that takes place
every four years, organised by the Chaos Computer Club (CCC)11, an informal association of hackers from across Europe.

The Chaos Computer Club (CCC)

HACKERS NETWORKS

The Chaos Computer Club (CCC), Europe’s largest network of hackers, is the most prominent example of grassroots communities coming together to develop and provide information about technical and societal issues, such as surveillance, privacy,
freedom of information, hacktivism and data security. The CCC is based in Germany and other German-speaking countries
and currently has over 4,000 members. The CCC advocates more transparency in government, freedom of information, human
rights and communication. Supporting the principles of the hacker ethic, the club also fights for free access to computers and
technological infrastructure for everybody. The latest gathering of the CCC in 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, brought together
6,000 participants.

34

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

The ability to access knowledge and bottom-up infrastructures is also changing the
state of education. It brings primary sources into every classroom and allows for more
open and rapid communication between teachers and students. For instance, The Open
University, based in the United Kingdom, and other models of distance learning have
made education much more widely available. The same goes for the way scientific
research is being done, with its culture being influenced through the ability to globally
access and share knowledge, culture, information and code and to undertake better
collaboration within the research community.
A good example of where developments in DSI could lead us is the project Primo,
which was born out of collaboration between
Arduino and designers in the Master
of Advanced Studies in Interaction design at SUSPI in Lugano. Primo is made from an
Arduino board, a car and a set of instruction blocks all made out of wood. Its objective
is to teach the high-level abstraction of programming as a sequence of instructions to
young children in schools, creating an appealing game. These kinds of projects are able
to combine open hardware technologies with new learning methods to experiment with
new educational practices, enhanced by the way technology is integrated within the
learning environment.
Open standards
A number of organisations affect DSI in Europe through acting as expert bodies on the
development of policy and strategies and advocating and campaigning for standards
for DSI.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C),

OPEN STANDARD BODY

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international community that works on developing and advocating for Open
Standards, the P2P foundation, that works on promoting peer-to-peer practices, and the IoT Council, promoting an open
Internet of Things vision, are good examples of this. Expert bodies are essential for providing expertise and coordinating
inclusive processes of decision-making amongst key stakeholders.

35

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

FUNDING,
ACCELLERATION,
INCUBATION
A range of incubators, accelerators,
impact incvestment schemes
have been set up by public and
private funders to support digital
innovation projects.
They do this through a combination
of seed fundings as well as nonfinancial support such as access
to co-working spaces and business
support and mentores

As it has been the case with the support for innovative businesses, social innovations
often need support in the early idea stages to refine their business models and grow
their venture. The global study Good Incubation (2014) 12 explores how social venture
incubation has grown as a set of techniques to help founders develop ventures that are
investable propositions, including a focus on incubators with a specific focus on supporting digital social innovators.
Incubators typically support innovators in exchange for equity, at pre-seed or seed stage.
There are nearly 100 incubators/accelerators in Europe.
Large foundations and charities often play an active role in hosting and running makerspaces and incubators focusing on supporting DSI.
The work by Nesta in the UK, on the tech for good incubator
Bethnal Green
Ventures, and the Waag society in Amsterdam, working on setting up and hosting
one of Europe’s first Fab Labs, are two examples of this in Europe. In the United States,
Code for America provides seed funding, office space, and mentorship to civic startups through its accelerator.
Y Combinator was the first of its kind when it started
inspired many others. Bethnal Green Ventures in the
technology start-ups tackling a social or environmental
months intensive support in return for 6 per cent equity,

back in 2005 and its success
UK, who support early-stage
problem with £15,000 and 3
is another example.

Nowadays, the biggest names are international start-up accelerators such as TechStars,
Seedcamp or Startbootcamp. But there is an increasing number of big corporationbacked accelerators, such as Wayra from Telefónnica or Orange FAB from Orange and
a plethora of regional start-up acceleration programs.

The Open Data Institute (ODI)

OPEN DATA ACCELLERATOR

The Open Data Institute’s start up programme, which has supported organisations like Open Corporate and Provenance
to grow their open data projects, is one of them.13 Although incubators and accelerators have been always around, their presence in aiming to address social challenges has been rather limited to date.

Traditional business accelerators offer advice and resources to fledgling firms to help
them grow. In contrast, Civic Accelerators can match cities with start-ups, private firms
and non-profit organisations interested in partnering with government to provide better
services, bring digital technology to cities, or change the way citizens interact with city
government.
Finally, crowdfunding platforms serve as intermediaries to link people and to stimulate
and fund new ideas. There is the growth of the alternative finance industry, including
crowdfunding and P2P lending that has been deeply documented by Nesta in the UK14

36

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Case studies categorised into the 6 different types of DSI

Avaaz

Patients
Like Me

Raspberry Pi

Wayra
UnLtd

P2P
Foundation

Avoin
Ministeriö

Open Right
Group

Zoonivers

Fairphone

ClearlySo
Angels

Landshare

Communia

GitHub

Everyaware

Arduino

Healthbox
London

Peerby

Your
Priorities

Confine

Safecast

Fablab

The
Accelerator

Goteo

Commons
4 Europe

Open
Garden

Wikirate

Desis
Network

Liquid
Feedback

Guifi.net

Open
Corporates

Freicoin

MySociety

Tor

Wikiprogress

Provenance

Open
Spending

Smart
Santander

Ushahidi

CrisisNET

DSI AREAS

Open
Government
Wien

OPEN DEMOCRACY

CitySDK

COLLABORATIVE ECONOMY

Ouishare

FUNDING ACCELERATION AND INCUBATION

Bethnal
Green
Ventures

NEW WAYS OF MAKING

Makerfaire

AWARENESS NETWORKS

Smart
Citizen Kit

Open
Knowledge
Foundation

OPEN ACCESS

Free
software
foundation

37

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

2.3 WHO ARE THE ORGANISATIONS INVOLVED IN SUPPORTING OR
DELIVERING DSI?
The type of organisation is a field of information sought for each of the Digital

Social Innovation organisations. Figure
below shows the numbers of each type

of organisation as correct at time of writing (Nov 2014).

Number of organisations ( Total 701)

Case study

How are they supporting DSI?

Organization Type

Types of organisation

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
CHARITY
OR FOUNDATION

BUSINESS

GRASS ROOTS
ORGANIZATION OR
COMMUNITY
NETWORK

ACADEMIA AND
RESEARCH

GOVERNMENT AND
PUBLIC SECTOR

Stimulate
multi-disciplinary
research and innovation

Delivering services

Engaging, facilitating
and expanding
communities

Analysing trends and
movements

Providing funding for
experiments / R&D

Providing new
(fundamental)
technologies and
methodologies

Providing non-financial
resources (i.e. opening
up public data sets)

Connecting top-down
and bottom up
movements

Providing funding for
experiments / R&D
(particular the case for
large Telco organisations)

Democratizing access
to emerging technologies

Amplifying weak signals

Delivering or partnering
with DSI services

Supporting grass-roots
movements

Avaaz

Ushahidi

193

Paitents
Like Me

Github

182

Tor

Smart
Citizen Kit

153

Arduino

DESIS
Network

118

City SDK

Open
Vienna

55

38

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

2.4 TECHNOLOGICAL TRENDS IN DIGITAL SOCIAL INNOVATION
Although there is a huge variety in the
different types of DSI and the technologies these innovations use, a look across
the different types of DSI we have examined to date shows four main technological ‘trends’ (Bollier and Clippinger 2013):
open knowledge, open data, open networks, and open hardware.
Through case study analysis we have
sought to build up an understanding of
the extent these emerging technologies,

such as open data, open networks, open
hardware and open knowledge, are being harnessed by digital social innovation. Below we provide a more detailed
description of how these trends can be
defined, and the insights we are deriving from case studies about these. It is
important to note that the activities of
many of the most exciting digital social
innovations can be grouped under two or
more trends. Safecast, for example relied
on open hardware to build the first Geiger

counter sensor kit, on Crowdfunding to
fund the development of kit, and on open
data to share and analyse the data captured across all of the Geiger counters.
Within these broader technology areas,
we have been identifying a variety of
more specific technologies and activities
adopted by DSI activities such as: social
media, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding,
big data, machine learning, 3D printing, online learning and e-petitions.

400

269

258

300

OPEN DATA

OPEN NETWORKS

OPEN KNOWLEDGE

412

200

OPEN HARDWARE

Examples

Technology Focus (Total 1044)

The main technological trends in DSI

105

100

0

Goteo

Tor

Open Vienna

Landshare

Guifi.net

Wikiprogress

Smart Citizen Kit

Liquidfeedback

Confine

Provenance

Arduino

Communia

Smart Santander

City SDK

SafeCast

Fairphone

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

39

The ability to build bottom-up networking capabilities in every corner or the world and
in people’s everyday lives has become a key enabling factor for the spreading of the
digital society. Here we describe some of the most interesting trends in the open network
area, such as wireless sensor networks, community (bottom-up) networking and
privacy-aware open networks.
A wireless sensor network (WSN) consists of spatially distributed wireless sensors
to monitor physical conditions, such as temperature, sound, vibration, pressure, motion
or pollutants, and to pass their data through the network to a single or replicated dataprocessing location. An open sensor network (OSN) is a wireless sensor network that
manages open information in an open environment. An OSN stands for an interoperable sensor network, where many vendors or entities can connect their sensor solutions
and those sensors interact with other ones or with the centralised data system using
standard communications. The open sensor network connects the sensor with the data
repository where the information is processed and stored, as it uses public data from
different sensors and forwards the gathered information to the central point within a
wireless environment.

OPEN NETWORKS
Innovative combinations of network
solutions and infrastructures, e.g.
sensor net­ orks, free interoperable
w
network services, open Wifi,
bottom-up-broadband, distribut­ed
social networks, p2p infrastructures

Sensor networks are the key infrastructures of a smart city, providing basic data on the
usage of energy, pollution, geodata, traffic, geography, tourism and other areas. Possible
future services based on OSN include mobile applications that support citizens using
public transport by displaying real time information on arrival and departure, or traffic
information for car drivers. Another application area is the measurement of air pollution, temperature and humidity, or light sensors that provide a large variety of sensor
networks and offer possibilities for developing mobile applications, which would be
fed by open data from the OSN.
A number of European cities have established sensors that detect traffic density and
some initiatives to monitor the arrival of public transport. Most European cities work
with sensors that monitor environmental conditions. Pollution, temperature, humidity
and light sensors are installed that provide information that could be used to develop
applications for citizens or to be added to other applications as mashups. All mobility
and environmental sensor networks could be interconnected with the OSN platform in
order to provide external parties a single point to consume this data.
For instance, Smart Santander demonstrates the potential of creating large networks
of sensors that capture activity from static sensors as well as citizens to create cities that
better and more efficiently react to citizen needs. These sensors provide the opportunity
to implement applications that help citizens to move around in cities.
Community networking (also known as bottom-up networking) is an emerging
model for the Future Internet across Europe and beyond, where communities of citizens
build, operate and own open IP-based networks, a key infrastructure for individual and
collective digital participation. While commercial access networks from either commercial
telecom companies or by local governments tend to follow a well-known centralised network architecture and operation model, community-owned open local IP networks are
an emerging model of infrastructures that is open, decentralised and can be collectively
more resilient. Internet networks have become a key infrastructure for the development
of the digital economy due to the ‘democratisation’ of the access technologies, reducing
the price and complexity in setting up wired or wireless links.
The Confine Testbed experimental facility supports experimentally-driven research on
community-owned open local IP Networks. This integrated project (2011-2015) offers
a testbed for experimental research that integrates (in a federation) and extends three
existing community networks: Guifi.net (Catalonia, Spain), FunkFeuer (Wien, Austria)
and AWMN (Athens, Greece). Each is in the range of 500 – 20,000 nodes, with a greater
number of links and even more end users. These networks are extremely dynamic and
diverse, and combine successfully different wireless and wired (optical) link technologies, fixed and ad-hoc routing schemes and management schemes. They run multiple
self-provisioned, experimental and commercial services and applications. A common
entry point allows researchers to select a set of resources, and then deploy, run, monitor

40

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

and experiment with services and protocols. This is done on real-world IP community networks that incorporate a wide variety of wired and wireless links, nodes, routing, applications and users. The testbed is a resource for the research community to address the limits
and obstacles regarding Internet specifications that are exposed by these edge networks.

Guifi.net

COMMUNITY NETWORKS

The Guifi.net initiative is developing a free, open and neutral, mostly wireless telecommunication community network. It
started in Catalonia in 2004 and as of January 2012 it has more than 15,300 working nodes, most of them linked to a main
network in Catalonia. Many other local networks are growing all around Spain. Guifi.net is connected to the Catalan Internet
Exchange (CATNIX) as an autonomous system (AS) via optical fibre with IPv4 and IPv6.

Tor

PRIVACY AWARE NETWORK

The work by Tor on creating secure, privacy-aware and crypto tools that bounce Internet users’ and websites’ traffic
through ‘relays’ run by thousands of volunteers around the world, making it extremely hard for anyone to identify the source
of the information or the location of the user, is one example of open networks enabling citizens to protect their digital rights
online. TOR also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features and provides
the foundation for a range of applications that allow organisations and individuals to share information over public networks
without compromising their privacy. The Tor network’s 4000-plus volunteer-led model relays over half a million daily users.
Such tools are powerful in the hands of individuals and communities, as shown by the use of Wikileaks to expose government
accountability and transparency by supporting journalists and other experts to access information and report key stories.

T
PROTEC
YOUR
Y
PRIVAC
ANONYMITY
ONLINE

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

41

The explosion of new types of data analytics and machine learning means that it is no
longer only government or corporate forecasters who have the opportunity to access
and analyse data. By making data open, governments and other large organisations
and companies that hold or generate data about society have the opportunity to enable
citizens to hold government to account for what it spends, the contracts it gives and
the assets it holds.
Local authorities are playing a leading role in implementing open data policies and
driving forward the open data movement. The social benefits of open government vary
from citizen engagement to increased transparency and accountability, as well
as enhanced interaction between governments, other institutions, and the public. For
instance, citizens are gaining greater insight into how their tax payments are being spent.

OPEN DATA
Innovative ways to capture,
use, analyse, and interpret open
data coming from people and
from the environment

Beyond the social aspects, open data also supports public sector innovation by breaking the competitive advantage gained by proprietary access to data and data lock-in.
Innovation is most likely to occur when data is available online in open, structured,
computer-friendly formats for anyone to download, use, and analyse, as long as the
privacy and data protection of all citizens is preserved and that communities are entitled
to share the value and social benefits of public assets. Thus, open data, together with
open and standardised APIs is crucial for open innovation, as developers are able
to access and use public data and mesh it with other sources of data produced by the
crowd to build novel applications that have a social utility.
Another important trend, boosting the diffusion of open data is the increasing number
of mobile devices. Smartphones, tablets, PDAs and other devices are becoming smaller,
faster, smarter, more networked and personal. Dataflows are also burgeoning as the
Internet of Things integrates a vast universe of network-aware sensors, actuators,
video cameras, RFID-tagged objects and other devices that see, hear, move, coordinate
and ‘reason’ with each other.
For instance, the city of Vienna has, with its Open Data in Vienna programme,
demonstrated the potential in opening up its data. The city opened its data records to
the population, businesses and the scientific community. Released data ranges from
statistics and geographic data on traffic and transport to economic figures. It then invited programmers and developers to make apps and web services based on the data,
which to date have resulted in more than 60 applications for citizens. Other pioneering
examples include the work by the Estonian Government and the not-for-profit Praxis
on the Meiraha project, which focuses on opening up and visualising the Estonian
budget. The citizen science project Globe at Night is yet another example of this,
where citizens using the camera and geo-tagging functions on their smartphones help
the research project measure global levels of light pollution, effectively coupling open
data and citizen science.

42

Helsinki Region Infoshare

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

OPEN DATA FOR REGIONS

Through an entity called Helsinki Region Infoshare34 , Helsinki and three of its neighbouring cities publish all of their data in
formats that make it easy for software developers, researchers, journalists and others to analyse, combine or turn into webbased or mobile applications that citizens may find useful. The movement for more and better open data has grown significantly
over the last few years through projects funded by the European Commission, such as City SDK that help cities to standardise
their interfaces and reuse solutions across Europe.

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

43

There are other local governments around the world that are successfully developing
open data portals. In the United States, the cities of Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia,
and New York are only a few of the examples worth mentioning. British Columbia in
Canada, the region of Piedmonte in Italy, and Metropolitan Rennes in France have also
set up open data websites at the regional level that can be considered good practices,
and in the Barcelona Metropolitan Region, the city of Barcelona is leading Multicouncil
Open Data.

Open Data Challenge

OPEN DATA FOR REGIONS

There are several examples where Governments and the developer communities interact. One of them is the examples of
competitions and challenges. One of Europe’s biggest open data competitions is the Open Data Challenge15. It was organized
by the Open Knowledge Foundation, the Openforum Academy and Share-PSI.eu. It offered 20,000 Euros in prizes to win and
revieved a total of 430 entries from 24 European Union member states. There were several categories: Prize Idea, Prize App,
Price Visualization, Better Data Award, Open Data Award, and Talis Award for Linked data. In total, 13 awards were given.
There are many other competitions, such as Apps4Finland16 , the biggest European apps contest organized since 2009 and
Apps for Amsterdam promoted by the City of Amsterdam to make accessible to developers and citizens the data of the City.

44

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

The contribution of open knowledge covers the variety of ways in which citizens can
use online services and platforms for mass scale social collaboration. Ordinary people
today use blogs, wikis, social networks and hundreds of other collaborative platforms
to manage their daily lives, solve social challenges, and to participate in e-campaigns,
crowdfunding etc. Furthermore, the ability to access, use, and reuse without financial,
legal, contractual and technical restrictions (alligned with the Budapest open access
initiative, released as creative commons or in the public domain) is key for knowledge
co-creation networks to spread. Open access provides an economic and social return
through dissemination to citizens, taxpayers and researchers from other countries and
other disciplines. Recent global developments have revealed increasing demands of
citizens for their governments and administrations to become more participatory, transparent and accountable.

OPEN KNOWLEDGE
Co-production of new knowledge
and crowd mobilisation based on
open content, open source and
open access

Communia

PUBLIC DOMAIN

Communia, a European Union-wide thematic network that focuses on strategic policy discussion of existing and emerging
issues concerning the public domain in the digital environment is one example of this, as is the work by the social innovation
research project COMMUNIA. The European Thematic Network on the Digital Public Domain is an international association
based in Brussels. COMMUNIA is built on the eponymous COMMUNIA Project Thematic Network, funded by the European
Commission from 2007 to 2011, which issued the Public Domain Manifesto and gathered over 50 members from academia
and civil society researching the digital public domain in Europe and worldwide. The Public Domain is defined as the wealth
of information that is free from the barriers usually associated with copyright protection, either because it is free from any copyright protection or because the right holders have decided to remove these barriers. COMMUNIA Association and its members
raise awareness in, educate about, advocate for, offer expertise on, and research about the public domain in the digital age.
Along with Communia, TEPSIE (researching the role of ICT and social innovation) and
LIPSE (researching innovation in public sector environments) are further examples of
research activities and research networks aiming to further our understanding of DSI
as a phenomenon.
Building on long-term EU research projects like Commons4EU, networks of EU organisations (academic and non-academic) have partnered to collectively explore the
development of DSI practice through joint research and development. In the case of
Commons4EU, partners got together to explore the development of collaborative web
projects and bottom-up broadband technologies15. Other interesting examples of multidisciplinary research projects are the Network of Excellence on Internet Science
(EINS), that aims to integrate multidisciplinary scientific understanding of Internet
networks and their co-evolution with society, and the Knowledge and Innovation
Communities (KICs), promoted by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology
that are coordinating research on ICT for society in different domains, such as climate
change, sustainable energy and communication technology itself.
A very interesting project, which is not funded by the European Union but shows how
open research works, is FLOK Society in Ecuador.

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

FLOK

45

APPS CHALLENGES

FLOK is an open research project aimed at creating policy proposals and political actions to transition Ecuador to a full
commons-based knowledge economy. The project is a joint research effort sponsored by the Co-ordinating Ministry
of Knowledge and Human Talent, the Senescyt, (Secretaria National de Educacion Superior, Ciencia, Tecnologia e
Innovacion) and the IAEN (Instituto de Altos Estudios del Estado). It seeks the involvement and input of local civil
society but also includes an explicit appeal to the global co-operative and commons movements to assist them with
advice and policy proposals.

One of these policy proposals is around skills and training. A fundamental requirement
for DSI is that innovators with an ambition to use technology for social good have the
skillset to use and apply digital technologies. Collaborative networks of DSI organisations are able to foster these skills that often are not being provided by traditional
education and training organisations. To cater to this need a number of projects have
emerged, such as Apps for Goodi or the Open Data Institute’s (UK) open data training
sessions for charities. Real empowerment through access to knowledge and education
happens when groups and individual can acquire skills and gain access to resources
and opportunities to develop the knowledge and self-sufficiency toachieve inclusion
in decision-making processes. These are some of the main initiatives within the DSI
field that are focusing on capacity-building & constructing informal learning networks:
Fab academy; Institute for network culture; Coder dojo’s; and more generally the
hacking culture of sharing skills and knowledge.

46

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Open-source hardware consists of hardware whose blueprints are made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, extend and sell the design or
hardware based on that design. The hardware’s source, the design from which it is made,
is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. Ideally, open-source
hardware uses readily available components and materials, standard processes, open
infrastructure, unrestricted content and open-source design tools to maximise the ability
of individuals to make and use hardware. Open-source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce
through the open exchange of designs.
The work by organisations like
potential in open hardware.

Raspberry Pi and

Arduino illustrates the

OPEN HARDWARE
new ways of making and using
open hard­ are solutions and
w
moving towards and Open Source
Internet of Thingst

Arduino

OPEN HARDWARE

The core to Arduino is a simple, ultra low-cost circuit board, based on an open-source design, armed with a microprocessor which can be programmed with open-source software tools by the user. The idea is that anyone should be able to turn
an Arduino into a simple electronic device such as a light switch and sensor. In 2005, Massimo Banzi, an Italian engineer
and designer, started the Arduino project to enable students at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea (IDII) to build electronic
devices using an open-source hardware board. Arduino has grown to become popular, selling more than one million units to
date, largely because of its creators’ decision to make the board’s design ‘open source’, along with its quick adoption by the
international maker movement of D.I.Y. hardware hobbyists, such as makerspaces and Fab Labs.

This makes Arduino a key building block of many digital social innovation initiatives
relying on open hardware, such as
Safecast and the  Smart Citizen Kit.The Smart

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Smart Citizen Kit

47

OPEN HARDWARE

Citizen Kit is an Arduino based sensor kit that provides sophisticated sensor network tools to citizens, enabling the measurement of levels of air pollution, noise pollution or air humidity in the vicinity of a private home, school or office. The project was
originally developed within the Fab Lab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia and crowdfunded
via the Goteo and Kickstarter crowdfunding platforms. With its relatively low-cost model the Smart Citizen Kit sees itself as
acting as a bridge between more typically technical and non-technical citizens, both seeking to solve environmental challenges in unconventional ways through better monitoring. The Smart Citizen Kit is based on two core components; the ‘kit ’
itself and the platform used to share data between people operating a kit. The kit is an electronic board based on the Arduino,
equipped with sensors that capture data on air quality, temperature, noise, humidity and light. The board also contains a WiFi
antenna that enables the direct upload of data from the sensors in real time. A number of cities, including Manchester in the
UK and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, have shown an interest in supporting citizens to monitor environmental data and have
launched city pilots using the Smart Citizen Kit.

Another big trend related to open hardware is the evolution of the Internet of Things
(IoT). People, places, and objects can be instrumented with tracking and sensing devices
that continuously stream and measure data about real-world activity. This is possible due
to the increasing number of powerful smart personal devices, which facilitate the
anywhere/anytime access to the Internet, and to new services So-called Cyber Physical
Systems (CPS), which are becoming increasingly important in this context. The networking of embedded ICT systems both with one another and with the Internet, is giving
rise to what has been named as Industry 4.019
This smart infrastructure is also increasingly “getting to know people” by aggregating
personal and social data in massive data centres. This can also mean increased surveillance, prediction and control of people and the environment. However, as outlined by
Rob Van Kranenburg, “successful IoT means the best possible feedback on our physical
and mental health, the best possible deals based on a real time monitoring for resource
allocation, the best possible decision making based on a real time data and information
from open sources and the best possible alignments of my local providers with the
global potential of wider communities” (Van Kranenburg 2014)

Case studies by DSI domain and key technology trend

Y
OM
ON
EC
ND
EA
C
AN
IN
F
18

DSI AREAS
44

Open democracy

Collaborative economy
Awarness network
New ways of making
Funding acceleration
and incubation

6

SCI
ENC
EA
ND
TE
CH
NO
LO
GY

Open access

31

4

TECHNOLOGY AREAS

17
30

14

25

45

47

15
36

Open Knowledge

41

26

Open Hardware

Open Networks

AREAS OF SOCIETY
Health and Wellbeing
Finance and Economy
Energy and Environment

NMENT
NVIRO
ND E
YA
ERG
EN

Open Data
37

21

12

10

38

39
34

27

Participation and Democracy

5

Smart public services

2

8

S
MA
RT

40

PLOYMENT

Work and Employment

P
UB
LI
C

Culture and Arts

SE
R

Education and skills

ES
IC
V

Science and technology

EDU
CAT
ION

AN
D

11

SK
ILL
S

16
29

13

2

23

3

CY
CRA
MO
DE
ND
NA
TIO
IPA
IC
RT
PA

1

22

28

42
19

46

9

35

32
43

24

D
AN

NG
EI
LB
EL
W

0

H

33

H
EA
LT

29

CULT
URE A
ND A
RTS

7

1. Arduino
2. Avaaz
3. Avoin Ministeriö
4. Bethnal Green Ventures
5. CitySDK
6. ClearlySo Angels
7. Communia
8. Commons 4 Europe
9. Confine
10. CrisisNET
11. Desis Network
12. Everyaware
13. Fablab
14. Fairphone
15. Freicoin
16. Free software foundation
17. GitHub
18. Goteo
19. Guifi.net
20. Healthbox London
21. Landshare
22. Liquid Feedback
23. Makerfaire
24. MySociety
25. Open Corporates
26. Open Garden
27. Open Government Wien
28. Open Knowledge Foundation
29. Open Right Group
30. Open Spending
31. Ouishare
32. P2P Foundation
33. Patients Like Me
34. Peerby
35. Provenance
36. Raspberry Pi
37. Safecast
38. Smart Citizen Kit
39. Smart Santander
40. The Accelerator
41. Tor
42. Ushahidi
43. Wikiprogress
44. Wayra UnLtd
45. Wikirate
46. Your Priorities
47. Zooniverse

ND E
WORK A

50

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

The different methods by which these organisations are supporting DSI

DELIVERING A
WEB SERVICE
RESEARCH
PROJECT

Landshare

Project Type (Total 572)

EDUCATION
AND TRAINING

Confine

CrisisNET

NETWORK
Goteo

ADVOCATING
AND CAMPAIGNING
EVENT

Tor
Avaaz
Free
software
foundation

INCUBATORS AND
ACCELERATORS

Wikiprogress

MAKER AND
HACKER SPACES
ADVISORY OR
EXPERT BODY

Open
Knowledge
Foundation

Ouishare

Makerfaire

INVESTMENT
AND FUNDING

Communia

Liquid
Feedback

Arduino
Wayra
UnLtd

13

Open Right
Group

Bethnal
Green
Ventures

P2P
Foundation

26

0

30

30

Smart
Santander

31

32
GitHub

Guifi.net

70

74

76
Open
Government
Wien

Safecast

152

254

251
164
163
138
110

FINANCE AND ECONOMY

SCIENCE

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

NEIGHBOURHOOD REGENERATION

WORK AND EMPLOYMENT

HEALTH AND WELLBEING

CULTURE AND ARTS

PARTICIPATION AND DEMOCRACY

EDUCATION AND SKILLS

Areas of Society ( Total 2109 )

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe
51

The areas of society these DSI organisations impact

0

104

50

100

130
150

162

200

250

EXPLORING DSI
NETWORK EFFECT

3.1
What communities of social innovation exist in Europe?
3. 2
Which organisations currently bridge the various communities?
3. 3
What are the conditions for scaling DSI?

53

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

One of the primary problems facing the
mapping of an open-ended field such as
DSI is how to direct the multiple diverse
streams of data from interviews to social
media into a central repository capable
of giving a ‘big picture’ of European DSI
that can provide strategic recommendations for the EC.

are tied by one or more types of relations (Wasserman and Faust, 1994). In
the case of the DSI social network collected in this study, the nodes in a graph
are organisations, and the edges represent
joint projects.

empirical phenomena at hand with two
caveats
1) It has a bias towards English speakers
as the survey was not translated into other
European languages
2) As outreach was directed by the partners it is likely to reflect their social networks in more depth than disconnected
social networks. However, it is a large
sample and thus worth exploring in detail. The graph of the networks is given
in Figure 11 (which shows the complete
network, including disconnected communities), with a closer look at the connected
centre in Figure at page 54.

The results of this analysis have informed
the recommendations on a policy and instrument level that are needed for the EC
to knit the map of DSI actors into a coherent single integrated EC DSI network,
and thus achieve the ‘critical mass’ necessary to harness the collective intelligence of DSI organisations to solve
large-scale European social problems.

Using the network data, stored as W3C
Linked Data at http://data.digitalsocial.eu,
in combination with our hybrid iterative
strategy of case study interviews, workshops and events relevant to these communities, we have identified DSI actors as
part of a larger social network and have
mapped this network in a way that has not
been possible before.

In the DSI network dataset, there are a
total of 1000 organisations with a total of
630 shared projects, as of January 2015.
This dataset is likely to fairly represent the

Social networks are formally defined as
set of nodes (or network members) that

Crowd-mapped DSI organizations as a network

FallingWallsFoundation

AhrefFoundation
TaxiTastic

RaceItHome
TheWikirateProject

GrassCommons

WestminsterUniversity
CallForTeam

OpenUniversity

Firemny-Register.sk

54Degrees
PubMe
Crowdfunding.pl

FairPlayAlliance
CityofEindhoven

FairSay

MySeed
EiggBox
LaCuisine

UniversityofZurichDepartmentof...

moreonion

Goteo

CitizenHive

Coexisthance

PembrokeshireCollege

Comar

crowdsourcing

Fram3

MADemergentartcenter

DiploHack

StirchleyHappenings

Democratise

UNDP

AmbITionScotland
ImaginationforPeople

GeoVation

VocalEyes

e-PROgroupa.s.

IkBenZoho

Futurescaper

BetterWithDataSociety

Metamatter

AguasdeAlicante

ImpactHubKing'sCross

Hackity

CityofEdinburghCouncil
GhentLivingLab

TinderFoundation

WEA-NI

AsplanViakInternetAS
mySociety

HelpServiceRemoteSensing

InnovAfrica

FryskLab

GovFaces

mylearningworx

NCBI

FablabPalermo

TrentoRise

UniversityofEdinburgh

RespirodelMare

Innovation&Investment"

Mediawijzer.net

Jednotaškolskýchinformatik(Un...
GreekFree/OpenSourceSoftwareSo...

UniversityofWestBohemia
InformaticaTrentina

NEXA

TheNerveCentre

DeHeerProjecten

Istat-ItalianNationalInstitute...

BeGoodBeSocial
MuseomixUK

ERGOLAB

DNADigest

STA&R
Skjutsgruppen
ProsperityInitiativeinKosovo

Tenzing

mijnbuurtje.nl
CommuniaAssosiation

BuildingChangeTrust

OECD

AppsForGhent

StartingPointCommunityLearning...
Alveolus

ConsorzioTiberina

WorldWideNarrative

TNO

betterplacelab

SocialFare|CenterforSocialInno...

MapKiberaTrust

MinisterievanBinnenlandseZaken
GAIA

SocialFabric

OuiShare
CMC2CommunityInterestCompany

SocialInnovationCamp
ViciniDiCasaLTD

Farm2me

Streetbank

Parlemint

RiverWatch/Tevere
SigmaOrionis

AccessInfoEurope

groupedin

Kolba

label
VisceralBusiness

TheMeltingPot

Dédale

FundaciónCiudadanaCivio

AssociationDedale

EuropeanUniversityInstitute

streetclub

FabLabBarcelona

environment"

VauxhallNeighbourhoodCouncil

GreenEnergyOptions(GEO)

KREATERSocialInnovationAgency

InstitutInovasiSosialIndonesia...

AaltoUniversity

themedicalsearch

IndustrialStrategyCommunications

AMAIDIInternationalgGmbH

MadLab

OKFN

Ship2B

AberdeenCityCouncil

AmsterdamSmartCity

id

NeighboursCanHelpLtd

OpenState

FullCircleArts

CNR

Appleseed

UniversityofSheffield

Wesign.it

Peerby.com
FactoryYouthZone

iNetwork

Kiemkracht

AfsnitI

ProjectDanube

OKFNDE
CoventryUniversity
HTWChur

DCLG

Fairphone

OKFNBelgium

Democratie.Nu

FundaciónINTRAS

ManchesterCityCouncil

Petitions.nlFoundation
Stickyboard

TraffordMBC
HampshireCountyCouncil

Fundaciói2CAT

FutureEverything

iMinds

Alfamicro

Empirica

webLyzardtechnology

WaagSociety

Swirrl
SalfordCityCouncilICTServices
FutureCitiesCatapult

FondazioneBrunoKessler

OpenFoodFoundation

openPetition.de

ShrimpingIt

FondazioneMondoDigitale

Humana

MDDA

ElvaCommunityEngagement

Fraunhofer-InstitutforIntellig...

Dialogic

SheffieldHallamUniversity

InstituteofNetworkCultures
TAGES

OpenDataManchester

DigitaalErfgoedNederland

Innodriven

FolkLabs
HerneHillForum

nationalandregionallevel"

AssociationConcert-Urbain

iDROPSvzw

NordicDEi

Fing

EuropeanInstituteforParticipat...

ForumViriumHelsinki

Esade

CUBITScarl

MuseoStoricoItalianodellaGuerra

LundUniversity

BrainScope

ManchesterDigitalDevelopmentAg...

MOVImentiltd

BelfastMetropolitanCollege

Qoin
ekovizija

IRI

Arduino

Lynx

UFO

Wikinetix
5thDimension

social&distributedwebtofacilit...

Nesta

UniversityofLeuphana

Dotopen

P2PFoundation

NewEconomicsFoundation

DigitalCircle

UniversityofTokyo

CityofAmsterdam

Dyne.org
FoAM
workshopsandstudyvisits"

Hemmerling
ImpactHubZurich

OpenKnowledgeFinland-OKFFI

OpenKnowledgeFoundation

Attendal-CreativeBusinessInnov...

DonorSearch

OpenMinistry

Mozilla

WEBiversity.org

ZZZINC

IMMI(InternationalModernMediaI...

SIMPLON.CO

BethnalGreenVentures
AssociationofFinnisheLearningC...

Microgenius

BarcelonaMedia

CCCBLab

Bob

NominetTrust

Attendal-

MatinaleDigitale

Sometu

OtavanOpisto

54

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

3.1 WHAT COMMUNITIES OF SOCIAL INNOVATION EXIST IN EUROPE?
Is social innovation done by a few large
actors? Or evenly distributed between various actors? Or is it done by a few large actors in concert with a large mass of smaller
groups? The answer is social innovation in
Europe is currently done by a few large
actors in concert with a large mass of
smaller organisations, but the majority of
social innovation actors in Europe are disconnected from these networks. We map
every organisation’s degree, which is, for a
given node (organisation), the number of
connections (links) it has with other nodes
(organisations). There are 243 organisations with connections to other organisations (26 per cent). The average number of
connections between organisation is fairly
small, only three.

communities that do not have connections
to the larger cross-European digital social
innovation “super-community.”
Attempting to detect communities in the
figure below, a few large communities
stand out from each other (Blondel 2008).
These interconnected communities only
count for 28 per cent of the total amount
of connected DSI activities. The largest
community (10.29 per cent) is focussed
around open hardware and open networks and includes organisations such as
iMinds, Fairphone, the City of Amsterdam,
and Fab Lab Barcelona. Its most interconnected member is the Waag Society, and
there is a large focus on awareness networks and new ways of making. The collaborative economy and open knowledge
is the specialty of the second largest – but
also more scattered – community (7.41
per cent), consisting of Esade, the IRI,
European Institute for Participatory Media
and the Institute for Network Cultures.

Looking closely at the map, there are
approximately 115 distinct disconnected communities of social innovation.
Although there is one large pan-European network, there are also many smaller
SigmaOrionis

groupedin

A third large community is grouped
around Nesta (5.35 per cent) and is focussed on funding, acceleration and open
democracy, although it has a very diverse
technology focus, containing groups such
as Open Ministry, Nominet and Mozilla.
Open data for open access is the last
dense community (4.95 per cent), with
a centre on FutureEverything, but also
containing open knowledge and its local chapters – as well as city councils
working on open data, such as Salford in
the UK. Interestingly, although the open
hardware network is the smallest overall,
it is the most highly interconnected and
intermixed with open networks. Open
knowledge is the most popular technological focus of DSI, but it also the most
spread out and disconnected. Other communities, such as those around open data,
are developing connected communities.
Nonetheless, the vast majority of communities are not interconnected.

Kolba

VisceralBusiness

AccessInfoEurope

label

Dédale

AssociationDedale

FundaciónCiudadanaCivio

FabLabBarcelona

GreenEnergyOptions(GEO)

KREATERSocialInnovationAgency

Zoom-in on centre of DSI Network

themedicalsearch

IndustrialStrategyCommunications

AMAIDIInternationalgGmbH

MadLab

OKFN
AberdeenCityCouncil

AmsterdamSmartCity

id

OpenState

FullCircleArts

UniversityofSheffield

iNetwork

Kiemkracht

AfsnitI

ProjectDanube

OKFNDE
CoventryUniversity
DCLG

Fairphone

OKFNBelgium

FundaciónINTRAS

TraffordMBC
HampshireCountyCouncil

Fundaciói2CAT

FutureEverything

iMinds

Alfamicro

WaagSociety

Swirrl

ncilICTServices
FutureCitiesCatapult

FondazioneBrunoKessler

ShrimpingIt

FondazioneMondoDigitale
MDDA

ElvaCommunityEngagement

Dialogic

SheffieldHallamUniversity

InstituteofNetworkCultures
TAGES

OpenDataManchester

DigitaalErfgoedNederland

Innodriven

iDROPSvzw

NordicDEi

Fing

EuropeanInstituteforParticipat...

ForumViriumHelsinki

Esade

CUBITScarl

MuseoStoricoItalianodellaGuerra

LundUniversity

ManchesterDigitalDevelopmentAg...

BelfastMetropolitanCollege

IRI

Arduino

Lynx

UFO

Wikinetix

social&distributedwebtofacilit...

Nesta

UniversityofLeuphana

Dotopen

DigitalCircle

UniversityofTokyo

CityofAmsterdam

Dyne.org
workshopsandstudyvisits"

Hemmerling

OpenKnowledgeFinland-OKFFI

OpenKnowledgeFoundation

Attendal-CreativeBusinessInnov...

OpenMinistry

Mozilla

WEBiversity.org

IMMI(InternationalModernMediaI...

SIMPLON.CO

BethnalGreenVentures
AssociationofFinnisheLearningC...

Microgenius

BarcelonaMedia

Bob

NominetTrust

Attendal-

MatinaleDigitale

Sometu

OtavanOpisto

55

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

3.2 WHICH ORGANISATIONS CURRENTLY BRIDGE THE VARIOUS
COMMUNITIES?
Who connects the diverse communities,
such as those of open data, open knowledge, open hardware and open networks?
Even if an organisation is not central and
so has only a few links, it may be these
few important links that connect otherwise disconnected communities. With eigenvector centrality, we see that a number
of new organisations are crucial in bridging diverse communities outside of the
original list of central organisations which
bubble up to the top: Institute of Network
Cultures, iDROPSzw, Elva Community
Engagement, Arduino, and Fing.

How can we determine which organisations act as crucial “bridges” between
different kinds of networks and areas
in DSI? Using betweenness centrality (Brandes, 2001), central organisations are: Waag Society, Nesta, Future
Everything, Fondiazione Mondo Digitale,
Kreater Social Innovation Agency, Forum
Virium Helsinki, Swirrl, Open Knowledge
Finland, IRI, BettterPlaceLab, Alfamicro,
Amsterdam Smart City, European Institute
for Participatory Media and ESADE. Each
bridging of these organisations brings over
70 organisations.

To encourage cross-hybridisation of different kinds of social innovation, special
effort should be made by the European
Commission to strengthen these digital
crucial connectors between diverse DSI
communities. Interdisciplinary European
projects that force diverse communities to
work together would strengthen the overall resilience of DSI in Europe by combining open hardware, open data, open
knowledge and open networks.

Automatically-discovered communities in DSI network

moreonion
WestminsterUniversity

FairSay

54Degrees

TheWikirateProject

GrassCommons

AhrefFoundation
FallingWallsFoundation

TaxiTastic

RaceItHome

PubMe

Firemny-Register.sk
FairPlayAlliance

Comar

AmbITionScotland

EiggBox

Fram3
VocalEyes
PembrokeshireCollege

MySeed

CallForTeam

Crowdfunding.pl
LaCuisine

OpenUniversity
Democratise
UniversityofZurichDepartmentof...
CitizenHive

e-PROgroupa.s.
AsplanViakInternetAS
HelpServiceRemoteSensing
UniversityofWestBohemia

UniversityofEdinburgh

CityofEindhoven

CityofEdinburghCouncil
MADemergentartcenter

crowdsourcing

TinderFoundation
Goteo

ImaginationforPeople
Hackity

DiploHack
InnovAfrica

FablabPalermo

UNDP

StirchleyHappenings

DeHeerProjecten

GeoVation

FryskLab
Coexisthance
Metamatter

RespirodelMare

IkBenZoho

CNR

EuropeanUniversityInstitute

Tenzing

AguasdeAlicante

ImpactHubKing'sCross

BetterWithDataSociety
GhentLivingLab

Futurescaper

SocialInnovationCamp

GreekFree/OpenSourceSoftwareSo...

BuildingChangeTrust
TheNerveCentre

BeGoodBeSocial
ERGOLAB
AMAIDIInternationalgGmbH

GovFaces

WEA-NI

Mediawijzer.net

mySociety

Innovation&Investment"

DNADigest
SocialFabric

NCBI
mylearningworx
Jednotaškolskýchinformatik(Un...

AppsForGhent

TrentoRise InformaticaTrentina

MuseomixUK

mijnbuurtje.nl

ProsperityInitiativeinKosovo

SocialFare|CenterforSocialInno...

NEXA
CommuniaAssosiation

Alveolus

RiverWatch/Tevere
ConsorzioTiberina

Parlemint

STA&R
Istat-ItalianNationalInstitute...

ViciniDiCasaLTD

MinisterievanBinnenlandseZaken
OECD

AaltoUniversity

MapKiberaTrust

TheMeltingPot

streetclub

StartingPointCommunityLearning...
Streetbank
VauxhallNeighbourhoodCouncil

FundaciónCiudadanaCivio

InstitutInovasiSosialIndonesia...

AccessInfoEurope

WorldWideNarrative

environment"

Skjutsgruppen

OuiShare

Appleseed

Ship2B

Farm2me

FactoryYouthZone
FullCircleArts

themedicalsearch
CMC2CommunityInterestCompany

Peerby.com

NeighboursCanHelpLtd

Stickyboard
HTWChur

webLyzardtechnology

ProjectDanube

Empirica
FundaciónINTRAS

Fraunhofer-InstitutforIntellig...

label

id

ShrimpingIt

nationalandregionallevel"

GAIA

Humana

ekovizija
NordicDEi

LundUniversity

UFO
AssociationConcert-Urbain

P2PFoundation

DigitalCircle

BrainScope

FoAM

social&distributedwebtofacilit...

OpenFoodFoundation

FolkLabs

HerneHillForum

Wesign.it
Democratie.Nu

Petitions.nlFoundation

SigmaOrionis

TNO

openPetition.de

betterplacelab

workshopsandstudyvisits"

Kolba

ImpactHubZurich

VisceralBusiness

groupedin

DonorSearch

Hemmerling

KREATERSocialInnovationAgency

Kiemkracht

iNetwork

IndustrialStrategyCommunications

TraffordMBC

FutureCitiesCatapult

AfsnitI
MadLab

ManchesterCityCouncil

OKFN

SalfordCityCouncilICTServices

OKFNDE

OpenDataManchester

FabLabBarcelona

iMinds

OpenState

Innodriven

BelfastMetropolitanCollege

AmsterdamSmartCity

AssociationDedale

MOVImentiltd

WEBiversity.org

5thDimension

Dialogic

Dédale

OKFNBelgium

FutureEverything

Fundaciói2CAT

GreenEnergyOptions(GEO)

SIMPLON.CO

MatinaleDigitale

UniversityofSheffield
CoventryUniversity

FondazioneMondoDigitale

WaagSociety
Fairphone

DigitaalErfgoedNederland

SheffieldHallamUniversity
FondazioneBrunoKessler

AberdeenCityCouncil

DCLG

HampshireCountyCouncil

MuseoStoricoItalianodellaGuerra

InstituteofNetworkCultures
ElvaCommunityEngagement

Swirrl

Bob

TAGES

EuropeanInstituteforParticipat...
Arduino
iDROPSvzw

CUBITScarl

Fing

IRI

MDDA

Esade

Alfamicro

Lynx

Wikinetix

ForumViriumHelsinki
Dotopen

UniversityofLeuphana

CityofAmsterdam
ManchesterDigitalDevelopmentAg...

UniversityofTokyo

Qoin

NewEconomicsFoundation

ZZZINC

CCCBLab

Nesta

OpenKnowledgeFinland-OKFFI
AssociationofFinnisheLearningC...
Sometu

OtavanOpisto

OpenMinistry
Dyne.org

NominetTrust

Mozilla

Microgenius
Attendal-CreativeBusinessInnov...

IMMI(InternationalModernMediaI...
BethnalGreenVentures
AttendalOpenKnowledgeFoundation
BarcelonaMedia

56

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

3.3 WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS FOR SCALING DSI?
Successful actors in DSI have managed
to leverage large networks using the
Internet in order to accomplish innovation at scale by the network effect. We
can define scale in terms of ‘scale-free’,
namely that the distribution of DSI should
undergo the phase shift typical of complex
systems from a disconnected network to
the ‘scale free’ network is often seen in
organically developing eco-systems and
is thought to be a sign of efficiency and
resilience (Boisot and McKelvey, 2011).
Encouragingly, we are seeing what appears to be an emerging power-law, the
key sign of a ‘scale-free’ network, in digital
social innovation in the data in Figure 4,
at least for organisations with more than
3 connections. When tested rigorously, a

power-law was indeed a strongly better fit
(p < 0.01) than an alternative distribution
such as the exponential distribution that
has only a few big winners such as the
United States (Clauset et al., 2009).
The reason digital social innovation has
not yet scaled is because the ‘long tail’
of smaller European DSI Networks is still
heavily disconnected, with 687 organisations out of 930 (74 per cent) that have
no links to other organisations. Many of
these organisations are also in countries
without much support, such as those in
Eastern Europe. Looking at the data, if
we want a single scaling European DSI
network, an additional magnitude more of
links (approximately 350 links) is needed

to gather all the disconnected organisations to a single European network and
encourage new communities where there
are currently none. This is probably too
many connections to be made via traditional European projects, but via a recommendation system a future version of the
Digital Social Innovation website could
introduce innovators to both other local
innovators and innovators sharing similar
interests across Europe to ‘bootstrap’ these
connections. By connecting the currently
isolated innovators, we should be able to
achieve the necessary phase shift so that
the scaling power of the heavily interconnected innovators is replicated across
Europe by currently isolated innovators
and communities.

Comparing the power law distribution (dark grey) to exponential distribution (light grey against the real actual network
data (turquoise).

10

0

10

-1

10

-2

10

-3

10

-4

10

-5

10

-6

10

-0

10

-1

10

-2

REINVENTING
INNOVATION POLICY

4.1
Innovation Policy at a European level




4.2
Open and participatory policy making
4.3
Growing and scaling Digital Social Innovation
4.4
The beta “bottom-up” policy workshop toolkit

58

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

4.1 INNOVATION POLICY AT A EUROPEAN LEVEL

The Digital Agenda for Europe
Innovation Union 21, and Horizon
202022 present an integrated approach
to help the EU economy become more
competitive, based on sustainable and
inclusive growth fuelled by energy and
resource efficiency. GDP slw-down since
mid-2011, environmental disasters, climate
change, an ageing population and growing unemployment will require innovative
solutions that challenge traditional ways
of doing things.
20,

To provide a synthetic overview, we categorise two broad approaches for the EC
programmes and initiatives to foster ICTdriven innovation.
In the context of the future of DSI in
Europe we suggest that an integrative
approach is needed. This means that a
combination of some to- down actions
and botto- up approaches could result
in successful digital social innovation
policy.

Grassroots Innovation in Europe: adapted from Sestini, F

Top-down and systemic approaches
The most relevant initiatives are the
European Innovation Partnerships,
Smart Cities, the Future Internet PublicPrivate Partnership Programme (FI-PPP),
and the European Cloud Computing
Strategy. Their main goals are to promote
and standardise pan-European technology
platforms, as well as the integration of the
relevant policy, legal, political and regulatory frameworks. As outlined in the Digital
Agenda for Europe, these are prerequisites
for the creation of a European online
Digital Single Market (DSM).
The development of the Future Internet
is mainly addressed through a number of
technical projects, such as the FI PPP23
and the 5G PPP24. There are also a number of projects in the areas of eInclusion,
eHealth, participatory planning, and
eGovernment.
A EU Big Data strategy is becoming a priority for the competitiveness of European
industries. In this framework the EC is
promising to launch a multi-million euro
Public Private Partnership on big data
with industry. The focus is business driven,
with little attention to societal challenges
or to the inclusion of civil society and
bottom-up approaches. However, the call
for the creation of an open data incubator within Horizon 2020 aims to help SMEs
set up supply chains, and to get access to
cloud computing and legal advice. Further
support, investment advice and funding
oppertunities for SMEs and young companies are also available through the Startup
Europe programme.
Other activities are happening in the
Internet of Things (IoT) focus area, where
the IERC- Internet of Things European
Research Cluster25 coordinates a variety
of IoT R&I projects.

ation
nov
In
al)
t
gi

(D
i

Innovation and innovation policy are not
new to the European Union. Delivering
on the Europe 2020 objectives of smart
and inclusive growth depends on research
and innovation as key drivers of social
and economic development and environmental sustainability. The European
Commission has announced an ambitious
Digital Single Market Package that will
create the conditions for a vibrant digital
economy and society by complementing
the telecommunications regulatory environment, modernising copyright rules,
simplifying rules for consumers making
online and digital purchases, enhancing cybe -security and mainstreaming
digitalisation.

Big data and
cloud compu

Venture Capital

COMPETITION,
ECONOMIC ENTERESTS

59

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CENTRALISED,
TOP-DOWN

d
uting

Bottom up and grassroots approaches
A counterpoint to the top-down strategy is
the bottom-up, human-centred approach
that is characterised by emergent forms of
community intelligence. Relevant bottomup initiatives are the Collective Awareness
Platform for Sustainability and Social
Innovation (CAPS), Web entrepreneurs,
young entrepreneurs in the field of active
and healthy ageing, digital champions, innovation camps and so on.

FI-PPP

Commercial social
networks/markets
(FB, Apple, Android, ...)
Smart Cities
COLLABORATION,
SOCIAL VALUES

Social web
entrepreneurs

Collective awareness
platforms
(collective intelligence)

Federated
Social Networks
(Diaspora, ...)

GRASSROOTS,
DISTRIBUTED

Crowdsourcing

l) S
(Digita ocial Inno
v
ati
on

Startup
Europe

Internet of
things

In particular CAPS facilitates SI processes
and democratic decision-making through
distributed platforms that foster collective intelligence and leverage the potential
for crowdsourcing, citizen science, open
democracy, and the collaborative economy.
These platforms based on open technology can gather and integrate information
in order to allow participation and citizens’
feedback, as well as integrating peer
information and sensor data to improve
collective wellbeing.
Furthermore, there are initiatives in the area
of open access, such as Global System
Science, providing scientific evidence to
support civil society to collectively engage
in societal actions and policy-making. Another relevant initiative is Digital Science,
which has synergies with Art & ICT, and
promotes a conscious dialogue between
technology, the Arts and societal issues to
expand our understanding of technology in
today’s societies.
Finally, new initiatives launched in Horizon
2020 on Human-centric Digital Age and
Responsible Research and Innovation,
aim to promote societal engagement,
gender equality in research and innovation
content, open access, science education
and ethics across all research initiatives.

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4.2 OPEN AND PARTICIPATORY POLICY MAKING
Innovation should no longer be the result
of top-down push technology strategies
but of a more holistic and horizontal way
of working. A shift from closed innovation inside the boundaries of institutions
to open and participatory innovation
is required.
Open means that innovation does not
only belong to the industry sector but
should also include other and different actors such as developers, entrepreneurs, social activist, and governments at different
levels. Open public policy represents an
iterative problem solving process in which
inflows of knowledge from external actors
as well as participatory decision-making
processes equip policymakers with a
generative capacity for developing novel
policy solutions.
Participatory means that the policy environment contrasts with more traditional
innovation policy frameworks, where
there is a strong focus on the market perspective and competitiveness. Though
digital networks can give rise to new
forms of collective intelligence and can
increase democratic participation into
policy debates, the actual influence they
exert on policy decisions remains unclear.
The reality of policymaking can often be
laborious, lengthy and involve lots of compromises along the way. But participatory
policymaking should begin with engagement with those who are likely to be affected by the end policies.
Thus, in formulating new policies ideas
for Digital Social Innovation, we adopted
a participatory methodology trialled by
Digital Futures, a DG Connect new approach to poliy making supported by the
Futurium online platform26.
Digital Futures is not about predicting the
future or about pre-empting future policy
decisions. It is a participatory visioning
project aimied to co-develop long term
visions (futures) and policy ideas to go
beyond the Digital Agenda and Europe
2020, looking at three main pillars of the
framework: visions (forecasting and back
casting,; policies (actions and pillar); and
agents (stakeholders in a broad sense,
including implementers and decision
makers).

The Futurium platform is based on the
metaphor of emergent collective intelligence, and combines the informal nature of social networks with a methodological approach of foresights to engage
stakeholders in the poliy making process.
Besides the standard tools available in
most social networks, Futurium participatory tools offer several features to support collective foresight, such as scenario
building, collective debate and voting for
policies.
Following the methodology elaborated
by Digital Futures, a participatory policy
workshop was held in Brussels at DG
Connect on February 3rd 2014 (seebBeta
bottom-up policy workshoptToolkit was
used for the methodoloed). This experimental approach encouraged poliy-makers to go beyond the standard approach
of deploying consultation documents towards a more user-centred approach to
poliy-making that is participative in the
generation of potential ideas. The workshop brought together over 70 DSI practitioners, researchers, experts, and poliy
makers from different European countries, as it was very important for the DSI
research project to facilitate this kind of
experimentation.
As the main outcome of the workshop,
9 DSI policy areas were identified and
over 30 DSI policy ideas emerged. Ideas
were clustered together according to common themes, and the Table below shows
the breadth of thinking. These areas of
policy were further worked on during the
day, with European Commission officials
providing their responses to the ideas that
emerged.
In the spirit of Digital Social Innovation
after the workshop the debate continued
online using the  Your Priorities platform27 to debate the ideas and to prioritise the ones that could be implemented
at EU level. The key element of the platform is a simple but powerful collective
debate system. Each point can only be 500
characters and people can mark points as
helpful or not helpful resulting in a list of
the best points for and against. Both sides
of the argument are equally represented
in the user interface and this is highly effective in facilitating consensus and in the
inclusion of minority arguments.

DSI policy ideas generation: Crowdsourced Idea

COPYRIGHTS
AND OPEN ACCESS

1. Open Standards for social,
identity and payment data
Many US companies have
patents on identity, social
and payment data. There is a
need to require the European
Public Sector and EC funded
projects to not fall into this trap
and provide open data sets,
in particular on social identity
and payment. Public data sets
will remove barriers for social
innovators who often rely too
much on proprietary data.

DIGITAL
HUMAN RIGHTS

2. EU public Digital ID with
citizen control
Create a European standardised
public digital ID for all citizens
with guidelines and rules to
ensure privacy, rights, and
fundamental freedoms in the
digital environment. Big Data
and cloud companies but also
States have a lot of control over
an individual’s online identity.
By creating a standardised
public Europe-wide digital ID
would ensure individuals greater
autonomy and control over their
online identity.

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a

FUNDING MODELS
AND INSTRUMENTS

SECTOR SPECIFIC
REGULATION /DEREGULATION

ENABLING
INFRASTRUCTURES

3. Time unding and
crowdsourcing

6. Net Neutrality and banning
software patents

People can use their time as
asset and use mutual credit
systems and alternative money
in order to help projects go life.
Time, trust and reputation are
currencies that can be easily
created and shared to maximise
collective value within a social
credit system.

Banning software patents and
defending Network Neutrality
will keep bottom-up innovation
feasible and affordable.
Software packages that are
patented can be expensive,
and less accessible to potential
individual innovators. Also the
Internet needs to continue to be
a neutral space where creativity
can continue to flourish.

9. Funding a Public-PrivatePeople Partnership (PPPP) on
distributed architectures

Streamline use of funds within
a Europeans strategy to help
scaling DSI/CAPS initiatives and
provide a holistic framework to
support them.

CITIZENS ENGAGEMENT
AND FEEDBACK

Promote gender equality and
empowerment of women
through ICT in DSI by tackling
things such as criteria for
funding, visibility ect. DSI
disproportionately male
dominated. Less diversity
can hinder innovation, and
women bring new perspectives
while improving access to
information, education and
work opportunities for women.

ECOSYSTEMS AND
INNOVATION LABS

4. Align EU R&I funding with
EU Regional Funds to support
the EU Strategy for DSI /
CAPS

The EU should promote to
create an open decentralised
digital ecosystem including
open data distributed
repositories, distributed
cloud, distributed search,
decentralised social networking,
public identity management,
and encrypted email service.
The Internet ecosystem today
is highly centralised The current
Internet is dominated by a
handful of mainly US companies
that control all the layers of the
ecosystem (app store, cloud,
machine learning, devices), and
are imposing their rules of the
game. Europe needs to invest in
future infrastructures that reflect
the European values, support
SMEs and civic innovators and
deliver public good. Distributed,
privacy-aware enabling
infrastructures can also
re-establish trust.

IMPACT AND
MEASUREMENT

7. Gender Equality in DSI

20
2

3

4

5

6

A EU Innovation Lab network
can to support, facilitate and
scale more DSI projects. It can
combat the lack of legitimacy
and coordination of DSI
initiatives within the EU by
creating a space fostered by the
EU Commission to support and
promote DSI.

19

Distributes and federated social
networks based on open source
code and open standards to
promote open democracy,
collective debate, deliberation
and voting. I would call it Yups.
com: Yups for the positive votes
and Oops for the negative ones.

8. Establish a European
Innovation Lab Network

18

7

5. Democratic and distributed
social network

10. Implement social value
and social impact standards
for policy evaluation
Implementing a common
evidence framework based on
social impact could change the
way technology policy happens
and it could pressure the EU to
adopt beyond GDP measures.

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4.3 SEVEN STAGES OF INNOVATION
As already established, Digital Social
Innovation takes place in the context of a
more collaborative, horizontal and cooperative environment. Although every real
innovation is a complex story of loops and
jumps, there are various stages that most
innovations pass through. 
We use the ‘Social Innovation Spiral’,
first developed by The Young Foundation
in The Open Book of Social Innovation
(2010), and then developed further by
Nesta, as a methodology to guide the
policy analysis and to identity the policy
tools and instruments needed in the different innovation stages. The framework

The seven stages are:

outlines seven stages of innovation that
are not always sequential (some innovations jump straight into practice or even
scale) and there are feedback loops between them. They can also be thought of
as overlapping spaces, with distinct cultures and skills. The stages provide a useful framework for thinking about the different kinds of policy, tools, and support
that DSI innovators need in order to scale
and sustain. It is then possible to map the
policy tools described in the next chapter
to the different innovation stages, enabling
DSI to grow and scale.

Opportunities and challenges:
These include all the initiating factors –
for instance a crisis, new evidence, and
inspiration.–, which highlight the need for
change. This might involve diagnosing the
root causes of a problem, or identifying
the opportunities that a new change could
bring about. 
Generating ideas:
Most of the ideas you come up with at
first won’t work. But it’s only through the
process of constant idea creation that you
arrive at something that is radical and
transformative. Use creative methods like

The seven stages of innovation

2

Generating
Ideas

1
3

Opportunities
and challenges

Growing and
scaling

Developing
and testing

Making the case

4

Changing
systems

Delivering and
implementing

5

6

7

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

design to increase the number of solution
options from a wide range of sources.
Developing and testing:
New ideas are always helped by robust
criticism. It is through trial and error that
ideas are iterated and strengthened. This
can be done by simply trying things out,
or through more rigorous prototyping and
randomised controlled trials.
Making the case:
Before you try to implement your idea,
you need to prove that it can work and
is better than what is already there. Build
up firm evidence to back it up and then
share it honestly.

Delivering and implementing:
This is when the solution becomes everyday practice. It includes identifying what
is working wel, and what isnot, as well as
securing income streams that enable the
lon- term financial sustainability to carry
the innovation forward.

Changing systems: 
Systemic innovation is where maximum
social impact can be created. It usually
involves changes in the public and private sector over long periods of time, and
the interaction of many elements and new
ways of thinking.

Growing and scaling:
In this stage there are a range of strategies
for growing and spreading an innovation
- from organisational growth, to licensing
and franchising. Emulation and inspiration
also play a critical role in spreading an
idea or practice in a more organic and
adaptive manner.

Policy Goals

2

Making it easier to
create new digital
SI (eg regulatory,
funding &c)

Enabling some of the
radical, disruptive
innovations emerging
from digital SI – new
approaches to money,
consumption,
education, healtht

1
Making it easier to
grow and spread
digital SI (eg public
procurement, support
for evidence
generation, common
standards)

3

6
4

Increasing the
potential value of
digital SI (eg
making available
open data, ubiquitous broadband)

5

7

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

4.4 THE BETA “BOTTOM-UP” POLICY WORKSHOP TOOLKIT:
As outcome of the DSI policy work shop,
we have designed a Bottom-up Policy
Toolkit for practicioners and policy makers to run participatory policy experiments
that can produce innovative policy ideas
and solutions:
Step 1: Get a wide range of people in
the room.
The workshop should include practitioners, industry representation, academics
and policymakers.
Step 2: Start with live case studies
from practitioners
- people who run services and who know
what the problems/challenges/ opportunities are. Make sure they represent a
sample of the type of practice you are
developing policy for and that they focus
their presentations on what is important
for people in the room. As an example,
we asked each of our case studies to each
prepare a five minute presentation covering the following:
Project background, including key facts
(such as when they were founded, turnover, number of users, size of organisation,
employees etc)
What they were trying to achieve with their
service, including any evidence they have
of impact
Opportunities and challenges
What really helped them get their project
of the ground and helped them to scale up
their work
What the biggest barriers were that they
faced and how to address them (through
policy? Funding?)

Step 3: Frame the development
process.
Highlight that there are a range of different policy tools to draw on (Laws, regulation, money, standards, skills) and give
some sector-specific examples of policies
that created a favourable impact. Point out
that they don’t all have to be big ideas or
need to be expensive to implement, and
acknowledge the often serendipitous innovation that emerges. (e.g. DARPA led to
the creation of the internet, the R&D funding at CERN led to the invention of the
Web) Encourage people to think about:
Who could implement it (European
Commission, national governments, municipal etc.)?
Who will benefit? What are the barriers?
Who are the enemies of the idea?

It is important that you leave at least half
of the time for participants to ask questions
from the presenters.

This should take approximately 45- 60
minutes. Appoint a facilitator to keep the
conversation focused and a rapporteur to
report back at the end. We reckon 5 is the
minimum number of people needed. More
than 12 and you’ll struggle to let everyone
have their say.
Step 7: Plenary. Ask people to report
back to the re-convened workshop.
Prime some attendees to give a response
to the ideas presented. We asked actual
policymakers to give their responses to
ideas and we also asked the presenters to
give their feedback. Finally, test out with
the people who presented case studies in
the morning to check the ideas are useful.

Does it need money?
What work needs to be done to flesh it out?

Step 8: Summarise the day and issue
a call to action.

You may also want to promote the importance of evidence-based policy-making
as a continual process of understanding
what works (and what doesn’t). Finally,
it’s important to acknowledge that policy
may not be able to solve some problems.
For example, often huge amounts of value
can be created by industry bodies working
to develop better standards or terms of
trade that don’t need governments to get
involved at all.

Encourage people to take their ideas forward. We’re using Your Priorities as a platform to promote the ideas to others. You
might want people to pledge some action.
We asked attendees to write their pledge
for how they’ll develop their thinking on
digital social innovation and told them
we’ll email their pledge back to them after six months (this keeps people on their
toes and allows us to re-engage with them
after that time).

Step 4: Identify the problems/
opportunities.

Step 9: End on a high.

We asked everyone in the room to individually complete this template to quickly
generate ideas:
Step5: Cluster the ideas together.

If they could make three changes to EU national or local policy and funding mechanisms to better support projects like theirs,
what would they be?

Step 6: Get people into smaller
groups to discuss the clustered ideas
and further develop the best one or
two.

For a room full of 50+ people, this needs
about an hour in length. We recommend
that the workshop facilitator does this
over a lunch break. With a diverse group
of people in the room, you are naturally
going to get a very diverse mix of ideas.
Cluster them by the main problems they
are trying to address. If you get more ideas
than you have working groups, you can
ask participants to ‘dot vote’ on ideas and
choose the most popular themes for the
working groups.

Thank everyone of course. All through the
process, re- member the golden rule of.
running workshops – find engaging presenters with useful information for their
audience, lots of participation, encourage
networking, focus on action and good
coffee.





POLICY TOOLS AND ACTION

5.1
Economic instruments
5.2
Regulation and Legal frameworks
5.3
Research and Innovation support
5.4
Dissemination & learning
5.5
Evaluation

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

In order to implement future DSI policy
goals and strategies, several tools and instruments have to be deployed.
It is important to state that most policy

influencing  DSI  will be at national,
regional and local level.Iit will also
be sector specific – i.e around health,
money, and education. However, the
European Commission has also very

relevant competences, and some regulatory and policy issues are cross-sectoral
and should be harmonised and coordinated at EU level

Policy Tools

ECONOMIC INSTRUMENTS

REGULATION

LEGAL FRAMEWORKS

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION SUPPORT
DISSEMINATION & LEARNING
EVALUATION

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

There is a common sentiment that a strong
public intervention at EU level is needed to properly support, coordinate, and
harmonise these areas whih, have so far
been left to isolated developers, activists

and hackers. Recognising DSI’s strong
social value, besides its strategic contribution to repositioning Europe worldwide,
and promoting a coordinated approach
to its development, would allow a whole

new generation of digital social innovation to start in Europe.

Public/direct funding
Government contracts and procurement
Support to entrepreneurs, start-ups and social innovators
Taxes
Crowdfunding & Challenge Prizes
Open access
Open standards
Interoperability
Open licensing
Open platforms
Open data
Privacy-aware technologies and encryption
Federated identity management
Data control and data ownership
The EU data protection reform package
Directive on the reuse of public sector information
Copyright reform
Net Neutrality
Magna Carta for the Internet
Enabling open infrastructures
Innovation Labs
Incubators & accelerators
Knowledge sharing & networking
Training
Standards of evidence framework
Impact assessment tools for aocial innovation

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

5.1 ECONOMIC INSTRUMENTS
Economic instruments include public
funding (direct funding for projects, subsidies etc.), as well as public incentives
such as tax treatment of activities. Seed
funding and crowdfunding are also two
important instruments.
Although previous analysis and policy actions28 focus on the role of VC or business
angels, what we have observed is that in
the very early stage of a sector’s development, it has been mainly public funds that
have prompted innovation.

PUBLIC/DIRECT
FUNDING

The US Federal Government spends 2.6 per
cent of a much larger per capita GDP on
research compared to only 1.3 per cent on
average in the EU. Early-stage funding for innovation is also more heavily supported by
government investment and subsidies in the
USA than the EU. Approximately eight times
as much public as private business investment goes into early stage technology development in the USA. In the EU investment in
research and technological development is
more market-based – and demonstrably less
effective (FINNOV European Policy Brief).

Another additional public intervention
is the establishment of public incentives regarding tax treatment of activities.
According to OECD, there are four main
tax incentives directly linked to research
and development: volume-based R&D tax
credits; incremental R&D tax credits; hybrid volume and incremental credit; and
finally R&D tax allowance.

Many governments have now created funds open to bidding for innovative projects in
society, sometimes emphasising new ideas, sometimes emphasising formal experiments
(like France’s Fonds d’Expérimentation pour la Jeunesse) and sometimes emphasising
scaling. Good examples are the R&D EC programmes, SBRI funds in the US, SITRA in
Finland, and Vinnova in Sweden, or the UK’s Big Society Capital fund and India’s Inclusive
Investment Fund. They combine investments in new hardware and software with experiments to discover better ways of delivering healthcare or reducing carbon emissions.

Public funds and actions for social innovation
President Obama set up an office for social innovation in the White House, with a fund for supporting NGOs. In Seoul,
the Mayor has designed programmes for the sharing economy and citizen engagement. Colombia set up a centre
for social innovation within its government, focused on action to alleviate extreme poverty, while Alberta in Canada committed to a $1 billion social innovation endowment.

Participatory budgeting
As a way to enhance citizen participation in the way public finance operates there are important Partcipatory Budgeting
initiatives being experimented with by local City Councils. For instance In Paris between now and 2020, residents will decide how €426 million is spent, which corresponds to five per cent of Paris’ municipal budget. Participatory budgeting has
been successfully employed also in other European countries such as Estonia and Iceland29, as well as around the world – for
instance in more than 100 Brazilian cities30 and in New York City31 .

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

GOVERNMENT
CONTRACTS AND
PROCUREMENT

69

Government contracts and procurement should include new actors and new formats
to enable government products and services to be open sourced. This means introducing elements of open innovation into the procurement process, involving purchasing
departments in the sourcing process in order to ensure that technology (i.e. free and
open source software) can be obtained at a lower cost with a better quality from reliable
suppliers, and that open standards and interoperability are implemented. In effect, open
source software should be easy to acquire from government at all levels.

Open source procurement
As an example, in 2004, the UK government launched (and reviewed in 2009 and 2010) its policy on ICT32 where special attention was paid to open source procurement. In this respect, a toolkit was used to ensure that there is a level playing field
for open source and that some of the myths associated with open source are dispelled. Participating in open procurement
calls should be made easy.
Commissioning tools could also be set up to see if the deployment of the DSI strategy
across Europe is meeting the needs of their target beneficiaries (entrepreneurs, business, developers, citizens and other communities). A priority rank of outcomes could be
established to see if the delivered products and services by the EU are achieving their
goals and if providers are able to deliver their outcomes.

Public procurement of innovative solutions
In January 2014, the European Parliament adopted new public procurement directives and these are some examples of
the main changes33: increased flexibility and simplification on the procedures to follow, negotiations and time limits; clearer
conditions on how to establish collaborative or joint procurement; and the creation of innovation partnerships. A review of
procedures in public procurement is needed in order to include actors from grassroots communities.

SUPPORT TO SOCIAL
ENTREPRENEURS &
START-UPS

Supporting programmes for grassroots communities of innovators (such as CAPS) and
start-ups should be considered in the future DSI policy. There are many supporting programmes around the world. Good working instruments can be PPPs (public-private
partnerships) or European innovation partnerships for DSI, as well as using the
SME instrument in order to help small and medium-sized enterprises. DSI should also
create new specific instruments for social entrepreneurship.

Development and entrepreneurship programmes
In public institutions there are examples such as the New York City Economic Development Agency and in particular its
entrepreneur programme34. Very similar to this, is the example of Barcelona Activa, which is the local agency for employment and economic growth for the area of Barcelona35.

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Some other examples come from private organisations. One of the most well-known
is the Google-supported programme Google for Entrepreneurs36 that in 2011 created a
campus where innovation and start-ups can meet and share a creative space. Currently
there are campuses and partnerships across 125 countries.

Impact HUB
The Impact Hub of Vienna37 is a network of several cities across the world which, according to their websites, “inspire, connect and enable individuals and institutions around the world to sustainably impact society”. Results from 2012, shows that
more than 400 ventures were started among its members.

TAXES

One of the most obvious measures is to crackdown on tax abuses by technology
companies. Big non-EU technology companies directly benefitted from taxpayer-funded
technologies to develop their market innovations, but they have strategically underfunded the tax purse that helped lead to their success. If the big network companies do
not pay their taxes it disadvantages European SMEs and social organisations.
The European Commission has committed to deliver an Action Plan on efforts to
combat tax evasion and tax fraud in 2015. This would include measures at EU level
in order to move to a system in which the country where profits are generated is also
the country of taxation. This would include automatic exchange of information on tax
rulings and the stabilising of corporate tax bases.

Tax incentives for R&D and innovation
In terms of SMEs and DSI initiatives, there are existing tax breaks linked to traditional R&D policies. The OECD is a good
source on the different types of tax breaks that are most often used across Europe38. Any specific incentives to support innovation should apply not only to digital firms but also to non-digitial firms.

CROWDFUNDING,
SEED FUNDING &
CHALLENGE PRIZES

Crowdfunding should be included in thinking about the future of DSI. The European
Commission should start promoting more crowdfunding tools, involving the community
in choosing the best projects to be funded, as part of their R&D programmes.
Crowdfunding allows people to have the opportunity to support what they consider
to be an attractive idea and to help someone else’s dream to become a reality, while
simultaneously getting benefits from the new product, eciprocity being one element
of crowdfunding.

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

71

A report published by Nesta and University of Cambridge in November 2014 forecasts
the growth of alternative finance (including peer-to-peer business lending, peer-topeer consumer lending, equity crowdfunding, community shares, pension-led funding
and invoice trading). In 2012, more than $2.7 billion was raised through crowdfunding
worldwide – helping to fund more than one million new projects.
The main crowdfunding platforms are Kickstarter and Goteo but there are also plenty of other platforms that are gathered in the directory of crowdfunding platforms
CrowdingIn39, operated by Nesta (in the UK).

Crowdfunding platforms
In Spain, the first platform to be launched in 2010 was Lánzanos�. Verkami, which in esperanto means “creation lovers”.
Here, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, cultural promoters and creators can present their project and be funded within the
period of 40 days with the help and involvement of the public.

Crowdfunder.co.uk in the UK has raised £2.4 million of funding for projects since it launched. The platform specialises in

supporting community enterprises, creative startups and charities. Another example is Spacehive, which focuses on public
space and community projects in the UK.

The platform Citizinvestor is an American portal where public projects – such as new
bins in the city, or high bike racks, or playground installations – are funded by citizens
themselves.
Seed funding is a very early-stage investment, meant to support the business until it can
generate cash of its own, or until it is ready for further investments. Seed money options
include friends and family funding, angel funding and crowdfunding. Seed funding is
mainly aimed at start-ups and ventures.
There are other elements such as prizes, competitions, events, knowledge sharing
and dissemination that should also be included in the mechanisms for DSI policy.
The Nesta Centre for Challenge Prizes has run prizes in everything from energy to
waste, data to education. In 2014 Nesta revived the 300 year old Longitude Prize and

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

involved the public in choosing which of six big global challenges deserved to be the
focus for a new £10 million prize fund41

Challenges&Prizes
The Open Data Challenge Series42 is a collaboration between Nesta and the Open Data Institute and has been very successful, attracting developers and social entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions to social challenges using open data.
The European Social Innovation Challenge44 was launched by the European Commission in 2013 in memory of Diogo
Vasconcelos, to encourage new social innovations from all over Europe. The competition invited Europeans to come up with
new solutions to reduce unemployment and minimise its corrosive effects on the economy and society. The three winning
projects were awarded financial support of €30,000

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

73

5.2 REGULATION AND LEGAL FRAMEWORKS
The second package of tools encompasses different aspects of regulation that
need to be reviewed or adapted in order
to provide an environment conducive to
openness and collaboration, while preserving citizens’ rights and data protection. One of the first steps of DSI policy
implementation should be to integrate
new legal approaches to open access, open standards and copyright
reforms. Future DSI policy could also
initiate a process where we are able to

OPEN ACCESS

OPEN STANDARDS

OPEN LICENSING

rethink notions of privacy, trust and collective value creation for the public good
in order to strengthen the public domain and the creation of knowledge
commons45.
An important general issue is to conceive transparency/open data and privacy/
data protection as complementary issues
and not as opposites. In fact, the right
to data protection and privacy, as given
in both legal frameworks (such as data

protection) and technologies (such as encryption) should apply to individual citizens. Conversely, institutions – and in particular public institutions and work done
with public money – should be open and
transparent.
There are more specific regulatory instruments that could be key in enabling the
growth of DSI across Europe:

Access to knowledge is a founding principle of any democratic society. Regarding open
access to scientific results the EC is promoting a comprehensive open access policy46,
so that results of publicly-funded research across the EU Framework Programme for
Research and Innovation can be disseminated more broadly, for the benefit of researchers, industry and citizens. Academic papers, usually funded by public money need to
become open access by default to increase scientific knowledge across Europe. Scientists
should be encouraged to openly publish not only papers but also datasets, so experiments can be replicable.
tThe Digital Agenda emphasises the need to adopt open standards and interoperable
solutions to fully exploit the development of existing and emerging technologies. Open
standards should be at the core of the technical infrastructure. Open standards should
have an adequate legal and governance backing, such as the Royalty-Free Patent
Agreement of the W3C47. Open standards are essential to deploy interoperability between data, devices, services and networks.
Standards will enable new business models for co-operation between multiple stakeholders such as companies, public authorities and citizens to develop meaningful technologies. Therefore, greater citizen involvement in standards should be supported (for
instance the W3C has proposed a Webizen programme: https://www.w3.org/wiki/
Webizen) and citizens should be able to initiate new standards, not just large companies
or states. Furthermore, citizen-based work on standards should be supported by public
funding and all public-funded software should use open standards. For a definition of
open standards, see OpenStand Principles48

Public sector information should be made available under an open knowledge license
or placed into the public domain, so that innovators can build data mashups on top of
a distributed data infrastructure (technological neutrality) without fear of unfair licensing issues.
Open standard licences, for example Creative Commons (CC) licences could allow
the re-use of PSI without the need to develop and update custom-made licences at
national or sub-national level. CC0 public domain dedication  is an effective legal
tool that allows the waiving copyright and database rights on PSI, it ensures full flexibility for re-users and reduces the complications associated with handling numerous
licences, with possibly conflicting provisions (Keller 2014). In the rare cases where the
CC0 public domain dedication cannot be used, public sector bodies are encouraged to
use open standard licences appropriate to a member state’s own national intellectual
property and contract law and that comply with the recommended licensing provisions.

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Example of Legal Framework: Copyright reform
In the area of copyright, the European Commission recently published its ‘Report on the responses to the Public
Consultation on the Review of the EU Copyright Rules‘. This report summarises the responses (over 11,000) that
the Commission received in response to the copyright consultation held between December 2013 and March 2014. The
results show conflicting positions between citizens and institutional users on one side and corporate rights holders on the
other. Copyright can only work when it is perceived as fair by all stakeholders, seeking the right balance between the interests
of creators (to control their work and to be able to make a living from their creativity) and the interests of society (access to
information and culture, freedom of expression) (Keller, 2014)49.

INTEROPERABILITY

50

OPEN PLATFORMS

Interoperability should be implemented so that devices and services produced and delivered by different companies can communicate with one another. The Internet is the
best example of the power of interoperability. Its open architecture has given billions of
people around the world access to information, the possibility to add (web) content and
services themselves, access to devices and modular applications that talk to one another.
Today mobile devices with always-on Internet connectivity are becoming widespread.
Users of the Internet ecosystem include the independent application and service providers who have the right to use the future Internet infrastructure (including both data in
a raw and processed form, as well as access to computing resources). Any privileged
access provided to the owner/managers of the infrastructure would alter free competition. All functionality must be exposed by way of open APIs51 that expose data using
open standards. User data and metadata should be represented in open formats such as
XML52 and RDF53 (which includes Linked Data54 and SPARQL end-points55). Opening up
access to an application’s source code exposes that code to a relatively large number
of developers, subjecting it to rigorous critical inquiry of a pool of reviewers larger than
the one proprietary developers have available to them internally.

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Example of Legal Framework: Net Neutrality
The preservation of Net Neutrality56 is a crucial to define and make public how network operators manage traffic volumes
and restrict applications usage. Network neutrality means that Internet service providers and governments should treat data
traffic equally. Net neutrality protects freedom of expression and freedom of information online, reasserts the principle of fair
competition and guarantees that users may freely choose between services online. The European Parliament adopted amendments to enshrine net neutrality in EU law at the beginning of April 2014. Currently the telecoms single market proposal has
being reviewed by the Council (Member States) of the EU.

OPEN DATA

People are not passive consumers of the data, but actively engaged in producing it. The
primary advantage of open data is that it prevents the concentration power by leveraging asymmetries of information and differentials of access. Open access to data would
enable developers to create applications and services built on freely acquired data, as
long as they respect provisions in the license. Private data should also have its privacy
dimension encoded using open standards and the correct licensing, as well as clear
requirements for how to access this data and determine its ownership, both by vendors
and end-users. This should include the right to remove data by its creators.

Example of Legal Framework: Directive on the reuse of public sector
When the European Commission published its directive on the reuse of public sector information (PSI) in 2003 many member states, including France, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain began to promote and implement open
data policies. The directive provided an EU-wide framework for governments, at all levels, to begin opening data. The European
Commission estimates the economic value of the PSI market at approximately €40 billion per annum. The 2013 revision of the
European Commission Directive on the re-use of public sector information will further enable the opening of public sector data
in a harmonised and more transparent way.
Although changes in the European legal framework in the field of transparency and open data have already been implemented
(i.e. the directive on the re-use of public sector information in 2013 or several directives on the transparency of markets
and trade) there is still a need to adapt to openness and innovation. Therefore, future DSI policy should consider creating a
committee or working group to go over the existing directives and propose and formulate suggestions for a new legal framework
for social innovation in the digital era.

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FEDERATED
IDENTITY
MANAGEMENT

User data is moving more and more into the ‘Cloud’ and people are getting their music,
videos and applications digitally. The aggregated data extracted from the analysis of our
identities (what companies define as “social graphs”) and behavioural patterns of the
user, is continuously mined and analysed with the main objective of maximising value
extraction (e.g. for marketing, economic competition and surveillance).
In this context, the infrastructure should preserve the right of data-portability57, and
prevent lock-in, therefore allowing for innovation in the wider economy based on the
Future Internet. Users must be able to come (no barriers to entry) and go (no barriers
to exit) regardless of who they are (no discrimination) and what systems they use. Thus,
the platform should also deploy not only open-standards but also standardised identity
management, fully respecting the users’ privacy and ownership of the data.

Federated Social Web
An important effort towards a federated identity system is the W3C Federated Social Web Working Group58 to develop
standards to make it easier to build and integrate social applications. These standards will give citizens greater control over
their own social data, allowing them to share their data selectively across various systems. The federated web standards will
also be implemented within the EC-funded D-CENT Project59 that is piloting federated social applications for participatory
democracy.

PRIVACY-AWARE
TECHNOLOGIES
AND ENCRYPTION

DATA CONTROL AND
DATA OWNERSHIP

“Do-not-track” technologies should be implemented in order to give users control
over their social data and sensitive information, to make it easier for businesses to
innovate on top of the infrastructure. There is a need for privacy-aware technologies
based on trust and ethics, that can be filled by developing technical solutions that
are privacy enhancing ‘by design’. Technically, encouraging the use of HTTPS60, the
use of virtual private networks61, adequate cryptographic public-key based infrastructure, strong authentication, as well as providing end-to-end encryption62 should all be
on the agenda. In particular, more support is needed for encryption and anonymity
technologies, such as attribute-based credentials built by ABC4TRUST63.
A broader investigation on the implications of the current personal data market and the
role of data brokers64 will be crucial for understanding the future of bottom-up digital
economies. New forms of data control and data collective ownership by citizens
should be encouraged. For instance, in the UK, the government backed Midata programme is encouraging companies to bring data back to public control, while the US
has introduced green, yellow and blue buttons to simplify the option of taking back
your data (in energy, education and the Veterans Administration respectively).

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Personal data stores
There are also new available solutions, such as Mydex , Qiy, Citizenme65 and many others that are part of an emerging
sector of Open Personal Data Stores66, Privacy Dashboards, and Trust frameworks to manage identity, that have emerged
out of a new vision of identity management and trust that is advocating for a new Deal on Data67 to balance the power between big companies, government and people over their personal information.

Example of Legal Framework: The EU data protection reform package
The Data protection reform is currently being discussed by Member States The aim is to to build a single and comprehensive
data protection framework to develop tools and initiatives to enhance citizen awareness, and to ensure that businesses
receive guidance on data anonymisation and pseudonymisation. This should prevent any unauthorised collection,
processing and tracking of personal information and profiling, including citizens’ preferences, medical and health records and
so on. Companies should be compelled to be transparent about how they collect users’ personal data, and the real value they
extract from trading personal information. Citizens should be able to claim their digital rights, including the right to control how
personal data is used, the right to avoid having information collected in one context and then used for an unrelated purpose,
the right to have information held securely, and the right to know who is accountable for the use or misuse of an individual’s
personal data. Firms might begin to reduce the length of period over which information is retained and adopt certification
schemes guaranteeing a high standard of privacy protection.

Example of Legal Framework: A Magna Carta for the Internet
Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the Web is advocating for a sort of Magna Carta for the Internet to estabilish basic rights
and freedoms, to keep the Internet open, without surveillance and censorship, and to halt power abuses from Governments
and corporations. The Magna Carta for the Internet goes along with recent UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on The
Right to Privacy in the Digital Age.68. A Magna Carta for all Web users could be directly crowd-sourced from the Web itself,
engaging effectively in multi-stakeholder processes.

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5.3 RESEARCH AND INNOVATION SUPPORT
INVESTMENT
ON ENABLING
INFRASTRUCTURES

One important objective is to provide infrastructural investments such as broadband deployments and pan-European digital services that underwrite robust, equal, society-wide
access to connectivity. However, while most resources are going to top-up deployments
from Telcos and systems integrators such as FIPP or 5G PPP, there is scope for more
experimental approach that invest on alternative infrastructures that are decentralised
and open in nature.

Distributed and open architectures
Distributed and open architectures are a key enabling factor for DSI to scale. If Europe wants to grow and scale an Innovation
ecosystem for the social good, to drive long-term sustainable innovation-led growth, it needs investment in alternative architectures that favour new players and allow for bottom-up innovation. This includes the need for distributed data repositories
and management systems, distributed secure Clouds, distributed search, and federated social networking.
It can also include the development of open source mobile phone alternatives such as FairPhone69 on top of which a whole
new open ecosystem of services and applications could flourish, based on open-source and open-hardware developments.

Community and bottom-up networking
Community and bottom-up networking is an emerging mode of the Future Internet, where communities of citizens can
build, operate and own open IP-based networks, as complementary solutions to commercial access networks from either
commercial telecom companies or by local public providers. As shown by the European project
Confine and BuB for
Europe (Bottom-up Broadband)70 these networks are rapidly expanding in terms of the numbers of nodes and people involved.

INNOVATION LABS

In the context of future DSI policy, innovation labs present an opportunity to activate
networks and to create collaborative work environments. In this context labs can be
understood as spaces and units set up run and funded directly by government and driven
by communities or public and private partnerships.

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Government labs
Nesta and Bloomberg Philanthropy in their study71 of government funded innovation
teams and labs highlight how four different types of government funded labs can help
drive innovation, through better support for, development and utilisation of amongst
others, digital social innovation.
Creating solutions to solve problems
The Mayor’s Office for New Urban Mechanics (MONUM), which was launched in
2010, at the start of Boston Mayor Menino’s fifth term, is a good example of this. It was
the result of the Mayor’s growing interest in accelerating the pace of innovation within
the city administration, and to enable busy City Hall staff members to run innovation
projects, often done in collaboration with external entrepreneurs and internal government policy experts.
Engaging citizens and non-profits to find new ideas
These labs focus on opening up government to voices and ideas from outside the system, often adapting the open innovation and challenge-led approach more commonly
seen in the private sector and making use of strong communications and engagement
strategies. One example of this is the Seoul Innovation Bureau, which is tasked with
turning Seoul in South Korea into an innovation-led Sharing City, by engaging citizens
in the radical redesign of public services.
Transforming the processes, skills and culture of government
PS21 based in Singapore is a good example of this. Initiated and driven by the Head
of the Singaporean Civil Service, PS21 has created systemic interventions such the Staff
Suggestion Scheme that creates an opportunity for any public officer to directly submit
ideas to improve public services. Once submitted, ideas for improvement are sent to a
Central Steering Committee, which is chaired by a Permanent Secretary, where they are
vetted and considered for implementation.
Achieving wider policy and systems change
Brining about transformation and looking beyond specific interventions to the wider
policy context and complex systems that need to change, for example in healthcare,
energy or education. The innovation foundation Sitra in Finland, which has has
taken on large systemic challenges to Finnish society, such as creating devolved health
care provision offers and growing the sustainable and renewable energy sector, is one
example of this.

Social and private labs
In addition to those set up and run by government to drive innovation in products
and services, citizen engagement and policy development, there are vast often highly
connected communities of private, academic and civic labs which proivde space and
support for social innovatiors to experiment with and develop digital social innovations.

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Maker spaces, Hackerspaces, and co-working spaces
Maker spaces (such as Fablabs), real-life testing and experimentation environments where users and producers can cocreate innovations (including Living Labs), Hackerspaces and hackathons (such as Chaos Communication Camp), and
co-working spaces are a few examples.
In addition to exploring the role of labs run by government, DSI policy should seek to create stronger relationships between
these communities and public policy, and promote their role in bringing users, developers, and entrepreneurs together to
create new digital products, new public services or learning programmes.

The creation of a European network that would encompass regional innovation
labs (both public and private), would bring coherence to the mission of innovation labs
and would expand their use.

INCUBATORS &
ACCELERATORS

Mechanisms that foster social entrepreneurship such as incubators, accelerators or
other intermediary platforms are necessary to provide resources in different phases
of the development of DSI. They represent a novel contribution to advancing social
entrepreneurship around the world, helping young companies, and particularly hightech start-ups to grow and thrive. The number of accelerator programmes has grown
rapidly in the US over the past years, and more recently, the trend is being replicated in
Europe. For instance, the Nesta report “Good incubation”72 charts the rise of social
venture incubation, with a focus on what can be learned by this sector from other programmes around the world. Investment for this kind of innovation support programmes
can come from public funds but could also be through public private partnerships or
crowdfunding.

TRANSITION project
A good example to foster a European networks of incubators is the European Commission funded TRANSITION project.
It is coordinated by the European Business & Innovation Centre Network (EBN), and is a 30-month project that supports the
scaling-up of social innovations across Europe by developing a network of incubators, which brings together established
partners within the fields of social innovation (SI) and innovation-based incubation (IBI).

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81

5.4 DISSEMINATION & LEARNING
KNOWLEDGE
SHARING &
NETWORKING

Firstly, tools for general dissemination should be included. In the context of
deploying the DSI strategy, the organisation of events is critical. This should include
general events where the new policy framework is explained, including its goals
and strategy. These should be targeted to European policy makers, state members in
charge of innovation in their countries, local governments and the DSI community
itself (labs, developers, entrepreneurs, start-ups networks, engaged citizens, etc.).
In addition, in order to engage the DSI community, but also to promote the rise of
creative and innovative ideas, competitions and challenges or jams would be very
helpful mechanisms to deploy.
Secondly, beyond general events, the DSI strategy requires a communication strategy. This should include the use of social networking platforms, independent media and
other news applications. For instance, the elaboration of a newsletter or creating a DSI
strategy blog would be a helpful instrument to spread the message from the European
Commission and to provide updated information about policy deployment.

DSI networking and crowdfunding platform
A DSI networking platform that crowdmaps initiatives, identifies partners and collaborators with the needed expertise, identifies funding opportunities, and promotes new economic instruments (such as challenges, and prizes) should be the promoted,
as the next stage in the evolution of http://digitalsocial.eu. The setting-up of the collaborative map for this project has shown
the state of the development of the field. This map should be maintained with some improvements and updates, possibly
linking crowdmapping to crowdfunding and other bottom-up incentives mechanisms such as Prizes and Challenges.
Thirdly, knowledge sharing is key. Best practices have to be collected and shared in
order to learn from them. Moreover, dissemination programmes related to DSI policy
should also develop tasks related to “evangelisation” of the benefits of DSI. One task
would be persuading Parliaments, assemblies, and municipalities to adopt open tools,
to be transparent, participative, and open to citizens.

TRAINING

Training will also be essential, especially in bridging the digital skills gap, but also
in empowering the DSI community.

Fabacademy
Specific training could be set-up but the DSI community itself, as is done today by Fablabs with the Fabacademy, by Hacklabs
and Makerspaces with free software and open hardware training, or by the Open Data Institute (ODI) and Open Knowledge
Foundation on open data, and by organisations such as Tactical tech or Open Rights Group on privacy and digital rights.

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5.5 EVALUATION
Just as it is the case with social innovation, digital social innovations need to demonstrate their
impact to make the case for spreading, scaling and attracting funding opportunities. As DSI evolves
policymakers need to understand the extent to which the policies they are putting in place to support DSI are effective.
Most reports about innovation refer to GDP and financial return as one of the main indicators used to measure impact. However, as described throughout this paper, DSI seek
to address a wider set of societal challenges, from environmental pollution to chronic
health conditions. Any approach to understanding and measuring the impact of DSI on
both a macro level as well on a project-based level needs to go beyond GDP to establish
what non-financial benefits DSI have or have not helped to achieve.

MEASURING AND
UNDERSTANDING
THE IMPACT OF
DIGITAL SOCIAL
INNOVATIONS

There is a growing body of knowledge on how to measure and understand the impact
of social innovation policy, which DSI frameworks should also build on. The EC report
Strengthening Social Innovation in Europe73 reviews a number of indicators for
measuring social and non-social innovation, including the European Public Sector
Innovation Scoreboard and the WARM Wellbeing and Assessment Model to assess
the social capital and wellbeing of local areas.

What is measured? Common standards of evidence and adoption
There is a need to harmonise sound metrics to assess the impact of DSI activities, including the role of ICT networks, number of people/communities involved and wider
societal criteria such as social satisfaction, wellbeing, ecological footprint and social
inclusion. A review of some of the existing methods and frameworks for measuring
and understanding the impact of social innovation, as well as digital social innovation
specifically, provides some guidance on how this can be done.

Beyond GDP initiative
The Beyond GDP initiative74 and the OECD Better Life Index75 can both be used as indicators for understanding the macro
level impact of policies, as well as the impact of individual DSI projects (i.e. what are the health outcomes, impacts on social
exclusion and civic engagement of the innovation).

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83

The Triple Helix of Social Tech
The Triple Helix of Social Tech: Nomine Trust framework for measuring the social, user and financial value generated
by digital social innovation organisations and their projects
The Triple Helix outlines how social tech ventures, and investors, should focus on three types of value – Social Value, User
Value and Financial Value – when developing and scaling their project(s)76

Social Value:

What is it

How it can be measured

The potential social change
the venture intends to create
i.e positive impact health,
resilience and sustainability
society. Social value is the
extent to which this is realised.





Finan-cial Value:

User value:



In order to realise any of
the potential social value, a
social tech venture needs to
demonstrate value to users,
i.e it is a product or service
that people want to pick up
and use because it meets their
individual needs.



There has to be a market for
the venture to be sustainable
and the venture has to be
active in it. The generation
of sustainable income is
understood as financial value,
which comes as the result of
realising user or social value.











Qualitative responses to the idea - interviews or meetings/consultation with
key stakeholders, such as domain experts and possible purchasers of the
service to establish what social challenges need to be addressed and how
the product or service could address them
Quantitative analysis of the idea, for example using surveys to test the idea
with key parties, or analysing existing data sets to understand the extent of
the social issue
Online responses to the proposed service from partners or potential
customers.

Qualitative interviews with key users of the product or service to test need
and demand for the approach including the specific user problems the
product or service would solve.
Observing potential users to see if the product works in their context
Quantitative responses to the idea, for example survey potential users to test
whether needs established within qualitative interviews apply to a larger user
group
Online responses to the proposed service from potential users, using
analytics software to test demand.

Establishing an agency or provider who has the responsibility or interest in
addressing the social need the product or service is attempting to address
Gathering financial indicators of the negative impacts of the established
social need the product or service is looking to address
Establishing that there is a market for this, for example, has the policy
context shifted to make this an area that is likely to be outsourced from
public services?
Establishing potential routes to market

How the impact is measured
As emphasised in the framework developed by Nominet Trust there are a number of
tools digital social innovations can apply to capture the impact of their work, from user
observations to market testing and capturing indicators of financial savings.

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Nesta Standards of Evidence framework
Looking specifically at different tools for measuring both financial and social impact, Nesta has developed the Standards of
Evidence framework. It proposes different types of evidence and tools based on the development stage and maturity of the
social innovation, beginning with the most basic evidence at level one to the most refined evidence at level five.
Level

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Expectation

How the evidence can be generated

You can give an account of impact. By this we
mean providing a logical reason, or set of reasons,
for why your products/service could have impact
on one of our outcomes, and why that would be
an improvement on the current situation.

You should be able to do this. yourself, and
draw upon existing data and research from other
sources.

You are gathering data that shows
some change amongst those using your product/
service

At this stage, data can begin to show effect but
it will not evidence direct causality. You could
consider such methods as: pre and post survey
evaluation; cohort/panel study, regular interval
surveying

You can demonstrate that your product/service
is causing the impact, by showing less impact
amongst those who don’t receive the product/
service.

We will consider robust methods using a control
group (or another well justified method) that begin
to isolate the impact of the product/ service.
Random selection of participants strengthens
your evidence at this level; you need to have a
sufficiently large sample at hand (scale is important
in this case).

You are able to explain why and how your
product/service is having the impact you have
observed and evidenced so far. An independent
evaluation validates the impact you

At this stage, we are looking for a robust
independent evaluation that investigates and
validates the nature of the impact. This might
include endorsement via commercial standards,
industry kitemarks etc. You will need documented
standardisation of delivery and you will need data
on costs of production and acceptable price point
for your customers.

observe/generate. The product/ service delivers
impact at a reasonable cost, suggesting that it
could be replicated and purchased in multiple
processes. locations.

Level 5

You can show that your product/ service could be
operated up by someone else, somewhere else
and scaled–up, whilst continuing to have

We expect to see use of methods like multiple
replication evaluations future scenario analysis;
fidelity evaluation.

positive and direct impact on the outcome and
remaining a financially viable proposition.
The standards are used by the DSI accelerator Bethnal Green Ventures77 and Nesta’s
Impact Investment team78, which invests between £150,000 and £1 million in organisations whose digital social innovations are designed to address key societal challenges.
Building on this, the standards can help social innovations or organisations working with
social innovations to structure their evaluation strategy to continue move up the levels
of evidence. The standards can also be adopted by government programmes, as was the
case with UK Cabinet Office Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund, which uses
the Standards of Evidence to assess social innovations that are considered for support.

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

IMPACT OF DIGITAL
SOCIAL INNOVATION
POLICY

85

Digital Social Innovation is a young field, and there are few examples of policies
specifically designed to support DSI – and even fewer specific tools and frameworks
for understanding the impact of these. However, there are some emerging examples of
frameworks that could guide in the development of assessment tools for DSI.
The work done by Wikiprogress is exploring new digital tools for including people,
in relation to what should be measured through the development of indicators, as well
as how to undertake measurement79.

Collective Awareness Platforms
In the context of Collective Awareness Platform Initiatives, IA4SI (impact assessment for social innovation) is a support action aiming at developing a common methodology able to evaluate the socio-political, economic and environmental
impacts of collective platforms. This ongoing project will provide three online tools for self-assessment, enabling projects to
understand and improve their impact.

In addition to the above, future indicators to measure impact of DSI policy could include
specific metrics, which focus on the key components of the digital element of
digital social innovation.

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

Webindex
The Global Open Data Index developed by the Open Knowledge Foundation80 and the Webindex developed by the World
Wide Web Foundation81 illustrate examples of how this could be captured and measured. Another metric to focus on could
be the number of Creative Commons licenses awarded within different fields, regions and countries, as measured by the
non-profit Creative Commons in their annual The State of the Commons report82.

LESSON FROM
EXISTING
INNOVATION POLICY
FRAMEWORKS

A number of additional lessons can be learned from existing frameworks for measuring
the impact of innovation policy. As described by the Manchester Institute of Innovation
Research in their work on the “Compendium of Evidence on Innovation Policy”83
measuring the impact of any innovation policy is very difficult. The main issue is developing an evaluation methodology, as the majority of evaluation approaches for R&D
policies often focus on econometric analysis of the additionality of input and/or output.

Innovation policy frameworks examples
There are number of insights from instruments such as the Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS) which was developed to provide a comparative assessment of the innovation performance of the EU Member States, the OECD Science, Technology and
Industry Outlook84 and OECD Innovation Policy Platform (IPP)85, a joint OECD and World Bank initiative, which looks at key
statistical sources for measuring input (such as firm level micro data, R&D statistics, labour force survey), which could evolve
to measure the impact of DSI policy, for example by looking at open licensing schemes and Creative Commons alongside IPR.

These indicators now include innovative entrepreneurship and innovation in firms,
universities and public research institutes, and could include DSI products and services
generated, as well as new types of actors such as Fab Labs and makerspaces.

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

RECOMMENDATION
FOR EVALUATION

Building on the above discussion, this table outlines the measures that a framework for
assessing DSI should includ

Guidelines for assessing the impact of Digital Social Innovation
Assessment must…

ü Go beyond GDP growth i.e Focus on both the social as well as the

financial value and outcomes generated by the digital social innovation

ü Go beyond focusing on additionality of input/output
ü Solve how to measure effectiveness in order to provide guide for policy
makers

ü Define what “impact” means:
o

Beyond increase of performance

o

Including not only short term but also long term dimension

ü Include multiple causality of factors
ü Take place according to stages: phased evaluation
ü Avoid isolated evaluation
ü Provide link between academic evaluation and evaluation reports (more
professional, consultancy based, etc.)

ü Explore DSI specific indicators such as Open Data access, digital skills

and proliferation of open source projects or creative commons licenses.

CONCLUSIONS AND
POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

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89

WHAT SHOULD POLICYMAKERS DO?
Broadly, there are four main ways policymakers and governments can support digital social innovation.

1. Invest in digital technologies for the social good: Make it easier to create new
digital SI through specific regulatory and funding measures
This focus could be on four key areas of opportunity in DSI.
a. Collaborative economy
b. Digital social innovation in cities and public services
c. Open tools and distributed architectures
d. Citizen engagement and direct democracy
In general, European funding has heavily invested in core European institutions in terms of digital innovation, in particular the
formerly nationalised telecommunications companies, as well as national research institutes and traditional universities. Building
on existing schemes, such as innovation partnerships and PPPs with bigger telecommunications corporations, new schemes
could be created to provide financial support for large-scale DSI experiments across Europe. This could involve making it easier
for cities, regions, health authorities and universities to pilot large-scale DSI experiments around collaborative economy, direct
democracy, distributed energy, civic health and bottom-up smart city solutions.
Many of the inventions that now form the basis of the digital economy and the emerging Internet of Things have their roots in
strong public investment that funded general-purpose technologies and basic research. However, non-institutional actors (hackers,
geeks, social innovators and activists) are key in this process since they are able to generate creativity, develop new experimental
methods and engage large-scale communities.
It is precisely these kinds of non-institutional actors that do not have sufficient support in Europe now and that can take huge
advantage of the building of a Europe-wide constituency, by interconnecting initiatives, sharing resources, removing barriers to
enter existing markets and building synergies.
Within the single digital social market it should be easier for digital social innovations such as collaborative economy and crowdfunding platforms to manage and distribute assets (financial as well as non-financial) between citizens in different EU countries.

2. Make it easier to grow and spread DSI through public procurement support for
evidence generation, common standards and integration with public services.
DSI has the opportunity to improve public services, cut costs and improve the environment. Easier procurement could be a route
to scale and higher impact – this requires attention to the details of how procurement is organised (e.g. to make it easier for
smaller organisations to win contracts), but also much more systematic orchestration of marketplaces bringing together providers
and potential buyers. As an example, the Fukushima prefecture in Japan hosts a map of the Safecast data on its website, and in
Reykjavik, Iceland, the city council takes on board and debates ideas from Your Priorities, a platform that hosts citizen ideas for
how to improve the city.
In particular government procurement methods should seek to support DSI through:
1. Focusing on the financial as well as the social impact (such as health outcomes and wellbeing, for example) when procuring services. Particularly for DSI this could include valuing the network effect and digital engagement of users provided by
procured services.

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

2. Make it easier for smaller DSI organisations or consortia of these to compete with telecommunications corporations to for
public contracts.

3. Support the scaling of DSI, through reuse and repurposing of existing solutions, by encouraging (and where possible making
it mandatory) that any publicly funded service or product is open sourced and/or licensed under Creative Commons.
4. Joint commissioning by public bodies of DSI.

3. Increase the potential value of DSI (e.g. making available distributed
architectures, common frameworks and open standards, as well as supporting
innovation spaces)
Overall, there is a need for a public, common framework for the design of DSI solutions and infrastructures underpinned by
open protocols, open standards, regulatory mechanisms and collective governance models based on democratic and participatory processes.
In order for bottom-up innovation to scale and deliver social value, public, open, neutral, privacy-aware and distributed architectures should be in place. Interoperable, customised and modular services and applications based on open source, open access
and open hardware can then be built on top of a public federated platform in a dynamic and flexible way, plugging into existing
and future Internet infrastructures.
At regulatory level, The Digital agenda emphasises the need to adopt open standards and interoperable solutions to
fully exploit the development of existing and emerging technologies. These open standards should not be optional; they should
become public policy guidelines at the core of the technical infrastructure.
Technical solutions do not work by themselves, therefore legal and commercial solutions have to be based in technology and integrated with the appropriate policy framework.
As digital technology becomes more pervasive, the issue of what public data is, and the question of who controls it, is
becoming more important. Thus data portability, federated identity management and trust frameworks should be
encouraged. Defining sensible governance modalities for the data infrastructure and the DSI ecosystem will require a large collaboration between public and private.
Ultimately, just as in science and technology, innovation in society needs carefully crafted investment and support. There is a
need to maximise the social value generated by digital technologies and to socialise returns in order to be able to invest
in the next waves of social innovations and achieve longer-term systemic change.
In addition to this cities and governments could further increase the potential for DSI by investing in some of the spaces and
developer communities from where DSI often emerges, such as makerspaces, Fab Labs and hackerspaces. Examples of cities already prioritising this are: the City of Shanghai, which has proposed to fund a hundred makerspaces throughout the city
with six opened to date, to enable the city’s capacity to make; and Barcelona, which is experimenting with becoming a Fab City,
working more strategically with makerspaces in the city to develop solutions to urban challenges.

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

91

4. Enable some of the radical and disruptive innovations emerging from DSI –
such as new approaches to money, consumption, democracy, education
and health.
As in other sectors, some of the innovations in this field have very radical implications – for instance, for the future of money or
education. Policymakers need to provide space for more radical ideas to be tested out in towns and cities across Europe, using
knowledge about how systemic innovation can best be organised. In some cases substantial investment will be needed to support
innovations through to sustainability – just as in business, where many of the most transformative innovations required many
years of patient, large-scale investment before they delivered returns.
Alternative socio-economic models based on trust and their reputations are emerging. Different DSI activities are piloting new
ways in which communities can be mobilised, managing access to shared (financial and non-financial) resources, collaborative
workspaces and even developing alternative exchanges and payment systems.
Even if it is impossible to foresee the precise impact and quantify the multiplier effect of the mapped DSI activities, there is a
need to harmonise sound metrics to assess the impact of DSI activities, including the role of ICT networks, number of people/
communities involved and ‘beyond GDP’ criteria such as social satisfaction, wellbeing, ecological footprint and social inclusion.

5. Expand the European Digital Social Innovation network and invest in the
development of skills and training
One of the biggest barriers to making the most of DSI, is the significant gap in the skills and capacity to experiment with and
develop new digital social innovations. In addition, citizens should fully participate in the innovation process, applying collaborative and multidisciplinary methodologies and other innovation tools to facilitate their involvement. Citizen engagement will
certainly maximise the societal impact of innovation and it would make sure that services deployed answer to concrete unmet
local needs and demand.
In countries where DSI is relatively advanced, such as the Netherlands and the UK, the majority of DSI is developed by new
organisations with fewer incumbents, such as established charities exploring this potential. In addition to this, our crowdmap of
DSI happening across the EU shows that while there is relative high activity in in West and Southern Europe, Eastern Europe in
particular is lagging behind. To address this, policymakers should:
1. Grow the www.digitalsocial.eu network to enable more opportunities for collaboration through the platform, such as the
opportunity for organisations to jointly develop new projects and apply for funding through innovative mechanisms such as
challenges, prizes and crowdfunding.
2. Increase early-stage seed funding programmes and other types of non-financial support that are vital in helping innovators
experiment with and develop DSI projects. The incubator programme run by the UK’s Open Data Institute and the DSI
accelerator programme run by Bethnal Green Ventures have demonstrated potential in how models developed to support
early-stage businesses can be adapted to support and grow DSI projects.
3. Support programmes that help people and organisations develop their skills to work on Digital Social Innovation, such as
getting digital skills on the curriculum in schools and helping civil society organisations experiment with the development
of digital solutions.
Help grow DSI capacity in Eastern Europe by facilitating collaboration between established DSI networks and organisations from
the rest of the EU. Identify specific social challenges (such as health, employment, urban regeneration and care) facing countries
in Eastern Europe and invest in pilots that explore how digital social solutions could address them.

APPENDIX

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

DSI ADVISORY GROUP (AG)

Rob van Kranenburg

Co-founder of Bricolabs/Founder of the Internet of Things Council/Community Manager of

Roger Torrenti

CEO, Sigma Orionis

Mayo Fuster Morrell

Fellow of the Berkman Centre, Researcher, Institute of Govern and Public Policies (AUB)

Gohar Sargsyan

Adviser and founding member, OISPG; Consultant Logica

Daniel Kaplan

Founder and CEO, the Next-Generation Internet Foundation

Simona Levi

Founder, Forum for the Access to Culture and Knowledge

Markkula Markku

Committee of the Regions, Rapporteur Europe 2020

Philippee Aigrain

Founder and CEO Sopinspace, the Society for Public Information Spaces

Ezio Manzini

International Coordinator, DESIS, Design for Sustainability Network

Zoe Romano

Digital Strategy and Wearables, Arduino, Milan

Geert Lovink

Institute of Network Culture (INC)

Flore Berlingen

OuiShare, Co-Founder

Juha Huuskonen

Open Knowledge Foundation Finland

Javier Ruiz

Open Rights Group

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REFERENCES

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

RELATED LINKS AND ACADEMIC REFERENCES:
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Research Compendium of Evidence
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uk/share/20_Impacts%20of%20
Innovation%20Policy%20Synthesis%20
and%20Conclusion_linked.pdf
European Commission‘s Reports
“Strengthening Social Innovation in
Europe. Journey to effective assessment
and metrics”
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/innovation/files/social-innovation/
strengthening-social-innovation_en.pdf
“Guide to Social Innovation”
http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/
sources/docgener/presenta/social_innovation/social_innovation_2013.pdf
A4SI Project: http://ia4si.eu/
Impact Assessment for Social
Innovation
https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/
sites/digital-agenda/files/IA4SI%20
%E2%80%93%20Fact-sheet%20_V02.pdf
Nesta and Young Foundation Discussion
Paper
“How to Innovate: The tools for social
innovation” (2008)
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Copy%20of%20Generating_Social_
Innovation%20v4.pdf
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measurement-policy?topic-filters=11379
RESINDEX
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Endnotes
Why is Digital Social Innovation
Important?
1 Combinatorial innovation means
combining ideas that already exist into
new forms, or combining new ideas with
old ones- where major breakthroughs
are likely to involve knowledge from
different fields and joint working
between scientists, makers, artists, and
entrepreneurs
2 Collective intelligence is defined
in much more detail in the following
paper: “Does the Web Extend the Mind”
available online at: http://www.ibiblio.
org/hhalpin/homepage/publications/
websci2013-halpin-web-extend-the-mind.
pdf and published as Harry Halpin.
“Does the web extend the mind?”
Proceedings of the ACM Web Science
Conference (2013): 139-147.
3 Over-the-top is a general term for
service providers that develop services
that are utilized over a network that is
owned by traditional network operators.
Big OTT are Google, Skype, YouTube,
Netflix, Facebook, Amazon and EBay.
4 Sestini, Fabrizio. `Collective awareness
platforms: Engines for sustainability
and ethics’. Technology and Society
Magazine, IEEE 31.4 (2012): 54-62.
5 http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/
making-sense-uk-collaborative-economy
Mapping the DSI Ecosystem
6 http://dcentproject.eu/wp-content/
uploads/2014/06/D3.4-Field-researchcurrency_FINAL-v2.pdf
7 http://www.goteo.org/project/
zapatos-open-source?lang=en
8 http://ipts.jrc.ec.europa.eu/
publications/pub.cfm?id=4219
9 http://www.ushahidi.com/

SIMPACT Project:
http://www.simpact-project.eu/
http://www.simpact-project.eu/dialogue/
indicatorlabs.htm
http://www.bath.ac.uk/casp/projects/
boosting-the-impact-of-social-innovation/

10 http://www.ccc.de/en/home
11 http://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/
files/good_incubation_wv.pdf

96

Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

12 http://theodi.org/start-ups

about-city-budgets-heres-what-happened

Interoperabilidad

13 http://www.nesta.org.uk/
publications/understanding-alternativefinance-uk-alternative-finance-industryreport-2014

31 http://council.nyc.gov/html/action/
pb.shtml

51 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Interfaz_de_programaci%C3%B3n_de_
aplicaciones

14 http://www.hri.fi/en/
15 http://opendatachallenge.org
16 http://www.apps4finland.fi/en/

32 https://www.gov.uk/
government/publications/
open-source-procurement-toolkit
33 http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/
publicprocurement/modernising_rules/
reform_proposals/index_en.htm

52 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Extensible_Markup_Language
53 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Resource_Description_Framework
54 http://linkeddata.org/

17 http://ec.europa.eu/information_
society/apps/projects/factsheet/index.
cfm?project_ref=297191
18 Apps for good is a project whose
goal it is to help ‘students use new
technologies to design and make
products that can make a difference to
their world’,
19 http://www.bmbf.de/en/19955.php
Reinventing innovation policy
20 http://ec.europa.eu/
information_society/digital-agenda/
index_en.htm
21 http://ec.europa.eu/research/
innovation-union/index_en.cfm

34 http://www.nycedc.com/service/
programs-entrepreneurs

55 http://www.w3.org/TR/
rdf-sparql-query/

35 http://www.barcelonactiva.cat/
barcelonactiva/en/index.jsp

56 http://www.theopeninter.net/

36 https://www.googleforentrepreneurs.
com/

57 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
DataPortability

37 http://vienna.impacthub.
net/2014/06/26/engaging-thepublic-sector-to-support-socialentrepreneurship/

58 http://www.w3.org/Social/WG

38 http://www.oecd.org/sti/
outlook/e-outlook/stipolicyprofiles/
competencestoinnovate/
taxincentivesforrdandinnovation.htm)
39 http://crowdingin.com

59 http://dcentproject.eu
60 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Hypertext_Transfer_Protocol_Secure
61 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Red_privada_virtual
62 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
End-to-end_encryption

40 http://www.lanzanos.com/).
22 http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/
horizon2020/

63 https://abc4trust.eu/
41 http://www.nesta.org.uk/our-projects/
centre-challenge-prizes

23 http://www.fi-ppp.eu/
24 http://5g-ppp.eu/
25 http://www.internet-of-thingsresearch.eu
26 https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/
futurium/

42 http://www.nesta.org.uk/
open-data-challenge-series
44 http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/
policies/innovation/policy/
social-innovation/competition/

64 http://www.ftc.gov/system/files/
documents/reports/data-brokerscall-transparency-accountabilityreport-federal-trade-commission-may2014/140527databrokerreport.pdf
65 http://www.citizenme.com,
66 http://openpds.media.mit.edu

45 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Knowledge_commons

27 https://dsi-workshop-2014.yrpri.org

67 http://hd.media.mit.edu/wef_globalit.
pdf

46 http://bit.ly/1kIvc4H
28 http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/
en/about-startup-europe

47 http://www.w3.org/

Policy Tools and Action

48 http://open-stand.org/about-us/
principles/

29 http://www.citizens.is/
citizens-foundation-main-achievements/
30 http://www.washingtonpost.com/
blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/01/22/
brazil-let-its-citizens-make-decisions-

68 http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/
DigitalAge/Pages/DigitalAgeIndex.aspx
69 http://www.fairphone.com
70 http://bubforeurope.net

49 For more information on the
copyright reform from a civil society
standpoint, see the Communia website:
http://bit.ly/V2kNnK
50 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/

71 http://www.theiteams.org/
72 http://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/
files/good_incubation_wv.pdf

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

73 http://ec.europa.eu/
enterprise/policies/innovation/
files/social-innovation/
strengthening-social-innovation_en.pdf
74 http://ec.europa.eu/environment/
beyond_gdp/index_en.html

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Growing a Digital Social Innovation Ecosystem for Europe

99

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We are incredibly grateful to the European Commission, DG
Connect for funding this project. We are particularly grateful
to Fabrizio Sestini for his guidance and support throughout
the project.
This project wouldn’t have succeeded without the support
from a number of colleagues. At Nesta we would especially
like to thank Jo Casebourne, Jon Kingsbury and Geoff
Mulgan for leading the project and providing thoughtful
comments, critique and guidance throughout, and Kelly
Armstrong and Jordan Junge their management of the
project. At the Waag Society we would like to thank Marleen
Stikker, Sacha Van Tongeren, Ivonne Jansen-Dings, Ning
Xu and Niels Schrader. And at IRI we kindly thank Bernard
Stiegler, and Vincent Puig.
In addition to Nesta, Esade and the Waag a number of
organisations and people have played a key role in this
project. For their work on developing www.digitalsocial.
eu we would like to thank Julian Tait and Kevin Smith from
Future Everything, Bill Roberts and Ric Roberts from Swirrl,
Marcin Ignac from VariableIO and Agnese Mosconi for her
beautiful design work.
Thank you to the projects Advisory Group who have been
generous in sharing their own experience from working with
and researching digital social innovation, and steering our
research.
Daniel Kaplan, Ezio Manzini, Flore Berlingen, Geert Lovink,
Gohar Saragsyan, Javier Ruiz, Louise Pulford, Markku
Markkula, Mayo Fuster Morell, Philippe Aigrain, Rob van
Kranenburg, Roger Torrenti, Simona Levi and Zoe Romano.
We would also like to thank the experts from around Europe
who attended our DSI policy workshop in Brussels on
February 17th, 2014, whose ideas were used to shape the
final set of policy recommendations in this paper.
Over the course of this project we have spoken to
numerous experts in the Europe and internationally, some
of them are researchers or commentators, others are
practitioners working on digital social innovation. There are
too many to name here, but we thank them all for sharing
their successes, lessons and experiences.
Finally we would like to thank the more than 1000
organisations who have taken the time to join
www.digitalsocial.eu and map their digital social innovation
project, which has been key to our understanding of
DSI in Europe.
As ever, all errors and omissions remain our own.

www.digitalsocial.eu
@digi_si

ISBN: 978-92-79-45603-9

DOI: 10.2759/448169