Digital platforms are providing new, successful ways to involve people in influencing and developing public policies, collaborate with other citizens on addressing social challenges, and developing solutions that address their needs. Innovations that use technology to address social challenges are often referred to as Digital Social Innovation (DSI) or Tech for Good, and they are growing rapidly. So far, over a thousand of those DSI initiatives have been identified in Europe alone. They comprise resource sharing, crowdfunding, and collective awareness platforms, the booming and diverse maker movement, and recent advances in decentralizing democratic participation and civic action. All of these use the internet to create open and inclusive networks by connecting and empowering independent, responsible local actors to collectively tackle pressing issues. They are widely dispersed and small-to-medium in size, but their impact is huge and tangible. Together they offer a vital ground for bottom up innovation and change.
DSI has been studied extensively by researchers from NESTA, Waag Society, ESADE and others. More information can be found in https://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/dsireport.pdf as well as on https://digitalsocial.eu (beta).
In this roundtable, we will bring together front-runners of DSI research and practice to discuss its current shape, future forms and potential impact on society on both a small and large scale. We will dive into its merits and explore the ways in which the EU can foster, stimulate and benefit from this vibrant field. DSI can strengthen social bonds, leverage civic entrepreneurship, create and share many forms of value, make cities and countries sustainable and resilient, and help to turn Europe into the hotbed of social innovation that is dearly needed. New approaches will help, and DSI is one of them.
It would be an honour for us to have you participate in the roundtable.
Marietje Schaake (ALDE)
Geoff Mulgan (NESTA)
Antonella Passani (T6 Ecosystems)
Josef Prusa (Prusa Printers)
Fabrizio Sestini (DG-Connect)
Marleen Stikker (Waag Society)
You can see a short video of the event here: