For the first time ever, EUROCITIES organised a Social Innovation Lab. The theme of the Lab was 'Making Inclusive Cities through Social Innovation'. We aimed to address the new and emerging social challenges in cities by fostering co-learning, co-sharing and co-creation of innovative solutions.
We gathered 100 urban policy-makers, city practitioners and 'change makers' (social entrepreneurs, start-ups with social impact, foundations) from over 50 cities in Europe to share social innovations, learn to transfer their lessons and co-create potential solutions to implement in cities. Our aim was to strengthen the capacity of cities to develop and implement innovative solutions to new social challenges.
- Match cities’ needs for social innovation with some other cities’ experience in the field
- Capitalise on lessons learned from recent pilots of social innovation in cities
- Foster the transfer, replication and upscaling of social innovations to other urban contexts
- Nurture city-to-city collaborations for new pilots of social innovation
- Co-create new solutions to tackle complex social challenges in cities
Our NEW method
We piloted a new method of collaborative learning between cities focused on social innovation in three stages:
- Co-learning - learn how to transfer lessons from recent pilots of social innovation in cities
- Co-sharing - share know-how and exchange good practices of social innovations in cities through site visits, speed-networking and exhibition of projects by cities and invited local partners
- Co-creating - working together to co-design possible solutions to current social challenges in cities
- What do we want our inclusive cities to look like and how to achieve it? What are the ‘new’ solutions to this ‘old’ mission?
- How can cities act as ‘change makers’ to develop and implement innovative solutions to new social challenges?
- Which lessons from urban innovative actions is your city interested to learn from and transfer to your own urban context?
- Who can cities work with to pilot new solutions to address current and future social challenges? How can cities work better together to maximise opportunities for social innovations?
Social challenges in focus
We explored five pressing challenges to social inclusion in cities in line with the priorities of our SAF strategy for 2019-2020 and with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). We focused on social challenges cross-cutting different city services and we looked into innovative approaches to delivering integrated solutions to address them:
- Rising inequalities and urban poverty, including homelessness and working poor
- Digitalisation and future of work and skills
- Inclusion of migrants in the local communities (through education, employment, culture, social mix approach and participation in community life)
- Tackling gentrification through more affordable housing in cities
- Integrated social care and health services
- 120 participants from 50 cities gained new perspectives, new skills and know-how of social innovations and better knowledge of available funding opportunities for social innovation in cities
- 5 participant cities, whose pressing social challenges were explored in-depth in workshops, benefited from new ideas for actionable solutions that they took back home
- New city-to-city partnerships for collaborations on common EU projects