Watify Matchmaking Event on Digitisation - 18th June
A growing number of governments are involving citizens in the actual creation of digital services, as well as making users the central focus of their efforts. Around the world, governments at the local, regional and national level are engaging in a major digital transformation, reshaping everything from the way services are delivered to internal procurement methods. While this change requires many elements, one especially crucial factor, according to technology experts, is engaging citizens in the process. Many other stakeholders along the value chain have to be involved in order to be successful.
Intelligent collaboration and interchange of experiences are both required in order to accelerate the uptake of high potential initiatives. Moreover, new innovative business models are also pivotal components to be included in the “promotion equation” to success because profit stakeholders are going to be unavoidable involved somewhere in the process. Therefore, the objective of this matchmaking event is to facilitate inter-regional / cross-border cooperation between different public and private sector stakeholders in the development of joint initiatives /partnerships or joint demonstration / pilot projects of digitisation having European citizens at the very core.
Watify Matchmaking Event on Social Innovation - 19th June
For Stanford University Social innovation is the process of developing and deploying effective solutions to challenging and often systemic social and environmental issues in support of social progress. Here in Europe, social innovations are defined as new ideas that meet social needs, create social relationships and form new collaborations. These innovations can be products, services or models addressing unmet needs more effectively. Looking at the conclusions that came up from the Guide to Social Innovation published by the EC, the following are some areas where support to social innovation at regional level could achieve a good return:
- Preparing a strategy and action plan for social innovation that is linked to the region’s smart specialisation strategy
- Building capacity for social innovation by supporting new organisations and adapting existing organisations. This might involve supporting independent third sector agencies for social innovation as well as setting up units within the public sector
- Strengthening the market for social innovations and encouraging cross sectoral collaborations by using the power of public procurement to encourage innovative and cross sectoral approaches
- Investing in new financing models for each stage of the innovation process and specifically for financing pilots, implementations and scaling up. Exploring how new financial instruments might support results based approaches (e.g. along the lines of social impact bonds or payment by results models);
- Setting up better structures for measuring the results of social innovation, for evaluation, benchmarking and comparison of existing and proposed policies and projects;
- Promoting exchange and learning on approaches to social innovation across Europe.
Supporting the innovators to get started and to grow through business support measures and by encouraging workplace innovation. There are many examples of social devoted startups that are using or are potential users of digital technologies to make real their projects in the field of social support, culture or environment. Just as KETs and Digital technologies address in Watify, social entrepreneurship has the potential of providing products, services or ICT solutions in economy sectors like Energy, Waste management & Recycling, Healthcare, Housing and Construction, Food & Agriculture or Water distribution
Thus, social innovation promotes the competitiveness of the EU and its regions which are well placed to play a leading role in this field. Regional authorities can orchestrate the process and they can also take a lead in promoting social innovation, provide funds, bring various stakeholders together, put forward strategic thinking and support the generation of fresh ideas to overcome societal and social challenges. Social innovation is not the prerogative or privilege of any organizational form or legal structure. Solutions often require the active collaboration of constituents across government, business as well as the non-profit community. A Matchmaking exercise will surely boost future collaborations in this area. Therefore, the Watify team and its partner in organizing this event would like to emphasize that Social Innovation could only be “social” if citizens are in the middle of the whole approach.