Rural Social Innovation Strategy 

Identifying fields of intervention for SI
The “Transnational Rural Social Innovation Development Strategy” created by ZSI reflects on the experiences of the Interreg Central Europe project CERUSI, connects them to theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of social innovation and rural development and highlights pathways on how the potential of social innovation in rural regions can be unlocked. Below we present some of the key insights of the strategy paper.

The context

Rural regions throughout Central Europe have been struggling with a multitude of difficulties, ranging from low economic productivity to a lack of infrastructure. Social innovation has been put forward by scholars, policy makers and practitioners alike as offering potential solutions to local problems. With the aim of building skills and capacities for social innovation and social entrepreneurship, the CERUSI project implemented a Rural Social Innovation Lab Caravan in rural areas throughout Central Europe, enabling citizens and innovators to harness the potential of their communities.

The SI process

The social innovation process in structurally weak rural regions consists of several phases. Each phase of the social innovation process requires specific resources (e.g. access to funding or other forms of capital etc.), reflections (e.g. on available knowledge and capacities) and relations (e.g. to regionally active institutions) in order to be successful.  As a consequence, specific (policy) interventions can be initiated to facilitate the success of social innovation projects in the different phases of social innovation (problematisation, emergence, adjustment, stabilisation).

The intervention fields

These policy interventions have to materialise predominantly in four different dimensions:

Social needs orientation of public policies.
Temporary frameworks for social innovation support.
Capacities for social innovation in public institutions.
Institutional and cultural embedding of social innovation.
Proceeding from these intervention fields the strategy continuous to make concrete policy recommendations for each of these four intervention fields. If you are interested in the concrete recommendations you can download the strategy document below.

The CERUSI Partnership

Furthermore, the CERUSI project built up a so-called RSI_Partnership in the course of its two-year-long implementation. This partnership serves to connect stakeholders and actors across Europe which are interested and committed to promoting and fostering social innovation alongside the outlined intervention fields in their institutions as well as their ecosystems. If your organisation is interested in joining this RSI_Partnership and in collaborating and getting updated news and information on social innovation issues you can sign the Memorandum of Understanding that is attached to this article or you can contact us directly via haider@zsi.at 

Transnational Rural Social Innovation Development Strategy 

Memorandum of Understanding_Social Innovation Partnership