Digital Social Innovation in the West of Ireland

Project stage: Opportunities and Challenges

The problem: We are not consistently working together across relevant stakeholders to solve our common and entrenched problems. This leads to delivering solutions that focus on symptoms and not the root causes of problems; funding duplication, duplication of impact, increased back-office staff across organisations and the problem recurring. 

Geographic Area: West of Ireland, Netherlands, France, Germany.

Target Group: Communities involved in social improvement projects.

Partners: Western Development Commission, University of Galway and local community groups.

Solution: Equitable and smart use of ICT technology for community benefit and collective impact around a shared problem or challenge. Creating digitally supported processes for social innovation at local level. Supporting the three enablers of community led innovation:

1.     Capacity | Providing improved access to knowledge, methodologies, training, tools and techniques that can enhance individual and collective ability to engage with issues. Engendering a culture of collaboration and innovation. 

2.     Connectivity | Probably the most important function that might be enhanced by digitisation. Online interactive processes, sharing of data and experiences, noticeboards, joint funding requests, configuration to fit urban and rural contexts. 

3.     Continuity | Retention of interest in community work, space to reflect on process, share data on outcomes and impact, networking with funders and other regions to scale local efforts.

Funders: Application in progress NW Europe Interreg.

Impact forecasted: 

  • To use a digitally supported EU social network to convene innovations on a specific theme. 
  • Deliver availability, usability, quality of ICT products and services that can build community capacity in collective impact, system thinking and other social innovation processes, as well as appropriate skills training for communities involved. 
  • More effective and continuous connection between communities engaged in social innovation and between communities and policy makers/public service providers at National and European level. 

Next step: Find EU partners and make funding application (2023).