TRANSIT trabaja en la primera etapa del desarrollo de una teoría de la Innovación Social Transformadora.

( El texto de esta noticia está disponible sólo en inglés.)


TRANSIT (TRANsformative Social Innovation Theory) is developing a theory of transformative social innovation: a process through which social innovation contributes to transformative change. After the first phase of in-depth empirical work has now come to its end, TRANSIT shares its first materials. Over the past year, TRANSIT researchers have interacted with and studied 12 transnational networks – for each network they focused on the network level as well as on 2-3 local manifestations.

Photo by Pedro Larios Garcia (IHS)

‘Constant comparison’ between emergent theory and data required.

The case study reports and synthesis report that are now publicly available on the website form part of the overall iterative set-up of the project in which a ‘constant comparison’ between emergent theory and data is required and will take up to the end of 2017.

Networks engaging in many dimensions of social innovation.

The first results suggest that the social innovations that the networks engage in are broad and cover examples of all the dimensions of social innovation mentioned in our working-definition of ‘social innovation’: new social practices, new ideas, new models, new rules, new social relations and new products. Most of the social innovations are combined innovations, for example combining a practice and idea (i.e. design thinking) and applies it to other kinds of questions (i.e. societal challenges).

Many cases are offering a physical place in which social innovation can take place, i.e. where new social relations and practices can be experimented with or created. The provision of these physical places and/or mental spaces constitutes itself a social innovation and is referred to as incubation, ecosystem for innovation, or lab. Within these spaces/places, social innovation by others can take place, such as networks facilitating co-working spaces where start-ups might be working on innovative solutions. Only a small number of networks explicitly relate to the term social innovation. In other cases there is scepticism and resistance towards the term “social innovation”.

Unravelling the dynamics of societal transformations in the making

The networks interact and contribute to a societal transformation in the making, however a more thorough analysis is needed to unravel these dynamics of societal transformations in the making. The case reports mostly outline the transformative ambitions of the case, while some describe the strategies that the case uses and the intended outcomes this should have – telling the narrative of change of the network, while others are looking into the interaction of different shades of change for the specific case (historically).

The People-Environment Research Group, from the University of A Coruna, conducted in 2014 three studies related to transformative social innovation and social economy and their potential impact in European Union context. The researchers Adina Dumitru, Isabel Lema-Blanco and Ricardo García-Mira analysed the transformative impact of ethical finances and credit cooperatives through a qualitative analysis on the International Network FEBEA, the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks and the Spanish FIARE BANCA ETICA. An advance of the report is available in:

Dumitru, A.; Lema-Blanco, I.; García-Mira, R.; Haxeltine, A. and Frances. A. (2015). Transformative social innovation narrative of Credit Unions. TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no: 613169)  Download here

The potential of sharing economy and complementary currencies has been studied though a comparative analysis between the transnational time banking network organization (hOurworld) and local manifestations of time banking in the UK (Timebanking UK) and in Spain: SER-HACER a local time-bank based in Vigo (Pontevedra) and the Catalonian Network of Time Banks leaded by the HEALTH AND FAMILY association (Barcelona). The first conclusions of the report can be consulted in:

Weaver, P., Dumitru, A., Lema Blanco, I., García Mira, R. (2015). Transformative Social Innovation Narrative: Timebanking. TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no:613169. Download here

Finally, the People-Environment Research Group developed an in-depth case-study of CRIES, the Rumanian member of the Intercontinental network for the promotion of the Social and Solidarity based Economy (RIPESS). The summary of the study is available in the document:

Pel, B., Dumitru, A. (2015). Transformative Social Innovation Narrative of RIPESS. TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no: 613169. Download here

TRANSIT is a consortium of European and Latin-American research-institutions and is co-funded by the European Commission. It runs for four years, from January 2014 until December 2017.

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