InnoSI - Innovative Social Investment

European examples

Hoitaja ja vanhus

Finland: User-driven development of local public services in Kainuu (Case 1)

Period: April 2014 – January 2017

Target population: Vulnerable people in a disadvantaged region: Elderly (75+) and young people

Investment theme: Strengthen communality; Improve employment

Short description of the program: Kainuu is one of Finland’s most challenged regions particularly because of its high migration levels, an ageing population, declining entrepreneurial activity, and unemployment second highest in the country. This regional experiment wants to promote the well-being of citizens and strengthen their sense of belonging in the community by improving their sense of self-esteem, by raising the quality of local services provided, and by seeing to it that employment opportunities improve. In order to improve people’s well-being, Kainuu region aims to deal with structural unemployment and ensure the availability of welfare services to all people. The experiment was carried out between April 2014 and the end of 2016. The focus was to define the new role of the municipality and other parties in the multi-provider model of local services by developing new user-driven services and business models together with citizens and the public, private and third sectors. 


Finland: Youth Guarantee – Ohjaamo model in local implementation (Case 2)

Period: 2013 –

Target population: Young people under 25 and recently graduated people under 30.

Investment theme: Improving employment, preventing social exclusion

Short description of the program: The aim of the Youth Guarantee is to help young people gain access to education and employment. Each young person under 25 and recently graduated people under 30 will be offered a job, a work trial, a study place, or a period in a workshop or rehabilitation, within three months of becoming unemployed. Everyone leaving comprehensive school is guaranteed a place to study in an upper secondary or vocational school, in an apprenticeship, workshop, rehabilitation, or elsewhere. The Youth Guarantee is a broad model of action for young people, implemented together with young people and various organizations. Finland's youth guarantee serves as one example for the EU's recommendation of a youth guarantee for all member states. The case study introduces the Ohjaamo model as an example of local level implementation of Youth Guarantee.


Netherlands: Urban farming (Case 3)

Period: 2010 – now

Target population: People with multiple problems

Investment theme: Active participation

Short description of the program: Two urban farming initiatives (Amelis’hof and De Volle Grond) work on growing vegetables and promoting social inclusion, reintegration in the labor market and care for disabled people, former homeless, people with a psychiatric problems but also for retired elderly persons, people with burn out or depression.


Hollanti: ‘t Groene Sticht (Case 4)

Period: 2002 – now

Target population: Vulnerable citizens, especially homeless and people at risk of homelessness

Investment theme: Active participation

Short description of the program: 't Groene Sticht is a residential and working center in a new housing district in Utrecht. The residents of 't Groene Sticht are vulnerable citizens such as (former) homeless people, but also students, senior citizens and young families. The aim is

  • to create a green and socially diverse residential and working neighborhood, with several residential and work functions for people in a vulnerable social position;
  • to provide support through the efforts of committed, participating residents and members of staff, who create conditions for a lively, integrated local community in their capacity of neighbors and colleagues;
  • to promote integration among residents with different social backgrounds;
  • to encourage involvement among residents and participating organizations;
  • and to manage the immovable property.


Sweden: Non-profit – public partnership for unaccompanied newcomer youngsters’ reception, establishment and integration in Gothenburg (Case 5)

Period: February 2016 – September 2016

Target population: Unaccompanied newcomer minors

Investment theme: Social investment in newcomer minors’ reception and integration in the society

Short description of the program: The case study explores a relatively new IPP partnership between Gothenburg city and initially seven but currently nine non-profit organizations for reception of unaccompanied newcomer minors. This is to our knowledge currently the largest local IPP collaboration partnership in Sweden. The social ambition of the partnership is qualitative unaccompanied minors’ reception and assistance in their integration. The partnership was signed in April 2015 and is valid from 1 May 2015 until 30 April 2021. In this case study we focus on an innovative in the Swedish context form of collaboration between public sector and voluntary organizations within the social sphere, the so-called idea-based public partnerships (idéburna offentliga partnerskap, IPP). IPP are meant to create a long-term collaboration patterns between the two sectors especially on new societal challenges such as newcomer immigrant integration based on more equal or balanced relationships between the sectors. Indeed this form of partnership is seen as an alternative to collaboration via public procurement contracts and traditional grants to non-profits and may be seen as one way to implement government policy for civil society.


Sweden: School reform — newly arrived pupils (Case 6)

Period: 2016

Target population: Newly arrived pupils

Investment theme: Education, integration of newly arrived pupils

Short description of the program: The project studies and evaluates a new Swedish school reform which means that all schools must chart all newly arrived pupils´ prior knowledge and experience. The purpose of this is to better plan the student's education, based on their individual circumstances. In the charting, a special charting material must be used, constructed of the Swedish National Agency for Education. This case study studies if and how this reform is carried out in Swedish schools and the benefits and problems teachers and principals have experienced. The study is based on interviews with teachers and principals in about seven Swedish municipalities. Furthermore, the study examines whether schools are experiencing opportunities and a need to work with the civil society to solve this task.


Germany: MAMBA (Münsters Aktionsprogramm für MigrantInnen und Bleibeberechtigte zur Arbeitsmarktintegration in Münster und im Münsterland) (Case 7)

Period: 2015 – 2019

Target population: Every asylum-seeker with access to the employment market

Short description of the program: MAMBA addresses the issue of refugee’s labor market integration. It is a local network consisting of five partners in the city of Münster. The focus lies on long-term integration into the labor market. In order to achieve this objective, following complementary service are being offered by the different actors within this network:

  • legal counselling
  • job application trainings
  • coaching
  • support in finding access to language courses
  • job qualification
  • support in job placement through direct contact with potential employers
  • support with finding internships, vocational training
  • support with the recognition of foreign qualifications
  • psychosocial counselling.

Additionally, the dissemination of information for potential employers is an important activity. With this, awareness for the potential of refugees as employees is being raised. Another important aspect MAMBA offers is the training of employees in various government agencies (Job center etc.) as well as NGOs concerning the issues of right of residence and labor market access. As an inter-sectoral network, MAMBA tries to create synergies and short communication channels through its structure. Because of its visibility, success and knowledge, MAMBA has established itself as a respected local actor. From the beginning of the program in 2008 until 2016, more than 1,300 people participated in the offered activities, and many of those were successfully placed into employment.


Germany: Münster University Hospital (UKM) (Case 8)

Period: 2010 — still ongoing

Target population: Employees of UKM Life stage

Investment theme: Work-family reconciliation

Short description of the program: The program that is the subject of the case study is the systematic implementation of a family conscious HR policy within the framework of the ‘audit berufundfamilie’ at the University Hospital Münster (UKM). The initiative started six years ago in 2010 and is now in a scaling-up-phase as the third round of the audit starts in the fall of 2016. The goals of the program are to (1) enable all UKM-employees to reconcile work and family and to (2) enhance recruitment and staff retention for UKM as an employer. In the course of the initiative, a number of important innovations were introduced, of which the most important are:

  • Service Office for Families (FamilienServiceBüro): Its primary goal is to provide service for employees with family responsibilities – parents as well as caring-relatives. The consultants advise employees regarding their family-related issues and if needed, put them in contact with specialised social service institutions. They also evaluate and develop own office in interaction with employees.
  • Planning and realization of a new company childcare facility for UKM: The facility opened in 2012 and offers 150 childcare places for hospital employees and employees of subsidiary companies of UKM. The opening hours are longer than that of most facilities. This childcare facility is one of only four company childcare facilities in Münster and by far the largest.
  • “Emergency” childcare: In association with a family service agency (pme Familienservice GmbH), UKM provides childcare, when the regular childcare is cancelled.
  • Holiday childcare: In cooperation with the Ferienwerk Münster e.V., a registered society, UKM offers childcare during holidays.


Italy: Early Childhood education and care in Emilia-Romagna (Case 9)

 Period: March – October 2016

Target population: Young children and their families, early year’s professionals (educators, pedagogical coordinators) and service providers, local administrators responsible for the governance and funding of the ECEC system at municipal and regional level.

Investment theme: Early childhood education and care (ECEC)

Short description of the program: The Report presents the results of an eight-month research program undertaken under the INNOSI Project framework, pursuing three main objectives:

  • exploring in which ways ECEC services can be beneficial to a wide array of actors – children, families and local communities – who were directly involved in the project;
  • collecting knowledge on how quality and accessibility of ECEC services could be improved through integrated governance (partnership between public, private NFP and community stakeholders);
  • analyzing, through a case study approach, the integrated system of ECEC services in Emilia-Romagna Region as an example of good practice of Social Innovation, with particular reference to social economy initiatives that pro-actively engage with local actors, including children, their families and the communities in which they are living.

Three cases of innovative ECEC services were selected for the program: 

  •  “Filonido”, a daycare center attended by children aged 0-3 and located in the city of Bologna;
  • “Girotondo intorno al Bosco”, a small educational group (home-based) attended by 0-3 aged children and located in the rural community of Serramazzoni on the modenese Appenine;
  • “La Gabianella” & “L’albero delle meraviglie”, an integrated service encompassing a daycare center (attended by 0-3 aged children) and a centre for children and parents (attended by 2- 5 aged children and their families) located in the small town of Comacchio.


Hungary: Social Land Program (Case 10)

Period: Since 1991 (first initiatives)

Target population: Unemployed rural families

Investment theme: Social economy

Short description of the program: Social land programs help socially disadvantaged people with no financial means to engage with agriculture to acquire promotional services and support them in household type agricultural production and livestock farming. The land program supports unemployed participants to produce agricultural goods and acquire competencies in household agriculture. The main objective of the program is to strengthen independence, self-sufficiency and to decrease poverty by strengthening and recreating agricultural activities in rural areas.


Hungary: Tanoda (Case 11)

Period: Since 2004

Short description of the program: Promotes the chances of disadvantaged (especially Roma) children for social integration and also strive toward the implementation of ‘equal opportunity’ in education. It aims to individually develop each participant’s personality as a whole, using methods other than those belonging to public education.


Greece: Promotion and strengthening of women’s participation in trade unions and their representation bodies (Case 12)

Period: 2011–2014

Target population: Women in trade unions and the labor market

Investment theme: Empowerment of women

Short description of the program: The project “Promotion and strengthening of women’s participation in trade unions and their representation bodies”, aims at promoting and ensuring the active participation of women workers in positions of responsibility at all levels and types of trade unions. INE (Labor Institute) have planned activities, which focus on the broader social education of women, in order for them to become key actors for the promotion of women’s issues through the trade unions.

These actions included:

  • The study of women's participation in trade unions in the private sector. A qualitative and quantitative research, presenting personal, employment, educational and professional characteristics of women taking part in representation bodies of trade unions. Moreover, it investigates the factors affecting the active participation of women in trade unions, as well as what women need from unionism.
  • Actions for the education and empowerment of women, including: educational material for seminars in the following topics: Individual Labor Law, Collective Labor Law and Women’s Empowerment during Collective Representation, Social Insurance and Social Security, Principles and Methods of Social Networking, Stress Management, Work-Life Balance and Assertiveness – all with a gender perspective. 
  • Founding of Equality Offices offering support, counselling and information on labor issues for women.


Greece: Acquiring Work Experience: Technical Education Graduates’ Access to the Labor Market (Case 13)

Period: 2014 – 2015

Target population: Low skilled young people

Investment theme: Confronting youth unemployment

Short description of the program: The project “Acquiring Work Experience: Technical Education Graduates’ Access to the Labor Market” aimed at offering low skilled youth the necessary competences that will support them in entering and remaining in the labor market. At a more structural level, this project links vocational education and training with the labor market, so as to address the dangerous phenomenon of extensive youth unemployment and at the same time the need to restructure the country’s economy.

This project includes a set of modular and interconnected actions:

  • Training for the upgrading of skills at a horizontal level. The courses involve the following topics: Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Basic ICT Knowledge, Conflict Resolution and Communication, Administrative & Organizational Skills.
  • Placement for the acquisition of work experience in businesses for up to six months. During this placement, participants benefit from a system of professional guidance that supports their learning experience during this placement, as well as enables them to develop professionally and plan their actions in relation to their vocational future.

Information on the project’s past events and associated material. More information also elsewhere on the Internet.



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