Report: Exploring ICT-enabled social innovation for the inclusion of young people

07.09.2015 Blog

On the 30th of July, 2015 the report: ‘Exploring the role of ICT-enabled social innovation for the active inclusion of young people’ was released. The report was commissioned by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (JRC-IPTS) and implemented by Arcola Research in 2014.

The report presents the findings of a study entitled: ‘ICT-enabled social innovation for active inclusion of young people’ (IESI-Youth). The study looks at the way in which the ‘state of the art’- in particular information and communication technology (ICT)- is used by and for active inclusion services for disadvantaged young people.

The study specifically focuses on the contribution made by ICTs in supporting social innovation services that seek to strength skills and capacities among young people and help them to participate fully in employment and social life.

This report covers:

  • A review of the dynamics that are shaping social innovation in the field.
  • How these dynamics have shaped the landscape of social innovation.
  • What the effects of the implementation of social innovation are.
  • What the implications are for future research and policy with particular regard to the Social Investment Package (SIP)
  • The report outlines the characteristics of the landscape for ICT-enabled social innovation in the context of active inclusion of young people. It finds that:
  • The level of innovation in this field has, so far, been relatively modest.
  • It is unevenly distributed. Some geographical areas, service types and categories and scales have been better at incorporating this kind of innovation.
  •  Four broad types of ICT enabled services can be identified. These are: services to promote employability and entrepreneurship; services to promote employability and entrepreneurship; services to support personal empowerment and social and civic engagement; and services to support more effective service delivery and prevention of social exclusion through early interventions and mentoring.
  • The models and methods used to deliver the services vary according to elements of context including: target group; the institutional framework in which the service is delivered; and the scaled of the operations.
  • The types of ICT platforms and tools used to deliver services again vary significantly according to context of use.
  • However, despite this context specific variation, clear differences can be discerned in the extent to which ICTS are deployed to support small incremental changes in service delivery, sustained change, disruptive change and radical change.

The report found a lack of robust evidence on the effects of ICT-enabled social innovation and this has had an impact upon the ability to give general conclusions about ‘what works’. However using, primarily qualitative, data some conclusions have been drawn, from the study about outcomes at beneficiary, provider and (to a more limited extent) societal levels.

Outcomes at the beneficiary level of ICT-enabled social innovation include:

  • Increased motivation
  • Improved digital competences
  • Valorising acquired knowledge
  • Facilitation of transitions to education
  • Increased employability and access to labour market opportunities
  • Improved personal and social development
  • Reduced social isolation and increased social and civic interaction
  • Improved physical, mental and social care outcomes

For services the broad types of outcomes identified include:

  • Improvements in service availability and take-up
  • Improved service accessibility
  • Better targeting of services
  • Improved service provider/client interaction and collaboration
  • Increased efficiencies through better coordination of services
  • Improved cost-effectiveness of services
  • Improved service outcomes through professional knowledge exchange
  • Better monitoring of clients.

The report recommends further research in this field on: social innovation for income support and integrative measures to facilitate successful transitions into independent living; the contribution that lifelong learning interventions make to supportive active inclusion; service integration; partnership and networking strategies and behaviours; relevant evaluation methodologies and approaches; the outcomes and impacts of transformative ICT-enabled innovations that radically change the nature of service delivery; and on getting good financial data on innovations and business processes.

 

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