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Full Title 

Impact Assessment For Social Innovation

Started on 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


iMinds VZW
Assessing the impact of collective awareness platforms for sustainability and social innovation

IA4SI project aims to assess the societal, economic, political and environmental impact of Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation (CAPS) projects and to support projects in the area in engaging citizens and society at large

Why is our project important? 

Many grassroots initiatives have emerged globally to tackle societal challenges (e.g. unemployment, aging, social and environmental sustainability, etc.) These initiatives are riding the wave of Digital Social Innovation that is a new approach to understanding and addressing societal challenges and the key role that ICT can play in improving European citizens’ everyday life. However, assessing whether these initiatives will have a real lasting impact is not an easy task. Therefore, there was a need to create a methodology to assess the socio-economic and political impacts these initiatives can have. Simultaneously, a process needs to be ‘created’ to translate such innovative experiences into a language that citizens, entrepreneurs and policy makers can understand.

The IA4SI project is creating such a methodology that will support the CAPS projects and which will be developed together with the CAPS partners. Each CAPS project will be able to understand the impacts they are headed to and re-organise their activities so as to improve their chance of achieving a real, positive, impact on Europe, its communities and the natural environment.

What are our goals? 

The IA4SI project supports and creates opportunities for knowledge exchange and collaboration development to CAPS projects. Our objectives are:

  • to find appropriate ways to evaluate the impact of each CAPS project.
  • to identify best practices of the CAPS projects and supporting them in reaching their planned impact on communities;
  • to create collaboration and coordination between funded projects on social innovation and CAPS projects;
  • to engage European citizens in the evaluation of social innovation initiatives related to the CAPS projects
  • to develop policy recommendation and a research plan for integrating different initiatives with the final aim of increasing their impact on communities and their capability to address societal challenges.

Initiatives, tools and services we have already launched 

  • The Self-Assesment Toolkit (SAT) helps the CAPS projects evaluate their socio-economic, environmental and political impacts. Each project, by simply logging to the SAT, will find a list of questions to be answered in order to value projects’impacts In the coming months projects will be also able to see their users’feedback on projects impact (e.g. cost reduction, better social and political participation, etc.). Once all the data has been entered, the SAT will visualize the result of the impact evaluation in a user-friendly way.
  • The Impact4you platform aims to present to the European citizens the CAPS projects results. The Impact4you platform is a good place for CAPS to promote their achievements. Through the online platform EU citizens will have the chance to express their opinion and discuss the services offered by CAPS and other Digital Social Innovation projects.

Initiatives, tools and services we are still working on 

The User Data Gathering Interphase is a tool, which gathers information directly from the users of CAPS projects participating in the evaluation. It is an online questionnaire structured both for single users and organizations. Projects users will be requested to provide their opinion about the results/services they used and their potential impacts. This tool will gather also some basic information about projects users. The data gathered through this tool will be used also in the complete analysis of the platform, in fact it is interesting to see who are the project users in terms of working profile, age, nationality and so forth.

Who will benefit from our project? 

  • Europeans Citizens not connected to Social innovation can nevertheless find the tools interesting and beneficial and become a user of the services and tools provided by the CAPS.
  • European Citizens active in the field of Social Innovation can read about the projects and familiarize with the tools they are developing and perhaps become a user of such a tool. In addition, they can contribute by taking part in the citizen engagement activities organized by IA4SI.
  • CAPS Project coordinators will be able to evaluate their projects with IA4SI tools and to collect information about the users of their projects and allow them to follow the discussions and gain feedback from European Citizens as to what kind of impact the different CAPS are perceived to have.
  • Social Innovation project coordinators, social entrepreneurs and social innovation domain experts can be introduced to different social innovation initiatives and participate in discussions on the Impact4you platform.
  • European Commission will be helped to understand how the performed R&D activities and the technologies developed are able to respond to societal and economic needs.
  • Policy makers could use the information available on the platforms to develop policy recommendation and research guidelines to benefit the entire society.

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