Social innovation refers to new strategies, concepts, ideas and organizations that meet social needs of all kinds - from working conditions and education to community development and health - and that extend and strengthen civil society. [Wikipedia]
Objectives: The workshop seeks to integrate views at the intersection of several fields: computer and computational social science, policy design and implementation social science, and social innovation and technology development. The formal objective of the workshop is the collaborative drafting of a Manifesto on Social Media for Social Innovation, summarizing the challenges and proposals discussed at the workshop.
The workshop will explore two dimensions along which research might help social innovation to take place at a larger scale:
The conceptual and computational development of new frameworks for public policy modeling and implementation to help public authorities to harness the full potential of Social Media and social innovation;
The design of new Social Media tools offering better support to social innovators and policy designers..
Overview: There is an obvious interest in using Social Media to achieve greater proximity between administrations and citizens. Nevertheless, in most cases public policies are still developed following a top-down approach, with policy frameworks mainly determined by existing policy and Social Media tools. At the same time, the currently most available Social Media tools are quite limited in their support to the kind of interactions involved in sustained large-scale deliberations and cooperation agreements.
Social innovations, encompassing new forms of private-public partnership, are increasingly seen as necessary to better address a number of pressing social problems. The idea behind it is that new forms of engagement of citizens and private organizations can bring about substantial improvements of productivity in the “social sector” (public services plus charity).
Empirical research has allowed to identify some basic design principles and rules behind successful and sustained bottom-up collaborative arrangements, of which communication is one key ingredient. Therefore, it could be expected that properly applying existing and new Social Media tools to those communication procedures will be a means of achieving the improvements on speed and scale required to extend the reach of social innovation. At the same time, research in the design and modeling of policies taking full account of this potential will also be required.
Research Topics: Topics of interest include, but are not restricted to the following:
Design of innovative tools for social participation and collaboration;
Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of social participation;
Challenges and opportunities regarding the use of Social Media to address public policy problems;
Case studies of successful applications of Social Media to achieve social innovation (in particular, based on large-scale Social Media data analysis);
Policy areas best suited to apply Social Media as an instrument for social innovation (e.g. for inclusive audience: older people or developing countries).