Are you a digital social innovator? Come join our new network and get on the map
Monday, 16 September 2013
Today we launch (in beta) www.digitalsocial.eu, a new network of European organisations and communities involved in supporting or delivering digital social innovation.
The network is part of a large research project on digital social innovation (DSI) funded by the European Commission and delivered by a group of partners.
Through the project we hope to develop a better understanding of digital social innovation; what is the potential for services to use digital technologies to achieve a social impact (see this blog on Safecast, one of our favourite examples of this); who are the organisations and communities delivering DSI services or supporting its growth; and finally, what can EU and national policy makers do to encourage more digital innovation for social good?
So what do we mean by digital social innovation? Almost any web tools, and, in fact, the internet itself, can be seen as being digital tools which enable people to generate social good. These tools can be as diverse as Twitter informing audiences about a range of democratic points of view or social enterprises using Basecamp to start up quicker than they ever dreamt of before.
But we're particularly interested in organisations that support or operate online services that do all of the following:
- Focuses on grass-roots or "bottom-up" communities of users.
- Uses online/digital tools or methods in a disruptive way
- Makes a positive social impact
- Works in the European Union
- Creates a "network effect" through collaboration online ie the larger number of users a service has, the better it works.
So, how are we trying to understand these organisations and services? We think that the best way is to launch a network, with an accompanying website to help us.
This brings us to digitalsocial.eu. We're using the site to ask organisations to tell us what they're up to. Ultimately, we will use this information to develop findings and policy recommendations on the type of projects and activities organisations are working on in different parts of Europe, where the strong and weak networks are between organisations working on DSI and how funders and policy makers can use this knowledge to better engage with and support DSI in Europe.
Organisations that join will go onto our DSI map. We hope that this will be a very simple interface to let people know who is doing what and where.
In addition, we will make all data captured about organisations and organisational relationships available as an open data set on the website for users to download and investigate, just as any custom code developed in the course of developing the website, database and dynamic visualisations shall be shared back with the relevant open source communities.
If you think you should be on the map, you should join the network.
If you have any questions about the research or feedback on digitalsocial.eu please don't hesitate to get in touch, either via our email or through twitter.