We've got lots coming up in the last four months of the EU-funded DSI4EU project. Here's an overview of our research, policy, events and practical work - and we'd love to have you involved.

We’ve now been working for over year on DSI4EU, supporting the growth and scale of digital social innovation (DSI), tech for good and civic tech across Europe through a mixture of research, policy and practical support. Over the course of 2018, our consortium of seven partners, led by Nesta, has been involved in or attended over 60 events and our partners organised over 30 peer-learning activities for practitioners across the continent. In April we published research exploring how “super node” organisations can support DSI to grow and in October we published a set of reports mapping DSI in six social areas. Our futures research has looked at big trends for technology, including the open movement and digital wellbeing. At Nesta, we've also been making great progress on our experimental DSI Index, which is now in the final stages of development, and continuing to build our database of DSI, which now includes over 2,000 organisations and almost 1,500 projects.

Photo of digitalsocial.eu platform on a tablet screen

The digitalsocial.eu platform brings together all our work on DSI and includes Europe's largest database of the field.

As we enter the final months of the project, our calendar is as busy as ever, so we thought we’d round up what’s coming up and let you know how to get involved and help our work.

If you have any further questions, or if we can help you, drop us a line at [email protected], and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @DSI4EU and sign up to our newsletter to keep updated with the project.

Measuring capacity to support DSI in cities: The DSI Index

Since January 2018, Nesta has been developing our experimental DSI Index, which aims to understand what factors support DSI in cities and to assess how different cities are currently performing.

We spent six months building a framework, which consists of seven themes: civil society, skills, funding, diversity and inclusion, support systems, infrastructure and collaboration. After using the second half of the year to source and analyse data, we recently completed a first version of the Index, which threw up lots of really exciting findings. Over the coming months we’re going to be refining our data, building user-friendly data visualisations and exploring the stories behind the scores. We’re also excited to be working on an "Ideas Bank" for city governments, bringing together promising policies and initiatives from across and beyond Europe, which will provide city leaders with insight into how they can better encourage and support DSI. Look out for the final results in June!

How you can get involved:

  • Do you know examples of city governments — in Europe or beyond — doing great work to support DSI? We want to know about it for our Ideas Bank! Share your favourite examples with us through this form.
  • Do you have a broad understanding of the DSI landscape in your country (or any other EU country)? Then please fill in our five-minute survey to provide us with better data for some of the Index’s trickiest indicators. We’d really appreciate your help.
  • If you know people who have an overview of DSI in any of the following countries in particular, please ask them to fill in the survey: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia.

Save the date — our final event

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be holding our final event in Warsaw, Poland on Tuesday 11 June, focusing on the role of cities in supporting DSI to grow and scale its impact. Bringing together city leaders, DSI practitioners, support organisations and researchers from across the continent, we’ll be exploring how leading cities are helping DSI to thrive and how we can spread best practice. We’ll be using the event to launch the Index and our Futures research (see below), to celebrate the DSI4EU project, and, just as importantly, to set a path for a future in which DSI reaches its full potential to tackle some of our biggest challenges.

How you can get involved:

  • We’ll be announcing further details very shortly, but for now save the date and make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter to be the first to hear more about it!

Influencing policy

This is an exciting time for the field of DSI. More people than ever are talking about the positive potential of technology for individuals, communities and democratic societies — but also about the growing risks. Over the coming months, we will be working to get the voice of DSI heard in the corridors of power and make sure that using technology as a force for good is at the heart of digital policymaking.

Our consortium partners have already been working to help governments better support DSI, including the European Commission, the cities of Barcelona and Amsterdam, the UK’s Office for Civil Society, the Polish Ministry of Digital Affairs and the German Federal Government.

Over the coming months we’re going to be continuing our work, focusing mainly on policy recommendations for the European Commission and other institutions. We’re excited to be working with DG-CONNECT to hold an event in Brussels on 26th April, where we’ll be bringing together civil servants and other stakeholders interested in DSI to discuss and refine policy ideas.

How you can get involved:

  • It’s super important to us that we build upon the great work done by other organisations in the influencing of policy to better support DSI. As a project supporting a wide range of organisations and fields, we want to amplify your voice. So if you’re working on DSI policy or related fields, we’d love to hear what you want to see happen at a policy level for DSI to grow and scale its impact.
  • Do you work at an EU institution, or think tanks, foundations or other organisations working to influence EU policy? Then please get in touch if you’d be interested in finding out more about our event on Friday 26 April.

Building positive futures

Our futures research, which began in June, has been a really exciting opportunity for us to open our minds to a more positive future for society where technology is a force for good, not for ill. Alongside our two short reports on big trends related to DSI, we’ve held three participatory workshops in London, Berlin and Barcelona, through which over 70 participants have boldly and creatively explored the challenges we might be facing as societies in ten years’ time and how emerging and existing technologies might be used to tackle them.

Between now and June, we’ll be building upon these ideas to construct a set of exploratory scenarios for the future of DSI. Through this research, we want to provide an alternative to some of the more dystopian stories we’re accustomed to, to understand what we need to do to shape a better future and to engage a wider public in the field of DSI.

In addition, we’ll be publishing a third trend analysis in our series later this year, as well as producing a set of three short trend guides to help civil society organisations understand how they can take advantage of technological trends to deliver real world impact.

How you can get involved:

  • We’re very keen to hear about the most cutting-edge examples of DSI which you think might be the mainstream ten years from now. We’ll be including case studies of some of the most forward-thinking projects in our research, so let us know via email if you want to alert us to any!

Sharing learning from the DSI4EU clusters

DSI4EU partners in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Milan and Warsaw have been engaging closely with practitioners over the past year to encourage collaboration and peer learning within different social areas. We’ve already shared some of the learning from our clusters through our reports on growing DSI through “super nodes” and Mapping DSI. Over the next few months, we’ll bring together more of what we’ve learned in these fields so that the lessons can be spread even further around and beyond the DSI community. Keep your eyes peeled!

How you can get involved:

Join one of our last cluster events!


Matt Stokes

Matt Stokes

Matt Stokes

Senior Researcher, Government Innovation

Matt was a senior researcher working on the collaborative economy and digital social innovation.

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