About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Over the past year and a half we’ve been mapping and supporting digital social innovation (DSI) across Europe as part of the DSI4EU project. We’ve crowdmapped almost 2,000 organisations and over 1,000 projects that are using collaborative and social technologies – like crowdsourcing, open hardware and peer-to-peer platforms – to tackle some of the big social challenges we face in our societies today.

DSI banner

We’ve come across and spoken to hundreds of people who are changing lives, changing communities, changing public services and changing our environment. But the DSI community is not always as good at communicating its impact as it should be. Sometimes, that might be because the technology is quite complex. At other times, it is because of a tendency to focus too much on technology, and not enough on what it’s actually doing. Sometimes, it’s that people doing great stuff just don’t have the time, money or willingness to blow their own trumpet as much as they could.

Raising the profile of DSI – the individual projects, and the phenomenon as a whole – is essential if we want to increase the impact it’s having. Now that we understand more about what DSI is, it’s time to start scaling projects, integrating them into public services, and taking citizen engagement beyond the early adopters and to mass audience.

DSI map

Mapping DSI organisations in Europe, from our interactive data visualisation.

To that end, we’ve put together examples from six different social areas where DSI projects are making a difference. We have tried to select projects using a range of technologies from a range of different countries in Europe – and in every social area there are many more we haven’t been able to profile.

We hope you find the examples an accessible way of understanding what DSI is and how it is having a positive impact across and beyond Europe. If you’re interested in finding out more and becoming part of the community, please do sign up to the digitalsocial.eu website, post a comment below, or drop us an email at [email protected].

Click on any of the images below to get started!

Icon images Creative Commons via The Noun Project. Clockwise from top-left: Eliricon, IYIKON, Percy Batalier, Gerald Wildmoser, Lluisa Iborra, IYIKON.