TRANSITION - Transnational Network for Social Innovation Incubation - was funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme. It brought together a network of diverse organisations, based in six different European countries, aiming to support and scale social innovations.
European BIC Network, Belgium (coordinator)
The Young Foundation, UK
Paris Region Entreprises, France
Social Innovation Park, Spain
Social Entrepreneurs Agency, Portugal
Social Innovation Exchange, UK
Over 30 months, we experimented with different incubation methodologies and supported over 300 social innovation projects.
The framework methodology developed, tested and implemented by TRANSITION partners is the Social Innovation Journey, an action format, focusing on the sequence of steps social innovators may go through acquiring the skills and capabilities they need to grow and increase the level of positive impact on the wider society.
The Journey is a progressive empowerment of the incubator as well, who can recognize the different entry points, the steps to follow, the expected outcomes and the activities needed to achieve them.
Many of the challenges that social innovators face are the same as any innovator or entrepreneur - finding a good product-market fit, seeking funding, building a good delivery model. But what makes social innovation distinctive is its focus on creating social and environmental impact. This can be achieved both through outcomes that the innovation itself delivers, and through the process of developing it - for example, when potential beneficiaries are involved in co-creation.
Over the course of TRANSITION, we explored ways to make social impact central to our support. Our ‘Social Innovation Journey’ Toolbox includes 13 tools that Scaling Centres have created or adapted from other models, that can help ‘bring out the social’ in innovation incubation.
TRANSITION partners developed and refined a series of tools to support social innovators at different stages of the Social Innovation Journey. The tools were used to help them enhance their social impact and tackle complex issues in development and scaling.
The SIJ Toolbox presents a selection of them according to the 5 main areas of the journey: who, what, how-viability, how–feasibility and why-social impact.
Each tool is introduced by a brief description that explains:
• what it is;
• why to use it;
• how to work with it;
• and when to use it.
A simplified template visualizes the sequence of actions and tasks and guides the social innovators to complete them.
Tools can be adapted to different contexts and different social innovations: most of them can be used by both early- and late-stage innovation. Nevertheless some tools require a wider knowledge of the sector and a deeper development of the social innovation in order to express their full potentiality.