Promoting social innovation in the public sector. Investment, innovation, impact
The innovative element of a practice should be first studied by measuring the necessity, opportunity and urgency of the specific social problem upon which it is sought to intervene (appropriateness), which in turn should be based on data (evidence). These data should be relevant and useful for improving the chances of a policy producing good outcomes for users and an efficient use of public money. Innovation needs also to include a novelty element and have the purpose to generate social benefits which links with the dimension of appropriateness. In addition, as highlighted above, an innovative practice needs to make a difference for which it should be studied on the basis of its possible scope on the target population, the social risks and sectors it wants to address. Finally, a social innovation practice needs to foresee the measurement of impact, as this will allow social policy to move forward towards a more effective social welfare provision. For instance, a social practice needs to be able to prove a degree of improvement which may go from an organisational level to a financial or services level. In addition, it should demonstrate a degree of improvement in final outcomes (whether these are health improvement, preventing social problems or improving the educational level of a target group). In order for this to be properly measured, practices need to include evaluation mechanisms or indicators. (fragment of text)
- Macdonald G. (2003): SCIE Report 4: Using Systematic Reviews to Improved Social Care. London, Social Care Institute for Excellence.