Do you know social innovations? We have them in Slovakia, too!
At the Pontis Foundation, we have been supporting and developing social innovations for a long time. We are also part of several expert groups focused on this issue.
The 21st of April is the World Day of Creativity and Innovation. It was celebrated for the first time in 2018. According to the UN, it should stimulate us to think creatively about how to achieve a sustainable future for all. Besides technological innovations, there are also social innovations. These are projects that offer a new way of solving acute but also long-lasting problems in society. The best ones emerge through know-how sharing and the cooperation of several sectors.
How can we recognise social innovations?
- They respond to a problem in society.
- They offer a unique solution for it.
- They measure their impact.
- They have the ambition to change the system.
- They connect actors.
- They are sustainable in the long term.
Our programmes are social innovations, too
We strengthen our expertise in this field through developing programmes that fall under the term ‘social innovation‘.
The programme was created in 2017 to respond to many calls for changes in education in Slovak education. Generation 3.0 seeks innovative educational approaches, helps them with effective settings and supports their dissemination to schools. It has been operating for five years, which brought more than 250 registered projects and almost 16,500 participations in activities intended for the pedagogical community.
The Pontis Foundation’s unique after-school programme responds to the need to develop 21st-century skills: entrepreneurship, and soft and digital skills. It has been operating since 2019 at primary schools. First, we launched a centre in Trnava, and last year also in Zvolen. We also cooperate with the city hostel Fortuna in Bratislava, which uses our educational content when working with youth.
We cooperate with the state as experts
Social innovation is one of the main topics at the European Union. They are perceived as a tool to achieve permanent solutions to the social problems of individual countries.
In the new programme period of 2021-2027, it is expected that social innovations will be part of the upcoming Slovakia Programme. Since we had been focusing on social innovations at the Pontis Foundation for a long time, we were invited as experts to various working groups operating at state institutions.
Office of the Government Plenipotentiary for the Development of Civil Society
Our colleague Janka Žišková became an external expert on the topic of social innovation within the Partnership Project. One of its goals is to create a stable platform that will be dedicated to the systemic support of social innovations in Slovakia.
Articles on social innovations, authored by Janka, are gradually being published on the office’s website.
Ministry of Investments, Regional Development and Informatisation
As voluntary members of the social innovation platform, we participated in the creation of the Social Innovation Handbook and good practice projects in the field of social innovation. We are members of the Partnership for Cohesion Policy 2020+ working group. Together with 18 other organisations, we represent the non-governmental sector in the process of preparing the new programme period of 2021-2027 and funds.
Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the SR
We became a partner in the national project entitled Social Innovation Plus: Competence Centres. The main aim of the project is the creation of the National Competence Centre, which is supposed to support the introduction of social innovations and the exchange of knowledge between the participating countries (Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria). At the same time, the project mapped the current state of the ecosystem of social innovations in Slovakia. The plan is to create a strategy to support social innovations, which will allow for funds to be used more efficiently.