The conceptualisation of social digital innovation and how to identify, generate and consolidate it within organizations to make them more resilient was the topic of the 6th webinar held by the +RESILIENT project. The event was organised on February 26, 2021, by the Gender and ICT research group of the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), one of the +RESILIENT partner institutions. It was open to all stakeholders interested in implementing social digital innovation, with the specific objectives to: providing analytical and practical tools on how to identify social digital innovation; identifying professional skills and organizational settings to generate an inclusive social digital innovation for resilient organizations, and offering tools to analyse the sustainability of technological social innovations as well as actions that allow to adapt to new contexts and create networks.
The +RESILIENT 6th Webinar was coordinated and conducted by Lídia Arroyo, researcher at Gender and ICT (IN3 – UOC) and member of the project team. The programme included presentations by experts on social digital innovation, participatory activities and open discussions with participants. Furthermore, the webinar transferred the results of a transnational, comparative study carried out by the +RESILIENT project which explored the skills and capabilities assessment for social innovation of socially responsive enterprises.
Summary of the webinar sessions
A total of 25 participants from 7 different countries – including Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain – took part in the event. After the opening welcome by Lídia Arroyo, Massimo Alluri, a member of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI), introduced the concept of social digital innovation and presented examples of relevant initiatives from Italy and other European countries. Massimo Alluri summarized existing definitions of social digital innovation and stressed that digital innovation is not always socially oriented. In that regard, he highlighted the conceptualization offered by the DSI4EU project, according to which digital social innovation aims to harness digital technologies to improve people’s lives and reorient technology towards social ends, use technology to create a more environmentally sustainable society, empower citizens to take more control over their lives, make governments more accountable and transparent, and promote alternatives to the dominant technological and business models.
The results of the transnational study developed by the +RESILIENT project on the skills and capabilities assessment for social digital innovation of socially responsive enterprises was presented by Lídia Arroyo (Gender and ICT – IN3, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) in the second session. Lídia Arroyo, who coordinated this +RESILIENT study together with GenTIC researcher Jörg Müller, introduced the theoretical framework and methodology of the research. The study gathered qualitative and quantitative information from a sample of 366 participants from 11 regions and 7 EU countries and assessed the required professional skills and organisational factors for social digital innovation both at the individual and organisational level. Among the main ‘soft skills’ identified as necessary to foster social digital innovation, Lídia Arroyo pointed out interpersonal skills such as empathy, management of social relations and conflicts, teamwork, leadership capabilities and communication skills, as well as individual ethic commitment and values. Regarding the main ‘hard skills’ for social digital innovation, the researcher emphasized the importance of digital skills combined with socio-analytical abilities to adequately manage information, understand the social context and identify social needs. On the other hand, Lídia Arroyo highlighted the increasing significance of interdisciplinary skills and the need to combine perspectives and abilities from different sectors and fields of knowledge (i.e., socio-humanistic and technological perspectives).
Paloma Valdivia and Carla Quesada, members of the Efficacy of Vocational Training (EFI) research group at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, gave a presentation on the key elements for sustainability of social digital innovation projects. The researchers introduced the TESLA model, a tool that helps to identify the main challenges of digital social innovation projects and improve their sustainability by considering internal and external factors around six dimensions: technological, economic, social, policy, organizational, and pedagogical. In a participatory slot, webinar attendants tested and discussed the TESLA model applied to two specific case studies in six small, parallel groups.
Jörg Müller, a senior researcher at Gender and ICT (IN3 – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya), talked about the required skills for team effectiveness in a communication based on the results of wider research carried out as part of the H2020 GEDII project. Jörg Müller pointed out the essential skills to build excellent teams and take the most out of team diversity, such as fostering psychological safety and trust among team members so that everyone feels safe to show curiosity, ask questions and acknowledge their own fallibility; focusing on solutions and avoiding ‘blame games’; facilitating cross-collaboration among all team members; acknowledging credit when it is due, and being aware of verbal and non-verbal communication.
To end, Lídia Arroyo (GenTIC – IN3, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) gave the audience a final presentation about the results of the +RESILIENT transnational study focused on the organizational elements for social digital innovation. Among the ‘soft skills’ for an inclusive social digital innovation, Lídia Arroyo stressed that care skills, which are linked to a feminist approach and comprise both self-care and mutual care, are essential in all type of organisations for a social economy. Regarding the main ‘hard skills’ for organisations to foster an inclusive social digital innovation, the study findings showed the importance of gender and intersectionality competences, which include knowledge on know how to design and implement gender equality measures and the integration of a gender dimension in innovation contents.
More information about +RESILIENT:
+RESILIENT (Mediterranean Open Resources for Social Innovation of Socially Responsive Enterprises) is a project of the Interreg MED Programme co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund that promotes open resources for social and digital innovation of socially responsible enterprises in the Mediterranean area, especially for companies operating in the social economy. This webinar was the last of a series of online events organized in the framework of +RESILIENT that tackled topics such as the use of open data, monitoring and evaluation methods for social innovation, ideation tools and techniques for public service design, and business models for social entrepreneurship and social responsibility.
Video recordings of the +RESILIENT 6th Webinar sessions are available at this link.
Conclusions of the study “Skills and Capabilities Assessment of Social Innovation of Socially Responsive Enterprises”, coordinated by Lidia Arroyo & Jörg Müller (UOC), and main results for Barcelona.