What are the key professional skills to generate social digital innovation in organizations? And what organizational elements are necessary to guarantee its sustainability and resilience? An international study coordinated by GenTIC researchers Lídia Arroyo and Jörg Müller has identified the organizational gaps and capabilities for social and digital innovation in enterprises operating in the social economy, as well as exploring the related skills that are considered key for new professional profiles. The research was carried out in 2019 within the framework of the +RESILIENT project (Mediterranean Open Resources for Social Innovation of Socially Responsive Enterprises) and covered 11 regions of 8 EU countries in the Mediterranean area, including Albania, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. In addition to coordinating the transnational comparative study, Lídia Arroyo and Jörg Müller carried out the research on social digital innovation in the social economy and care sectors in the Barcelona area integrating a gender perspective.


Social digital innovation in Barcelona’s social economy and care sectors

The study on the skills and capabilities assessment for social digital innovation in the Barcelona region involved interviews and focus groups with 41 representatives of the social and solidarity economy and the care sector. The research analysis considered both ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills that are key for social innovation and specifically addressed the aspects related to fostering an inclusive digital innovation.


Results showed that the main ‘soft’ skills for social innovation include communication and interpersonal skills such as empathy, teamwork, active listening competencies, and leadership and participatory skills in all job positions. On the other hand, care skills, which are linked to a feminist perspective and comprise both self-care and mutual care, are seen as essential skills for an inclusive social digital innovation that guarantees work-life balance in time organisation and takes into account emotional impacts and support in and outside the work environment.


The main ‘hard’ skills identified in the study point to analytical skills to provide a strategic view on social innovation and polyvalent abilities to avoid workers’ segmentation. Digital skills are seen as a key asset for all workers and counting on hybrid profiles that combine both social science/humanities and technological backgrounds is deemed to be particularly relevant. Gender competencies are highlighted as essential skills to generate an inclusive social digital innovation that integrates the gender dimension and attends to social diversity in innovation contents and products.


A summary of the “Study on Skills and Capabilities Assessment of Social Innovation of Socially Responsive Enterprises” coordinated by Lídia Arroyo and Jörg Müller (UOC) is available at this link.


Dissemination and knowledge transfer of research results

The main results of the +RESILIENT study have been shared by UOC researcher Lídia Arroyo with academic and non-academic stakeholders at diverse university forums and dissemination events open to the wider society. Besides the research and higher education community, the sets of stakeholders to whom research findings have been disseminated include policymakers, SMEs and organisations of the social economy ecosystem, business organisations and civil society organisations. The details and links of the conferences and seminars where the study has been presented and discussed are included below:

      • Arroyo, Lídia (2021, June 8). Programes per reduir les bretxes digitals [Programmes to reduce digital gaps]. Internacional Conference “Data Feminism. Dades i economies emergents: reptes i oportunitats per a les dones“. Organized by La CIBA, the centre of resources for women, innovation and feminist economy of Santa Coloma de Gramenet City Council (video of the event).
      • Arroyo, Lídia (2021, May 26). Impactes de la pandèmia en l’ocupació de les dones i reptes en el treball del futur [Impacts of the pandemic on women’s employment and challenges in the work of the future]. Workshop “Les dones i la seva ocupabilitat a Lleida”. Organized by the Confederation of Business Organizations of Lleida.
      • Arroyo, Lídia (2021, April 13). Participation at the round table “Reactivació de les persones. Ocupació de qualitat i sostenible” [Reactivation of people. Quality and sustainable employment]. Barcelona reAct, event organized by the Barcelona City Council (video of the event)
      • Arroyo, Lídia (2021, March 6). El treball de cures i les competències professionals del futur [Care work and professional skills of the future]. Act of delivery of diplomas of the course “Hygienic and sanitary care of dependent people”. Co-organized by Barcelona Activa, the Diverse Migrant Women Association and Espai Municipal BarcelonaCuida (video of the event).
      • Arroyo, Lídia (2021, March 5). Training session “Cap a una nova organització del temps. Tecnologia i organització del temps” [Towards a new organization of time. Technology and time organization]. Course “Polítiques del temps: Estratègies i eines per a personal municipal” [Time policies: Strategies and tools for municipal staff]. Organized by the Barcelona City Council.
      • Arroyo, Lídia (2021, March 3). Ciutadania Digital Feminista [Feminist Digital Citizenship]. Presentation event of La CIBA Campus. Organized by La CIBA, the centre of resources for women, innovation and feminist economy of Santa Coloma de Gramenet City Council.
      • Arroyo, Lídia (2021, March 3). La brecha digital de género [The gender digital divide]. Conference of Women Consumers United for the Transformation of the Consumer System. Organized by ADICAE.
      • Arroyo, Lídia (2021, February 26). Skills for Social Digital Innovation & Organizational elements for social digital innovation. +RESILIENT 6th Webinar on “Social Digital Innovation”. Organized by Gender and ICT (IN3 – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) as part of the +RESILIENT project.
      • Arroyo, Lídia (2020, Novembre 18). Las brechas digitales y desigualdades de género ante el huracán de la pandemia del COVID-19 [Digital gaps and gender inequalities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic hurricane]. Webinar Comunicación y Género: Visibilizando la desigualdad de género en el siglo XXI. Organized by Universidad de Santo Tomás, Chile.
      • Arroyo, Lídia (2020, October 26-27). Las competencias digitales para el crecimiento económico [Digital skills for economic growth]. I Congreso CADEP ACACIA. Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal, Perú.


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.


Photo by fauxels on Pexels.

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