The +RESILIENT project organized its 6th Transfer Webinar on the 8th of October 2021, dedicated to discussing the main contributions of the project in the field of skills for social innovation and sustainable organizations as well as presenting the pilot actions carried out in different regions. The event was organized by the Gender and ICT research programme of the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and coordinated by researcher Lídia Arroyo, who led a +RESILIENT transnational study on the required skills and organizational elements for social and digital innovation in enterprises operating in the social economy.
Massimo Allulli, a member of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI), chaired the event and summarized the overall goals of the +RESILIENT project, an Interreg MED Programme initiative that brings together a partnership of eight Mediterranean countries to tackle the needs for innovation useful to promote socially responsive SMEs and create new jobs, especially in the social economy. Lídia Arroyo, a researcher at Gender and ICT (IN3-Universitat Oberta de Catalunya), presented the results of the +RESILIENT transnational study that assessed the professional skills and organisational factors required to generate sustainable social digital innovation and discussed its implications in the debate of the future of work.
The +RESILIENT study gathered qualitative and quantitative information from a sample of 366 participants from 11 regions and 7 EU countries. It analysed both the soft and hard skills required at the individual level and the factors at the organisational level to promote inclusive social and digital innovation. “The +RESILIENT study attended not only to the required skills for social digital innovation but also explored how to have the capacity to mobilise these skills”, Lídia Arroyo affirmed. On the other hand, the research study identified the skills that assure an inclusive intersectional perspective and are especially relevant for the social economy. 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 and communication skills, as well as self-confidence in one’s own capacities, individual ethic commitment and values, and adaptability to work with people with different views and approaches. Regarding the main hard skills for social digital innovation, the researcher emphasized socio-analytical abilities to adequately manage and analyse data and information to understand the social context and identify social needs. Also, study findings showed the importance 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).
To end, Lídia Arroyo analysed the overall results of the +RESILIENT study in relation to current debates on the future of work. The researcher highlighted that the soft skills identified as relevant to foster social digital innovation by the social economy sector in the +RESILIENT study are similar to those digital skills and professional profiles for the future recently identified by the European Commission and by private enterprise sectors.
Francesca Nadalin, a member of the project lead partner in Veneto Region, presented the activities carried out in Italy as part of the +RESILIENT study. Being analytical and having the capacity to overview and understand the context were some of the main soft skills identified in this region. Also, the ability to be motivated and have communication and networking skills. One of the main findings was that there is not a unique profile to be a social innovator and it is essential to count on hybrid abilities that combine both soft and hard skills. “A social innovator lies behind conventional thinking and is able to inspire and think out of the box”, Francesca Nadalin affirmed. She stressed that even though there is not a unique professional profile for social innovation there are essential skills that can be trained and learned.
Rosa Panades, from Barcelona Activa, explained the pilot plan developed in Barcelona from the +RESILIENT study focusing on the care sector in dependent elder people. The pilot project in Barcelona included three axes: resources for career guidance and professional qualification education for care work sector jobs, raising social and political awareness for care work economy sector enhancement, and the identification of shadowed or partially known realities and sector future tendencies. Rosa Panades underlined that people working in the care sector have difficulties accessing education and training. In that regard, a new training framework is required that offers the possibility to certify and improve caregivers’ skills. On the other hand, new technologies and digitalization will have a decisive role in the future of the care sector, which will also have to make an effort to achieve digital skills for workers.
The +RESILIENT project has also established synergies with the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. Ana Vicente and Pau Alarcon, from BCN Vocational and Education Training Foundation, presented the work they have carried out in the VET sector in the fields of health and care, in which they incorporated part of the methodology of the +RESILIENT study. Results from the BCN Vocational and Education Training Foundation research showed the more relevant emerging professional profiles for the health and care sectors, and pointed at the difficulties to finding suitable profiles to hire. To conclude, Ana Vicente and Pau Alarcón highlighted the relevance of soft skills, especially care competent skills, and the need to promote health and care sector specializations in the VET system. “There is a need for qualification in the care sector and it is urgent to improve the care sector working conditions and guarantee talent retention”, Pau Alarcón affirmed.
Watch the video of the 6th Transfer Webinar at this link.
+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. The 6th Transfer Webinar was the last of a series of online events organized by +RESILIENT with the aim to transfer the knowledge generated by the project activities on topics such as the potential of digital tools to foster social innovation, how to support participation and stakeholders’ involvement in social innovation processes, social innovation and tourism, and the lessons learned on the role of public authorities in promoting social innovation and organisations with high social vocation and responsiveness.