The European Social Innovation Competition, launched in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos, is a challenge prize run by the European Commission across all European countries, now in its sixth year. The 2018 Competition is titled RE:THINK LOCAL and seeks to find the most innovative projects, products, services, business models and collaborations that empower young people to participate fully in a changing economy.
The competition calls for social innovations that are inspired by, make use of or address specific local characteristics creating opportunities for young people in the new economy, also known as the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. New technologies have led to trends such as improved connectivity, automation, decentralised manufacturing and digitalization. However, the impact of these trends is uneven: some regions and communities benefit, whereas others experience job losses and deindustrialisation
New technologies and ways of working have the potential to revitalise regions facing problems. Innovative solutions can build resilience within communities, address their specific needs and generate sustainable economic activity and employment opportunities.
Young people must be involved, engaged and empowered to make the most of new opportunities and supported to develop the skills and capabilities to harness change. This happens on a local level. An opportunity exists to ensure young people are not only resilient but also equipped to shape and lead the new economy.
In particular, the competition was calling for proposals in the form of:
- Initiatives that use new technologies and ways of working to provide opportunities for marginalised youth within their local communities;
- Ideas that assist young people who wouldn’t otherwise have become innovators to create their own opportunities for smart, inclusive and sustainable employment in their local environment;
- Ideas co-created with young people to respond to specific requirements in their local community for skills, experiences and opportunities;
- Solutions to improve the quality of life and financial security of youth in irregular work
- Innovations that provide information, advice and guidance to young people so they can navigate their options in the new economy;
- Programmes that equip the next generation of workers with skills that allow young people to harness technological change.
- Assessment of 250 entries and recommendation of judges from different countries for the selection of the semi-finalists.
- Selection of Local Mentors from Living Labs across Europe to support the semi-finalists through their development process and provide them with specialized assistance. We will deliver a workshop at the Academy on user-centred design. We will contribute to mapping the social innovation ecosystem in Europe to help connect semi-finalists with relevant support organisations.
- Contribution to the communications strategy and tested messaging documents to make sure they were culturally appropriate. We will use the digital toolkit to spread the word about the Competition through their communication channels (newsletters, social media, blogs etc). The toolkit will be shared with Living Labs across Europe and Horizon 2020 countries and will be actively promoted by 10 particular target countries each year.
- Identifying speakers and venues and participation at key events.