Social Innovation in Germany – Reviving a Prominent Concept

نوآوری اجتماعی در آلمان – احیای یک مفهوم برجسته

نوآوری اجتماعی در آلمان – احیای یک مفهوم برجسته

Throughout history, Germany has excelled in inventing new ideas, not just in technology, but in various other areas as well. From Bismarck’s “national security system” to the energy transfer process, Germany has been innovative in a variety of ways. However, only recently has the government paid special attention to the idea of social innovation. This attention is well shown in the national strategy of “advanced technology”, which currently includes a broader view of the concept of innovation.

made in Germany
Germany is one of the largest and most powerful countries in Europe. The country is famous for producing and exporting distinctive products, especially in the field of technology and industry. In the past, Germany’s focus has been primarily on inventing new technologies. But now, they are trying to implement a larger program that involves collaboration between different government departments to turn new ideas into reality. This plan is not just focused on technology; Rather, it includes creating positive changes in society, which is called social innovation.

Germany is known for its quality engineering and outstanding industrial products, and it has such a reputation in this field that the “Made in Germany” label affixed to various devices is an instant testament to the good quality of the product. In this way, the Germans have long been known as the pioneers of European industry; In addition to industrial achievements, Germany also has a history of social innovations in its repertoire, such as the concept of kindergarten and Bismarck’s national security system, which greatly influenced the German welfare system. Companies like Krupp have also played an important role by providing social benefits to their employees.

In recent times, Germany has shown itself to be a leader not only in producing skilled products, but also in finding new ways to improve society by introducing innovative ideas such as the dual system of vocational training and the Energiewende (energy transition).

Finding new ways to improve things
In Germany, policies to support new technologies have been very successful with measures such as the creation of science parks, collaborations between universities and industries, and supporting the growth of startups through research programs. However, the focus has been more on technology and less on social improvements. Some people believe that innovation should include social changes and contradictions.

In 1989, Wolfgang Zapf reintroduced the term “social innovation” and defined it as new ways of achieving goals, especially in organizations, laws, and life. These social innovations can change society and solve problems better than the old ways.

In the last decade, interest in social innovation has increased and it is recognized as an essential part of societal changes. However, we still do not have a clear picture of the role of social innovation in major societal changes. Some experts emphasize that it is necessary to update the thinking and go beyond the old ideas about the harmony of technology and society.

This interest in social innovation has also appeared in government studies, which cover a variety of issues including regional activities, effective strategies for government support, and support for investments and businesses that have a positive impact on society.

The driving force of civil society
Initially, ordinary people and small local groups were the main drivers behind the renewed crisis of public dialogue. These people and networks benefited from financial support from institutions such as Ashoka or the Schwab Foundation.

Over time, more formal support structures and systems emerged, such as social entrepreneurship hubs and centers. Civil society groups were more involved in activities aimed at creating positive social change. Networks were formed and events such as the “meeting with the future”, which has been held since 2007, attracted public attention.

In 2014, a group of partners from civil society, business, government and academia published the “Social Innovation for Germany” declaration. However, while there is still room for improvement through the integration of social responsibility into core business activities, a recent survey of 600 large German companies (with more than 250 employees) shows that both businesses and community groups Madani are committed to dealing with challenges such as demographic change, digitalization and social inequality.

Social innovation as part of high technology strategy
Germany is a leading country in the field of inventing new technologies. But when it comes to social innovation, Germany’s performance is not as strong as other European countries. The traditional approach to social innovation in Germany is known as a limited and unclear solution.

To solve this problem, in 2014, Germany introduced a new strategy called “High Technology Strategy” (HTS). This strategy focuses on research and innovation and pays particular attention to social innovation. The purpose of this strategy is to attract more people’s participation in shaping innovation policies and encourage collaboration between universities, companies and society.

In 2015, an international conference was held where Chancellor Angela Merkel and global experts discussed how innovations can improve people’s lives. This discussion included the role of policies, companies, universities and the general public in creating effective solutions. In 2016, a conference supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research continued this dialogue and provided a platform for social innovation activities to connect and innovative ideas to be discussed.

last word
In recent years, people’s interest in social innovation has increased dramatically, especially in Germany. The role of social innovation is expected to be crucial in the future of the German economy and society, especially with the ongoing digital transformation. The transition to a more digital economy, also known as “Industry 4.0”, has redoubled the importance of how social innovation and technology work together. In other words, new technologies can play an important role in the development of social innovations, and for this reason, social innovations can improve new technologies. In fact, they are like partners who can improve each other’s power.

بدون دیدگاه

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *