Social Innovation in the Basque Country

نوآوری اجتماعی در کشور باسک

نوآوری اجتماعی در کشور باسک

Many know the Basque Country for its beautiful landscapes, delicious food and rich culture, but not everyone knows how the Basque Country should function as an autonomous community and how this situation affects the region’s economy, social structure and global connections. Moreover, when it comes to social innovation, the Basque Country stands firmly ahead of European countries.

The Basque Country, or Oscady in the Basque language, is a special region in Spain that is located on the eastern part of the Cantabrian coast and has an area of 7,234 square kilometers. This area is very important because it connects the European countries of the Atlantic Ocean. The official languages of this region are Spanish and Basque. The Basque Country is divided into three provinces: Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, and Araba. The main cities in the region are Bilbao, Donostia-San Sebastián, and Vitoria-Gasteiz. Vitoria-Gasteiz is known as the capital of the region, where the Basque Parliament and the headquarters of the Basque Government are located.

A look at the economic and social situation of the Basque Country
The latest information about the Basque Country shows that the conditions of the unemployment and poverty crisis have improved. This information also shows a picture of people’s life and economic and commercial activities in this region.

The government of the Basque Country has set up a system to manage various responsibilities. They deal with things like education, industry, culture, health, social services, as well as employment. Also, taxes are collected locally and a fee called a “copo” is paid to the national government for services rendered, along with a sum of money to help the various regions of Spain. This tax system follows the principles of the European Court of Justice.

In the 1970s, the Basque Country suffered a major crisis. It was in this decade that Spain changed its dictatorial government to a democratic system. To overcome this crisis, the Basque government took serious measures in areas such as taxation, labor relations, laws, and financial affairs. These measures were taken to solve the problems caused by the crisis, which lasted for more than 10 years, and its effects affected the following decades as well. At that time, many people were employed in old industries such as steel and shipbuilding. Today, the main challenges of the Basque Country include an aging population, tackling youth unemployment and improving education.

Since the 1970s, the Basque people have expressed their creativity in finding new solutions to solve problems and contribute to society. They have come up with various actions, ideas, and policies to find practical solutions to innovate and meet social needs. For example, by emphasizing education, they adjusted to the needs of the labor market and reduced the number of students who leave school early. In addition, in Basque, there is a special commitment to accept vulnerable people in the society. This acceptance and participation in society is a key aspect of social innovation in the Basque Country. According to Braithwaite, social innovation occurs when there is a need and it depends on the specific social demand or challenge at that time.

The evolution path of social innovation in the Basque Country
Social innovation is like programs or actions that create extensive positive changes in people’s way of life. These measures help all people to feel more connected and belong to their community and promote the identity of communities in a smart and sustainable way.

In the Basque Country, people have long made efforts to make life better for everyone, including the creation of schools and businesses that help the region grow. But it was only a while ago that these actions were called “social innovation”.

With the passage of time, Basque approaches to creating these positive changes have undergone many changes and transformations.

Social and economic indicators of the Basque Country
Social and economic indicators of the Basque Country
Phase I (1980s): The focus was on using technology to help businesses grow.
The second phase (a little later): universities were also taken into consideration and proposed new solutions to solve social problems.
The third phase (now): working on smart strategies for innovation to include these social improvements (innovation) of any activity.
Recent developments: In the last decade, the Basque people have transformed social innovation from social action to a broader program involving universities, technology centers, businesses, banks and local government. This action has led to the creation of many connections and partnerships, which has led to the cooperation of different groups even with the difference of ideas.

Examples of success: In this field, Basque has seen significant successes; For example, a cooperative called Peñascal Cooperativa that shows how an idea can turn into something bigger and more serious. They also have partnerships to solve challenges, such as improving conditions for older people, for which they were also encouraged by the European Union.

In summary, the process of social innovation in the Basque Country began with the aim of helping the local community and soon became part of a larger program in which different groups cooperated. It shows that by working together and sharing ideas, even if they are opposed, positive change can be made and life can be improved for everyone.

Building a better society
The experience of social innovation in the Basque Country has shown us that significant changes in society, such as the transformation of the city of Bilbao, happen when different innovations work together and in the right conditions. From the Basque experience, three basic lessons can be drawn for creating a social innovation ecosystem.

First, collaboration between public and private groups is critical in supporting social innovation at multiple levels. Second, organizations should have a high ability to understand and solve social problems and look at emerging ideas with a readiness to accept them. And third, creating spaces for social innovation, including organizational networks and groups, helps everyone come up with smart solutions to social problems together.

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