Comparative Report: Social Innovations in European Cities - Wilco Project


The project entitled “Welfare innovation at the local level in favour of cohesion” (WILCO), funded by the 7th framework programme of the EU from 12/2010 to 1/2014, was given a double task:

  • finding models, features and trends in local social innovation in support of social cohesion that appear across Europe despite national/local differences;
  • looking at local contexts and welfare systems: what are key factors for diffusion and upgrading of such innovations?

In a nutshell, WILCO aimed to examine, through cross-national comparative research, how local welfare systems affect social inequalities and how they favour social cohesion, with a special focus on the missing link between innovations at the local level and their successful transfer to and implementation in other settings.

This comparative report on social innovations in European cities consists of two parts. The first part clarifies the intellectual basis and the practical guidelines as they have been developed in order to find out and analyse innovations in the twenty cities studied. Four general aspects are addressed in this first part

  1. The understanding of social innovations;
  2. Methods to sort out local examples of social innovation;
  3. Ways of mapping the context of selected innovations;
  4. Guidelines for ways of presenting and analysing the innovations.

n the second part, a structured overview is presented on what we see as the main recurrent patterns of approaches and instruments as they show up in the descriptions of local innovations presented in the book. This major part of the introduction represents what one might call a possible way of reading and understanding the innovations from a social policy perspective. What are these innovations offering in terms of potential lessons to be learned by (local) social policies and those engaged in developing (local) social services that work better for social cohesion?

Please download the report here: Comparative Report Social Innovations