Selected examples of social innovation and insights discovered via the research, show that in the city of Varaždin the area of social policy public administration has developed the capacity to understand the relevant issues. Their active work provides a framework for cooperation and encourages development of new programmes. In our case, it turned out that the public administration and other stakeholders, such as the Croatian Employment Service and development agencies, provided considerable support for social innovation in Varaždin. Of course, they work within their budget and situational constraints. Civil society organisations and other stakeholders of social innovation also recognise the public administration as a cooperative stakeholder and they are developing partnerships. They know that, in them, they can find reliable partners for their initiatives.
Examples of social innovations in Varaždin showed that a certain amount of social capital is evident in the local community. Citizens, mostly younger and better educated, are willing to join and act for their own interests, respecting the interests of others, particularly of vulnerable social groups, and being aware of public good. There have been a number of new initiatives, not only in our observed fields but also beyond13. There is a critical mass of stakeholders that are recognisable and have the capacity to act. Those in the local community can create a structure of action that will develop new projects. The potential for the future action is that they recognise each other and have created certain social networks that can stimulate action by using common resources, trust, norms and values that they share. Certainly, it helps that Varaždin is a smaller community and most of them know each other. Thus, they have established contacts on almost a daily basis and they are turn to each other in many situations. This facilitates the flow of information between them and facilitates the coordination of action. Projects that they develop certainly contribute to strengthening social cohesion of local communities.
On the other side, the attitude of the city government towards social innovation is somewhat detached. In the space of discourse of the city council, we did not find awareness of social innovation as a concept. In their discussions, such issues do not receive adequate attention. Therefore, it seems that the stability of future support for social innovation, primarily financial, will largely depend on the city administration. We do not see signs that city government will soon embrace and recognise social innovations. However, some financial support exists and solid funding decisions are mostly delegated by public administration. They have significantly greater competence in this area. Therefore, the fact that social innovations are not recognisable in the discourse of city council and politicians, it may not necessarily be bad. Social innovations would not obtain additional support, but at least existing support is channelled by delegating responsibilities to public administration that make efficient use of it. For further sustainability of social innovation it would be necessarily to prove the usefulness of this kind of action to the city government and/or raise public attention and awareness to generate interest. That may demand increased management or marketing skills of people involved in social innovation projects. There is also space for the involvement of the private sector that is for now unrecognised. In addition, there is an opportunity for applying for EU funds for such projects. Action in these areas would certainly help to increase the stability and opportunities for sustainable social innovation, relying on capacities and support of public administration and developed level of social capital among all of stakeholders in local welfare system.