Engaging the Public (Work Package 5)


This workpackage will map the methods and approaches to engaging citizens and society in the different phases of the innovation process and at international, nation state, regional and local levels Its objectives are to assess the value of public engagement in social innovation practices and social enterprise and to identify methods, approaches and policies needed to better/further engage public in the social innovation process and social enterprise.

Description of work

Citizens have a growing appetite to shape services and innovate themselves. New techniques, methods and business models are making it possible for many more people to engage in social change. This has been prompted by a converging set of pressures for enhanced public participation. Most notably, this has stemmed from a recognition that traditional, existing modes of public participation – which often take the form of  assive consultation – provide a limited and increasingly outmoded form of participation, which no longer meets the public’s full needs in an age of democratic deficit, declining trust in decision-makers and increasing access to information. It is also a reaction in part against excessive deference to professions, and the idea that the expert knows best. Many of these methods have been greatly helped by the ability of the web to draw in a far wider range of people and ideas - new online platforms are enabling people to take part in discussions and make decisions over the allocation of budgets and resources. Public involvement in implementation and delivery is increasing, including the growth of mutual ownership models, cooperatives and the community asset transfers.

Tasks include:

  • Mapping the methods of citizen engagement
  • Analysis of the role of citizen engagement in social innovation
  • Recommendations for policies and practices at European, national, regional, city and local levels