Carrefour des innovations sociales / Social innovation Crossroad

Call for Innovations Call for Innovations
This case was submitted as part of the Call for Innovations, an annual partnership initiative between OPSI and the UAE Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation (MBRCGI)

Social innovations offer many new solutions to today’s challenges. Yet, they encounter difficulties in becoming known. Social innovation Crossroad offers a precise vision of social innovations in France. To do so, a search engine gives access to 5000 projects already capitalized by 50 actors. Financers, coaches, academics and projects holders now get reliable information, automatically up-to-date and enter a new community. Small as well as big projects are highlighted the same way.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Social innovation offers today new solutions to 21st century challenges of mobility, housing, education, etc. Even if these projects are numerous on the ground, they encounter troubles to become known, scale-up and inspire the evolution of public policies. Through a casual internet research, you may find only the 5 most known of every domain and it is hard for everyone to get a complete vision of what is going on.

As an answer, Social Innovations Crossroad gathers every actor that already highlights social innovations to get a collective approach to the problem, considering the wealth of information on social innovations as a Common. 50 actors from public institutions, networks, foundations, or associations are today federated in a community. Their daily work includes supporting diverse social innovations from employment issues to social economy, ecology or web access. The Commissariat général à l’égalité des territoires (CGET) works in tandem with La Fonda, an associative think-tank, to impulse and moderate the project.

Thanks to an open-source scraping application, 5 000 projects can be ‘’read’’ directly from the websites of the partners and accessible through one search engine. 2 more custom-made applications guarantee that flow of heterogeneous data is aggregated, consolidated and readable. No effort neither from the contributors, nor from the users of the search engine is asked. A reliable, up-to-date and complete view of social innovations in France is starting to get accessible to everyone. More contributors are daily joining the project and 10 000 projects will soon be accessible in every French territory.

Social Innovations Crossroad is managed in a collective manner, every member of the community being placed on an equal level. An open definition of social innovation has been adopted, every member being guarantor of the innovative approach of the projects he shares in the search engine. The aim is clear; to provide an immediate access to every social innovation projects disseminated on numerous websites, covering the whole diversity of social innovation, all over France. The community also works on analysing social innovations gathered and improving the methods to convey the teachings between the projects.

Social Innovations Crossroad now enables coaches, financiers of social innovations and academics :
o To find innovative projects for prospective purposes or benchmark use ;
o To localize projects in territories and understand territorial ecosystems of projects they support or may support ;
o To measure social innovation trends and emerging themes at the national or at a territorial level ;
o To boost the potential of social innovations through direct links between projects holder and better visibility.

And tomorrow? Since its conception with the partners in 2017, the reflection about the institutionalisation of such a collective and innovative process has been enhanced. With the support of an external audit, an association has been created in December 2017.
For the development phase, 2 public interest entrepreneurs bring digital expertise (one web developer and one UX/UI designer) from January to November 2018, financed by the State Programme d’Investissement d’Avenir (“future investment program’’). What’s more, the project also associates private financial partners for the 3 next years. For instance, it is now financed by the National Federation of Caisse d’Epargne, one leading bank in France and a foundation, the Fondation La France s’engage.

As advised in the external audit, a whole reflection of the business model for the operating phase of Social innovation Crossroad will be concluded in about a year (after 2 years of development). Activities of adapting and teaching the use of the applications designed to scrape, aggregate, consolidate and view the data are already been tested.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

Innovation Reflections

Project Pitch

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Year: 2017
Level of government: National/Federal government


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