SOCIAL INNOVATION EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAMME

Client: General Directorate for Social Inclusion (Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Women Rights)

This French Ministry launched a public procurement procedure to get methodological and technical assistance in implementing its experimental programme on social innovation in four pilot regions. Support included designing an appropriate experimentation and knowledge transfer methodology to equip civil servants from the regional directorates with a valid framework for action on socially innovative projects. This entailed to trigger significant changes in their ways of doing things with regards to identifying social innovation, building supporting eco-systems and adopting new project management techniques.

Yellow Window won the procurement procedure with an innovative approach drawing upon service and policy design, articulated through a two-days training followed by three to five co-design workshops in each region.

A mixed team of designers and social scientists was attached to the Ministry and five socially innovative projects were identified in the four pilot regions with a view to learning by doing. Four projects have materialised, in a wide range of policy sectors, including ageing, housing, women’s rights and childcare. These projects are characterised by strong stakeholders’ engagement, inclusive supporting networks and a user-centred perspective.

For instance, in Marseilles, a community house co-designed with local users and stakeholders, assembled with recycled shipping containers. In Brittany, a day-centre for victims of gender-based violence developed an innovative approach involving coaches and resident artists, while, in rural Limousin, a collaborative system was put in place to encourage seniors to access social activities.

The programme gained strong visibility from the General Secretariat for the Modernisation of Policies (SGMAP) due to its pioneering methodology.