Mainstreaming inclusive innovation and social entrepreneurship in higher education – InnoSocial

Low angle view at diverse business team huddling in office and stacking hands with motivation

Tetra’s first Erasmus+, Cooperation partnerships in higher education project has been approved for funding!

The project is called “Mainstreaming Inclusive Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education” (InnoSocial project). The proposal was prepared by the consortium of five partner organizations, including the University of Social Sciences in Lodz, Poland (project coordinator), the University of Pavia, Italy, the University of Applied Sciences in Vilnius, Lithuania, InCrea Foundation, Poland, and Tetra Solutions, Bulgaria. The project will start on November 1, 2022, and will last for 30 months till April 30, 2025.

The main goal of the project is to promote a wider integration of the social dimension in the knowledge triangle practices implemented by higher education institutions by embedding Inclusive Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (II&SE) education and training in universities’ curricula. This objective will be achieved through exploring different options for integrating II&SE in universities’ education offer, developing teaching and learning resources and building capacity of academic staff to design and deliver education in this field.

Why are Inclusive Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship so important?

Innovation has been at the heart of the EU’s strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (Europe 2020), and higher education institutions have been viewed as drivers of innovation due to their capacity to link the three major elements of the knowledge triangle – education, research and innovation (OECD, Enhancing the Contributions of Higher Education and Research Institutions to Innovation, 2016). European universities have been striving to integrate innovation in their mandates by fostering knowledge co-creation by academia, industry and policy makers.

The prolonged economic and social crises exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and ever-increasing influx of migrants to the EU member states, however, has shifted the focus from purely market-driven innovation aimed to boost economic growth to socially-driven innovation aimed to resolve the emerging social and societal challenges (EC Innovation and Research Strategy 2020-2024). In this context, universities are facing the need to enrich their knowledge triangle practices by embedding a social dimension into them.

A clue to this challenge can be found in inclusive innovation and social entrepreneurship. Inclusive innovation is a driver of social development (Goel, 2011) that helps to improve the quality of life at an affordable price. It is targeted at the excluded, underserved or underrepresented population (youth, women, elderly people, persons with disabilities, migrants, refugees, low-income groups) and aimed to expand their access to education, health care, employment, environmentally-friendly services, etc. Inclusive innovation can provide a business opportunity for social entrepreneurship. And social entrepreneurship, in its turn, can serve as a vehicle for valorising innovative solutions to societal problems.

What is the Tetra’s role and added value?

Tetra’s team will provide expertise in instructional design approaches suitable for fostering innovation and entrepreneurial competences. We will lead the development of a Toolkit for design & delivery of Inclusive Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship education and training – a methodological handbook for educators. It will involve the analysis of existing good practices related to embedding Inclusive Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in HEIs’ curricula; collecting and documenting methodologies for teaching innovation and entrepreneurship; and mapping possible ways of engaging stakeholders (such as non-profits, non-formal community groups, grassroots innovators, etc.) in education and training in the field of Inclusive Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship.

In addition, we will take the lead in developing the project’s website and visual identity, and will provide digital solutions for creating open educational resources based on the InnoSocial learning content.

Stay tuned for project updates!

Check out our website for news about the project activities and results.

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