In addition to supporting the setting up of specific projects (submission of applications, fundraising, etc.), LIVES social innovation will offer networking and visibility activities as well as a platform of resources and information related to social innovation linked to life-course and vulnerability. By social innovation we intend a guiding principle or approach that, in a collaborative and participatory way, develops knowledge from research and practice primarily to address societal needs and problems with the implementation of new or improved forms of products, processes, methods or best practices.
An inauguration with many partners and practitioners
Operational since 23 November, the LIVES Centre in collaboration with the Social work and Health department of the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO) inaugurated their joint platform for social innovation: LIVES Social Innovation (LSI). The aim of this platform is to enable research to design and carry out social innovation projects and thus transform studies on life courses and vulnerabilities for the benefit of society.
On the occasion of this inauguration, Olivier Grand, head of the Social work department at the HES-SO, presented the platform; its objectives and rationale for evolving services in the face of the current challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic or, in the longer term, digitalisation and growing social inequalities.
In order to better grasp the notion of social innovation and to start the work that the LSI expects, Stéphane Rullac, professor of social innovation at the Haute école de travail social et de santé Lausanne (HETSL), then shared his reflections on social innovation while recalling that it is an emerging paradigm whose specificities for social work could be summarised in the following indicators: inclusive participation, hybridization of knowledge, territorial anchoring, ethical and deontological coherence, creativity, reduction of non-take-up, transformation of institutional existing, individual empowerment and social change. A sound version of his presentation (from slide n°2) is available, in French.
François Seppey (HES-SO Valais-Wallis), Christophe Girod and Nadège Dergalenko (Hospice Général, Geneva) as well as Catherine Roulet, co-president of Insieme Vaud have easily integrated this understanding of social innovation from the institutions they lead, in particular by highlighting the aspects of local anchoring or hybridisation or even interdisciplinarity to do "better differently". Although the approach to innovation cannot be introduced overnight to social work and care professionals, the establishment of a "lab" within the General Hospice is nevertheless proving its value.
The work of the LSI now needs to be put into practice. The challenges will not be lacking, however. Catherine Roulet alone has listed a long list of needs in the field of mental disability which urgently calls for new practices in social work and care, whether in terms of personal interaction, mobility or support for the vulnerable person.