Social innovation and sustainability
Social innovation is the process of developing and implementing new ideas to respond to new explicit or latent social challenges using shared and co-produced knowledge that is innovative both in its ends and in its means. The current relevance of the concept results from the fact that contemporary societies face unprecedented and structural problems that are transversal to several domains. These problems can be seen not only as alarming issues but also as opportunities for the implementation of new forms and methods to answer existing needs. This chapter is based on the results of the Atlantic Social Lab, a project co-financed by the Atlantic Area Program 2014–2020, and seeks to contribute to the debate about the existence of different responses to the challenges and needs that influence the generation and diffusion of social innovation, specifically those that have an impact on sustainability dimensions. The analysis presented involves qualitative data resulting from the multi-level mapping exercise on social innovation needs and an impact assessment of specific pilot actions carried out. The chapter emphasizes actions proposed directly towards sustainability issues as a crucial aspect of social innovation preoccupations.