The road ahead for digital social innovation


How can the EU support technology to tackle our biggest challenges? A high-level policy workshop hosted by DSI4EU


Over the past decade we have seen two trends intertwine: on the one hand, the emergence of complex wicked challenges which defy traditional government solutions; and, on the other, unprecedented advances in the availability and complexity of digital technologies.

The growing field of digital social innovation (DSI) uses these technological advances to tackle many of our biggest social and environmental challenges collaboratively - from community-driven environmental data collection to crowdsourced transparency monitoring of government processes. DSI has great potential to tackle our most complex challenges and to “turbo-charge” the impact of social innovation, a field which is gaining recognition from the EU institutions. And, at a time when we must tackle the negative consequences of the digital revolution head-on, DSI can be a tool for policymakers to shape more responsible and ethical technology in line with European values.  

DSI has grown significantly in recent years, with strong support from the European Commission, some national and local governments, and various foundations. But it is now time to draw up a path forward to ensure that DSI can scale its impact.

The opportunity for DSI is huge - but it needs the right support to fulfil its potential. What is the role of the EU institutions in helping DSI thrive?

Bringing together senior officials from EU institutions, foundations, think tanks, civil society and DSI practitioners, this workshop will showcase the potential of DSI in priority areas for the European Commission, discuss and refine ideas for future policy agendas, explore how we can bring the “digital” into social innovation and use DSI to help shape more responsible technology, and provide ample opportunity for networking.


This workshop is organised as part of the EU-funded DSI4EU project, which seeks to support the growth and scale of DSI across Europe through a programme of policy, research and practical support.


Space is limited, so please register your interest now if you'd like to join us. Please note we will have to confirm any registrations of interest, due to capacity constraints and the highly-focused nature of the workshop. 


Contact email





Registration and coffee


Opening and welcome

Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive, Nesta



Stories of DSI

What does DSI look like in practice, and what is the real world impact it can deliver? Leading DSI practitioners will share their stories, their challenges and their successes.

Mara Balestrini, Chief Executive, Ideas for Change

Elena Calistru, Chief Executive, Funky Citizens

Rebecca Rumbul, Director of Research, mySociety


The view from the Brussels: What is the role of the institutions in supporting DSI?


Networking break


Discussion groups

What role do EU institutions have in supporting the growth of DSI in Europe? In smaller groups, we will be working together to refine ideas for future policy agendas to help DSI reach its full potential - focusing on key areas of EU competence.


Feedback and plenary

Rapporteurs from each group will share their groups’ ideas in plenary, followed by discussion and Q&A.


Closing remarks


Lunch and networking




Virtual location

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