Ever since the discovery of fire, humans have worked to improve their lives through innovation. The term “innovation” can be defined as something original and more effective and, as a consequence, new, that “breaks into” the market or society . According to the INSEAD Social Innovation Centre, Social Innovation can be defined as the introduction of new business models and market-based mechanisms that deliver sustainable economic, environmental and social prosperity. Although legislations and policies exist to tackle numerous specific issues of social life, experience has shown that some of the most pressing social challenges are multivariate and thus complex to tackle through predetermined legal operations, rules and procedures. Social innovation is a powerful way of tackling complex social challenges and problems by combining the strengths of multiple stakeholders (cross-sector including, governments, agencies, NGOs, charities, businesses, Universities, philanthropists, or combinations of the above) in order to develop original solutions for pressing social needs. Its nature is participatory and aims at achieving societal behavioral changes towards sustainability or a ‘public good’. The main challenge in carrying out social innovation projects is that there is no standard and uniformly advisable approach to tackle problems. Thus social innovations are “tailor-made” (developed according to each individual case).
In “Triggering Sustainable Biogas Energy Communities through Social Innovation”, ISABEL explores examples of cases, methods and good practices that could inform future, successful biogas energy models and socially responsive ways to deliver social programs and partnerships across Europe. It includes empirical studies of relevant initiatives based on semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders. The novelty of this project is its approach to biogas, which is branded as a “public good” linked to social innovation for today and the future.