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Regional engagement for social innovation and new models of governance

Regional engagement for social innovation and new models of governance

Our RIS3 process began with a competition to describe a vision for the region. It was won by Cristiano Longo, whose quote is on the home page of Sicily's RIS3 website: "Innovation in Sicily in 2020 promotes the encounter between those who are able to produce knowledge and those who have ideas on how put it to good use."

We have actively engaged with the territory since starting our RIS3 journey, looking for new players, trying to understand social innovation, and uncovering a rich fabric of innovators ready to meet the challenges of change. Young people and their ideas, motivation and activism have emerged; or were already there, they have simply been publicly recognised during a process of listening. The different ideas have been enlightening: from responding to vulnerable groups and social needs that are normally ignored by the market to institutional change and transformation in relationships between stakeholders. Testimonies showed that "Social innovation in Sicily already exists, and young people are already working to reinvent their future."

However, innovators have pointed out that most ideas have often failed to get off the ground because they did not pass funding eligibility thresholds. On these and other aspects we have recognised the need for a different governance model. A new cross-departmental structure will coordinate analysis, planning, guidance, and monitoring of RIS3. This is complemented by permanent thematic groupings that include international partners. The Government of Region of Sicily has approved Sicily’s Smart Specialisation Strategy on February 2015.
Social innovation in Sicily already exists, and young people are already working to reinvent their future.