Raccords Magazine

Raccords is a free digital magazine which offers inspiring, researched and documented content on various issues surrounding social innovation. Read more

Explore Social Innovation with the latest issue of Raccords

#15, December 2023

Raccords, the digital magazine on social innovation. Issue 15: What are the levers for social innovation with—and within—the public sector?

What are the levers for social innovation with—and within—the public sector?

Public institutions are at the heart of the decisions that govern how we live together and adapt to major socio-environmental challenges. If the urgency, number, and frequency of crises demand rapid, effective solutions, the many responsibilities they carry leave them little room to explore new approaches. What other possibilities are there to help them meet the challenges of the 21st century?

Yesterday’s solutions are no longer sufficient to address the complexity of today’s challenges. Therefore, our collective resilience to tomorrow’s challenges will depend on the choices we make, and projects we deploy, today. Social innovation doesn’t just call for fresh ideas—it requires us to question our starting assumptions and rethink our ways of doing things in order to bring about social, cultural, and economic models more in tune with a sustainable future.

Social innovation also requires implementing new practices within public institutions. It’s precisely there that different kinds of knowledge and a diversity of perspectives come together in a common thread of an organizational culture based on experimentation and co-creation. So what can we do to support our public leaders and the transformations that’s necessary in order to achieve progress?

To examine the different levers of innovation both with and within the public sector, Raccords sat down with a Barcelona-based social innovator specializing in the activation and scaling of urban social innovation, as well as with the newly hired chief scientific advisor to the City of Longueuil. Each in their own way, Miquel de Paladella and Julie-Maude Normandin challenge the organizational status quo and invite public leaders to value data, science, and innovation in order to better address complexity. In addition, Raccords commissioned Roselyne Clément—graphic facilitator of the socio-ecological transition—to take up the challenge of translating into images the key concepts addressed in our conversations with Miquel and Julie-Maude. Finally, our guests’ favourites and top picks inspire us to reconsider how the public apparatus can serve as an ally of transition.


Science in municipal administration: a lever for public innovation

In this episode of the Raccords podcast, we talk to Julie-Maude Normandin. A researcher specializing in urban resilience and the holder of a PhD in public administration, public policy, and management, she has served as Chief Scientific Advisor for the City of Longueuil since June 2023. Through qualitative, quantitative, and participatory approaches, she seeks to develop an internal scientific culture that promotes the exploration of every possible avenue in the resolving of complex challenges on a municipal scale.


The city, an influential social innovator

Raccords 15 : La ville, innovatrice sociale influente

How do we respond to today’s social issues? For Miquel de Paladella, founder and CEO of UpSocial, it’s a matter of mobilizing multiple players who are capable of generating lasting change. At UpSocial, the Barcelona-based organization he founded and leads, his team tackles the complexity of the social challenges facing European cities.


Pooling knowledge for innovation in the public sector

Raccords 15: Pooling knowledge for innovation in the public sector, a graphic facilitation by Roselyne Clément

Creativity is one of the pillars of innovation. On the one hand, it is part of the thinking that generates good ideas; on the other, it precedes the practical implementation of any innovation approach reliant on proven methodologies. To illustrate the levers discussed in this edition, Raccords gave carte blanche to Roselyne Clément, graphic facilitator and “visual voice” of the socio-ecological transition.


Top picks from Raccords and our guests

Resources for furthering our explorations of levers for social innovation in and within the public sector.

Browse previous issues of Raccords

More information about Raccords

Raccords is a new form of digital content that allows us to broaden the scope of our collective knowledge in social innovation. By deepening our understanding of this approach, we hope to contribute to redefining a better way of living together.

Each issue focuses on a specific theme and features experts from all walks of life who share their point of view. Four sections are proposed in various formats (text, audio and visual) to engage your imagination and intellectual curiosity:

  • a written interview with a guest contributor
  • an episode of our “Raccords” podcast
  • a video or illustration signed by the artist
  • a list of top picks to discover

Why Raccords? Beyond the nod to the french cinematographic term (which refers to the absence of editing glitches between scenes and ensures continuity), the title evokes our desire to fill the gaps that separate good ideas from their deployment opportunities, actors of change to the ecosystem players, and new approaches to those already tried and tested. Raccords (which could also be translated as Connections or Links) also refers to the MIS’s desire to contribute to the rooting of a true culture of collaboration and social innovation to better address the major challenges of the 21st century. Top of page