#15, December 2023
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.
THE PODCAST /
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 INTERVIEW /
The city, an influential social innovator
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.
THE GRAPHIC FACILITATION /
Pooling knowledge for innovation in the public sector
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.