Social innovation as a policy response to restructure the welfare state
Kulcsszavak:Social Innovation, Welfare State, Welfare Mix, Welfare State Crisis
The focus of this paper is the interaction between social innovation and restructuring welfare state. Modern welfare states have been reconfiguring their welfare mixes through social innovation. This includes a productive integration of formal and informal actors with support and leading role of the state. This collaboration becomes significantly important since it means the integration of not only the actors, but also their capabilities and resources in today’s world where new social risks and new social challenges have emerged and no actor can overcome these by its own. Therefore, social innovation is a useful tool in the new role sharing within the welfare mix in order to reach higher levels of satisfaction and success in welfare provision. The main point here is that this is not a zero-sum competition; gaining more power of the actors other than the state – the market, civil society organisations and the family – does not necessarily mean that the state lost its leading role and power. This is rather a new type of cooperation among actors and their capabilities as well as their resources in welfare provision. In this sense, social innovation may contribute well to the debates over the financial crisis of the welfare state since it may lead to the more wisely use of existing resources of welfare actors. Thanks to social innovative programs, not only the NGOs, but also market forces as well as citizens are more active to access welfare provisions and social protection in the broadest sense. Thus, social innovative strategies are definitely a solid step taken towards “enabling” or “active” welfare state.