TRANSIT (TRANSformative Social Innovation Theory)

TRANSIT (TRANsformative Social Innovation Theory) is an ambitious 4-year long research project that develops a theory of transformative social innovation, which is about empowerment and change in society. It is an EC-funded (FP7) research project, responding to the call for research on “Social Innovation – empowering people, changing societies?” and runs from 1 January 2014 until the end of 2017. TRANSIT vision is to increase the impact and potential of transformative social innovation that can empower people and facilitate change for sustainable development in society. It utilizes a research method which encourages feedback from social entrepreneurs and innovators, policy makers and academics to develop a theory with practical relevance. 

Just recently TRANSIT researchers have completed 20 case studies of transnational social innovation networks within Europe and Latin America, bringing in-depth empirical research to an end. For each transnational network at least 2-3 local manifestations are studied. Networks studied include: Ashoka, Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), Credit Unions, DESIS-network, European Network of Living Labs, FABLABS, Global Ecovillage Network, Hackerspaces, INFORSE, International Co-operative Association, Living Knowledge Network, La Via Campesina, Participatory Budgeting, RIPESS, Seed Exchange Network, Shareable – Sharing Cities, Slow Food, The Impact-Hub, Time Banks and Transition Towns.

After studying the globally connected, locally rooted networks, and their local manifestations, a comparative report to synthesize insights for theory development is being prepared. This feeds into the iterative set-up of the project, which seeks to create a mid-range theory of transformative social innovation built on parallel empirical and theoretical efforts.  




TRANSIT brochure


The role of IHS

The TRANSIT research project is divided into six Work Packages (WP) and IHS is the team leader of the Communication & Engagement Work Package 6. The WP6 includes the development of training tools, policy briefs as well as engagement workshops targeted to professionals and policy makers working in social innovation. IHS also develops and implements a communication strategy that ensures effective dissemination of the outcomes of the research as well as engagement of policy makers, social innovators and academics in a dialogue about social innovation. IHS’ goal in this WP is to raise awareness, initiate discourse on social innovation and make social, economic, scientific and policy impact. 

The IHS team:

Saskia Ruijsink (WP leader)
Maria Zwanenburg 
Carley Pennink 
Linda Zuijderwijk 
Donia Tawakol 
Veronica Olivotto
Nigel Browne
Desislava Yordanova  

A consortium of twelve partners coming from European as well as South American countries (Brazil, Argentina) is involved in the TRANSIT project with DRIFT (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands) being the overall project coordinator. Please see below the overview of all the partners involved:

    DRIFT (Coordinator) – Erasmus University of Rotterdam, the Netherlands
    3S-group – University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
    ICIS – University of Maastricht, the Netherlands
    IHS – Erasmus University of Rotterdam, the Netherlands
    ULB-CEDD – Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
    AAU – Aalborg University, Denmark
    SPRU – University of Sussex, United Kingdom
    IEC-UNQ – Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina
    COPPE – Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Brasil
    People-Environment Research Group – Universidade da Coruna, Spain
    BOKU –  University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Austria
    ESSRG – research and development SME, Hungary