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Enabling Social Innovation: Concepts, frameworks & organisational change

Our Autumn Conference on Social Innovation will take place in Helsinki, Finland, on 12th-13th October 2023.

Symbol of a yellow open hand bent on the right with a lightbulb in it. Text says: 'Enabling social innovation'.



Rationale of the conference

Does Social Innovation mean anything anymore? Or has it become an overused term to categorise any project with social ambitions? 

Our Conference in Helsinki on 12th-13th October 2023 will be centered around these questions.

Social Innovation seems to encompass everything and, in doing so, ends up covering nothing at all. The definition/meaning of Social Innovation has become so blurred and vague that social innovation in practice – and, in turn, the capacity of support services to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – has been hindered.

A common understanding of what Social Innovation entails across the disability sector is therefore necessary – a reboot of what the concept means to us now.

Support service providers need to have a clearer idea of what social innovation means in order to know:

  • how it applies to them,
  • how they can implement it,
  • what impact social innovation can have on the lives of persons with disabilities and their families,
  • the existing legal and financial frameworks that can help them innovate,
  • and how to create social innovation independently, e.g., by implementing new organisational change.

Through a variety of keynote speeches and interviews, workshops, panel discussions with innovative service providers, and networking opportunities, our conference in Helsinki aims to provide clarity, solutions, and inspiration to these issues.

EASPD Innovation Awards 2023

The Innovation Awards 2023 will be presented during the conference, to recognise and applaude innovative practices in the field of social innovation. 

Do you have a practice that has positively impacted the quality of services for persons with disabilities? Apply here now!

Registrations close on 1st July.


Thursday 12th October


Welcoming Remarks

  • Jim Crowe, EASPD

  • Kirsi Konola, KVPS



“Disability Rights and UN CRPD: what does it mean for support service providers?”

Interview with Gerard Quinn, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


1st Panel: Social Innovation in Support Services: One Study & Two Practices

11:15 -11:45                 

Coffee Break & Networking corners


Workshops on Creating an Enabling Environment for Support Services to Innovate

  • Finnish legal framework reform enabling new social innovations
  • User-centred Funding Models: what impact on social innovation?
  • Facilitating environment : “Regulatory sandboxes” (DE) & Piloting Innovation (IS) (tbc)
  • Research-based workshop 
  • EU Funds: How can they facilitate Social Innovation?

13:00 – 14:30

Lunch break


2nd Panel:  Future design, Foresight & Innovation


End of Day 1

EASPD Meetings

16:00 - 18:00

Member Forums


Dinner & Innovation Awards Ceremony

Friday 13th October


Keynote Speech  


3rd Panel: Developing Organisational Models that Facilitate Innovation

11:00 – 11:30             

Coffee Break


Speed Dating Workshops:

  1. Leadership in Support Service Provision
  2. Organisational Structures for Innovation
  3. Impact Measurement
  4. Uptake of digital technologies

13:00 – 14:30

Lunch Break


Open Discussion: Commitments, Inspiration and Next Steps 


Concluding Remarks

  • Jim Crowe, EASPD
  • Kirsi Konola, KVPS


End of day 2

EASPD Meetings

16:15 – 18:15

Member Forums                                      

Saturday 15th October

09:30 - 13:30

General Assembly