Social Investment and Innovation
As part of the Innovative Social Investment: Strengthening communities in Europe (InnoSI) project we ran a series of 2-Day Community Reporting for Insight programmes across Europe to capture 'User Voice' stories on the topics and themes from the social investment case studies being examined in the project. The InnoSI project sought to understand how we can design robust social investment strategies which can deal with emerging socio-economic challenges and the aftershocks of the 2008 economic crisis. Using Community Reporting practices, the ICR worked with communities across Europe to gather stories that added their voice to this discussion. These stories not only detail accounts of people’s lived experiences of support provision, projects and initiatives but also the wider contexts of their lives. Using smartphones and tablets, participants captured their own and their peers' stories, and then uploaded them onto a story bank on this site. They are now Silver members of the ICR and are continuing to post their stories.
As part of the project, we trained 100 Community Reporters and 25 Insight Advocate Trainers to provide on-going support for the new Community Reporters, and gathered 118 stories from across 10 different European countries. The stories gathered were on topics such as family life, employment, education, and integration into society and were gathered through our insight storytelling methods that include:
- Snapshot Stories – short opinion-based stories that give quick insights into a specific topic.
- Dialogue Interviews – peer-to-peer conversations without predetermined questions.
- Personal Monologues – an individual’s own story about a specific event, experience of a topic or issue, or their life journey.
The findings were then analysed and presented back using the ICR Curation Model. Within the context of the Internet and the digital age, the term ‘content curation’ is broadly used to describe the process for gathering, organising and presenting information in relation to a specific subject. In-line with this, the ICR uses ‘curation’ as an umbrella term that accounts for a layered analysis process that is accompanied by a series of packaging activities in order to present back the key findings across a collection of individual stories. Whilst the specific analytical activities the ICR undertakes and the ways in which they present back the understandings from the stories is variable, their practice of story curation is underpinned by a core aim of maintaining the authenticity and voice evident within the individual stories being curated. For the InnoSI project, each of the individual user voice stories gathered were analysed and their key findings presented back in a report and as a number of digital outputs, including subtitled feature stories, playlists of key extracts from different story sets, a geo-map of the stories, a thematic edit of a core findings from the stories, and individual summative reports on each case study social investment project that we examined.
The curated findings are currently being used by Academic Partners to illustrate their own research and disseminate the core findings from the project, and by Impact Partners who are using the authentic stories of service users to influence service design and policy at regional and national levels. You can watch a video overview of the project here.
If any of our network of Community Reporters from across Europe have their own stories about their experiences of a social investment programme, then let us know and we can collate them as part of this project!