Professor Johanna Mair talking Social Innovation with Angela Merkel

Prof. Johanna Mair from the Hertie School of Governance in Germany was invited to the Chancelllery of the Federal republic of Germany together with a number of other high-level international experts in order to discuss social innovation and social entrepreneurship in Germany, during the 2nd International German Forum.

The International German Forum was created by the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, as a new forum for interdisciplinary exchange on internationally relevant, future-related issues. It offers a platform for politics, business, science and civil society experts to discuss ways of shaping economic, ecological, social and political transformation processes and elaborate concrete plans of action.

"What matters to people – innovation and society"

The key issues discussed during the two-hour meeting with the Chancellor Angela Merkel ranged from how social enterprises can contribute to individual and collective well-being to how they are organized and how their innovative potential can be unleashed at a broader scale.

Merkel emphasized that particularly developed industrial nations like Germany face challenges to remain innovative because they rely on a long history of well-solved problems. This, she suggests, leads to a tendency to continue solving problems in the way they have always been solved. She also mentioned the particularity of the German context where social welfare organizations are embedded in a highly institutionalized system and have a long history of solving social problems. In this context, enabling change and innovation is a particular challenge not only for the government but also for a variety of actors in the social sector.

From research to policy

In this vein, by developing a deeper understanding about the organization of social enterprises, the particularities of the national contexts they are embedded in and how they contribute to a more innovative and inclusive society, SEFORÏS is very timely in meeting the need for policy to be supported in developing thriving environments for social innovation in Germany and elsewhere.

More on the 2nd International German Forum here.

(picture: dpa)