The general objective of this initiative is to facilitate and bring together the driving forces in research, innovation, knowledge transfer and knowledge appropriation working in the various partner organizations (research, government, public, clinical, community-based and private enterprise) that are active in habilitation-rehabilitation and support social inclusion. The initiative will be in synergy with organizations representing service users that can, through their actions, make a significant contribution to the objective of a more inclusive society. The specific objectives of the Inclusive Society initiative are to:
- Intensify research by adopting an intersectoral approach to co-construct knowledge that will generate innovation;
- Encourage and facilitate the partners’ active participation in the various stages of co-constructing knowledge, including by identifying problems and developing solutions;
- Ensure knowledge transfer, exchange and appropriation to facilitate the implementation of innovations or practical solutions to the targeted problems;
- Enhance training for highly qualified researchers, students and staff in approaches to intersectoral research that encourage social innovation;
- Consolidate and encourage the creation of new national and international partnerships;
- Identify mechanisms for ensuring the sustainability of the research activities and knowledge transfer in order to generate long-term effects on an inclusive society;
- Assess, through indicators, the impacts of the intersectoral initiative’s programming and its various fields of expertise.
Why adopt an intersectoral approach? Because the project of creating a more inclusive society is highly complex and requires the pooling of expertise, knowledge and means from more than one of the main scientific sectors in Quebec (the social sciences and humanities, health, the natural sciences and engineering).
The presence of a diverse group of committed partners at the onset of the initiative is key to the process used for co-construction of research and coordinated action. These partners are stakeholders in a decision-making process designed to identify the actions to be taken to develop and transfer knowledge and appropriate and leverage the innovations generated by the initiative.
Innovation as a foundation
Innovation is key to the initiative’s knowledge development and transfer process, whether the innovation is technological, clinical or social. The Inclusive Society initiative is based on the concept of social innovation as defined by the Réseau québécois en innovation sociale (RQIS). A social innovation is a new idea, approach or intervention, a new service, a new product or a new law, a new type of organization that more appropriately and more sustainably meets a well-defined social need than the existing solutions; a solution that has found favour within an institution, organization or community and that produces a measurable benefit to the community rather than only to certain individuals. A social innovation is transformative and systemic in scope. In its inherent creativity, it constitutes a break from the status quo.
Social innovations are “social” in terms of both their ultimate purposes and their processes. They meet social needs while creating new relationships between people and groups that had not necessarily been in the habit of cooperating. Social innovations are derived from processes that are necessarily open. [translation]
The process of creating social innovations comprises three phases:
RQIS, Favoriser l’émergence et la pérennisation des innovations sociales au Québec – Synthèse des travaux de la communauté d’intérêt sur l’innovation sociale, 2011.
RQIS, Acteurs et processus d’innovation sociale au Québec, 2007.