InImpact: The Journal of Innovation Impact

Publisher Future Technology Press
Vol. 6 No. 2 Contributed Papers 2013-14
Volume Editors KES International
Journal ISSN 2051-6002
Article TitleVantaa Circle of Associations as a Social Innovation
Primary AuthorKari Ahlstrom, University of Helsinki, Finland (Finland)
Other Author(s) Suve Paasukene; Lauri Ahonen
Pages 181 - 207
Article ID inimp14-003
Publication Date 09-Dec-15

This article correlates with three contemporary EU-appeals: 1) the problem of unemployment, 2) social innovations, and 3) social investment for growth and cohesion.

The Vantaa Circle of Associations (Vantaan Järjestörinki ry) emerged as a result of determined efforts to combat unemployment in the aftermath of the economic crunch during the 1990s in Finland. New ways were sought to deal with the crises, and the public authorities turned to unused and atypical methods. The third sector was suggested as one unexploited domain. To this effect, the original problems can be stated as: 1) how could the third sector associations be involved in the national re-employment programme? 2) What kind of assistance might these organisations need in order to re-employ the jobless? 3) How could public funds be utilized in an optimal way through non-profit organisations to combat unemployment?

The Vantaa Circle of Association was founded as one practical solution to these problems. Paradoxically, this non-profit organisation was initiated by the civil servants of the public sector in the City of Vantaa. The aim is to describe the elements, conditions, actions and social investments, which led to the creation of this non-profit organization. The benefits of new solutions which typify social innovations are discussed in the context of Value Framework of "meaningful innovations".

The Vantaa Circle of Associations portrays a successful experiment of social investment that has led to the kind of social innovations that are needed in dealing with the troubles experienced by modern societies. In this case study many of the created values seem to correspond with the returns of social investments. The third sector has limited capacities to re-employ the jobless, however, the innovative approaches and procedures utilized by the City of Vantaa may generate ideas as to how non-profit organisations may be involved in activities to combat the unemployment problem in Europe.


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