CLUSTERS AS DRIVERS OF SOCIAL INNOVATION

The social innovation in clusters is a novelty for Romania and the paper presents a scientific method to evaluate and monitor of the social innovation performances in clusters. Clusters are drivers of entrepreneurship, innovation, economic growth and jobs. The paper intends to focus on the objectives related on the innovative capacity of clusters and of linkages that involve social relationships or networks that produce benefits for the cluster members, on the competitiveness of clusters and their potential of creating new jobs, on tools and measures to increase social innovation and on social awareness within cluster for closing the gap between the needs of cluster members and the educational/R&D output to reduce the gap between clusters from EU and Ro. From a methodological point of view, the research paper encompasses 4 components: 1) Cluster development in Romania and promotion of social innovation, 2) Elaboration of a scientific method to improve the cluster impact on innovation, economic growth and social integration, 3) Expected results using specific tools for the new method developed (social innovation audit; benchmarks; foresights; IP audit; specific questionnaires) and a large scale dissemination including: a Guide on social innovation in clusters in the near future; the creation of the Ro-EU cluster networks and a national platform for collaboration on social innovation in Romania, 4) Conclusions on cluster willingness to embrace this concept of social innovation primarily because there is a new sense of urgency in the need to find solutions to many of the clusters problems.

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