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Which networks and initiatives did we study? Find out here

Many social innovators of today work locally, but are connected with other innovators around the globe through networks. TRANSIT explores these linkages by researching transnational networks of social innovation in Europe and Latin America as embedded case studies both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Empirical work has come to an end and TRANSIT proudly shares its materials. Over the past four years, TRANSIT-researchers have interacted with and studied 20 transnational networks – for each network they focused on

  • the network level and 2-3 social innovation initiatives for in-depth understanding, resulting in case study reports,
  • and 2-4 other social innovation initiatives related to the network, to understand their critical turning points, meaning the  breakthroughs, setbacks and surprises in their emergence and development.

An oveview of all networks, including all studied local initiatives, is available in this booklet (PDF).

The networks

  • Ashoka, Network for financial support to social entrepreneurs (primary contact point: ESSRG)
  • Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), Connects people committed to basic income and fosters informed discussion (primary contact point: ICIS)
  • Credit Unions, Different types of credit cooperatives (primary contact point: UDC)
  • DESIS-network, Network for design for social innovation and sustainability (primary contact point: UFRJ)
  • European Network of Living Labs co-creative, human-centric and user-driven research, development and innovation (primary contact point: IHS)
  • FABLABS, Digital fabrication workshops open to local communities (primary contact point: SPRU)
  • Global Ecovillage Network, Network of eco-villages and other intentional communities  (primary contact point: BOKU)
  • Hackerspaces, User driven digital fabrication workshops (primary contact point: SPRU)
  • INFORSE, International network of sustainable energy  NGOs (primary contact point: AAU
  • International Co-operative Association, Associations that co-work in the production of sustainable inclusive habitat (primary contact point: UNQ)
  • Living Knowledge Network, Network of science shops and community-based research entities (primary contact point: AAU
  • Participatory Budgeting, Network of communities and municipalities reinventing how public money is spent and prioritized (primary contact point: UFRJ)
  • RIPESS, Network for the promotion of social solidarity economy (primary contact point: ULB)
  • Seed Exchange Network, Protects biodiversity by defending seed freedom for integrity, self-organization and diversity (primary contact point: ESSRG)
  • Shareable – Sharing Cities, Connecting and empowering urban sharing initiatives aiming for a sharing transformation (primary contact point: IHS)
  • Slow Food, Linking food to a comitment to sustainable local and global development (primary contact point: UDC)
  • The Impact-Hub, Global network of social entrepreneurs (primary contact point: DRIFT)
  • Time Banks, Networks facilitating reciprocal service exchange (primary contact point: ICIS)
  • Transition Towns, Grassroots communities working on ‘local resilience’ (primary contact point: UEA)
  • La Via Campesina, Aiming for family farming to promote social justice and dignity (primary contact point: UNQ)

Case reports and Transformative Social Innovation-Narratives

For each transnational network, TRANSIT-researchers wrote a full case report as well as a summarizing Transformative Social Innovation (TSI)-narrative. You can find each report on the respective page of the network in the resourcehub. Please read the Disclaimer (PDF) that is part of each TSI-Narrative and find more information on the status first set of case studies (PDF).


The full case report are in-depth reports with distinctive sections for the transnational networking as well as for each of the local manifestations of each transnational network of social innovation under study. The TSI-narratives provide a very short summary of these full case reports.


The TSI-Narratives are available via the respective TRANSIT network pages. Please note, that each TSI-narrative presents – in a highly reduced and generalised format – the interpretations of the researchers, and does not necessarily reflect the views and nuances of the initiatives and respondents themselves. For a full account of each transnational network and local case, including interview quotes and expressed nuances by respondents, we refer to the full case report.  

Full case reports

For now, many of the full case reports are available via or via the respective research institute. The full case reports are the basis for future research activities and publications, including a cross-comparative analysis of all 20 transnational networks and all local cases. 

Four empirical research questions

Both, the full case reports and the TSI-narratives, were guided by four empirical research questions based upon a preliminary conceptual framework of the TRANSIT-project.

The four questions concern:  

  1. the overall development of the local cases and the transnational network(ing);
  2. how they relate to different types of change and innovation (incl. social innovation, system innovation, game- changers, narratives of change and societal transformation);
  3. how actors are empowered and/or disempowered in and by the local cases and the transnational network(ing), including topics such as governance, learning, resourcing and monitoring;
  4. what are other relevant emergent issues with regard to understanding the dynamics of transformative social innovation.  

You can read more about our research approach on About the project and this working paper (PDF).  


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