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Young Social Innovators (YSI) is a non-profit organisation that empowers young people to use their talents, insights, passion, and creativity to devise innovative solutions to social challenges. For the past 21 years, our fun and engaging programmes have supported students in creating team-based action projects on issues they care about. These projects put innovative ideas into action to bring about positive social change for the benefit of people, communities, and the environment.

Our Vision: Ireland’s young people feel inspired, empowered, and equipped to change the world for good.

Our Mission: To provide social innovation education that empowers young people to take action on social issues.

Changemakers: Social innovation starts with changemakers. Changemakers learn from their experiences and surroundings, seeking growth and positive change. Using their passion, persuasion, and persistence, they discover and implement innovative ideas to improve the welfare and well-being of people, society, and the planet.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." – Charles Darwin

Understanding Social Innovation

Social innovation involves creating and developing solutions that improve the well-being of people, society, and the planet. It is innovation that works for the greater good. Social innovations can be small or large, but they must address societal issues effectively.

Examples of Social Innovation:

  • Environmentalism: From protecting forests to countering corporate pollution, movements like Greenpeace have inspired modern innovations such as urban recycling and wind farms.
  • Feminism: Pioneers like Emmeline Pankhurst and Simone de Beauvoir have driven cultural and intellectual movements, leading to significant societal changes.
  • Marriage Equality in Ireland (2015): This transformative change was the result of persistent efforts to shift beliefs and norms, ultimately improving many lives.

Becoming a Young Social Innovator

Take action on an issue you care about. As a young social innovator, you’ll be challenged to look at the world around you, identify issues, and create solutions. You’ll gain real experience working in a team and develop skills in leadership, communication, and project management.

“As a young social innovator, you’ll be challenged to look at the world around you and to identify and explore issues affecting you, your friends, your community, and wider society. More than just coming up with a solution, you will be asked to put that idea into action and create change. You will see other perspectives using your own expertise and creativity to design solutions based on real human experience and need. You will gain real experience working in a team and develop skills in leadership, communications, and project planning and management.” – Rachel Collier, Co-founder of Young Social Innovators

A Focus on Social Innovation Democracy

StemWijzer (Netherlands): A Voting Advice Application that helps voters compare political parties and find those that align with their views. It has been used by almost seven million voters in the run-up to the 2017 parliamentary elections.

CitizenLab: Co-creating cities with citizens (Belgium): A platform for citizens to co-create their cities, engaging them in local decision-making. The CitizenLab app. CitizenLab is profiled more extensively in the final DSI4EU report, What next for digital social innovation? Realising the potential of people and technology to tackle social challenges

Rahvakogu/Rahvaalgatus (Estonia): An online platform for citizens to put forward, debate, and vote on proposals, some of which are submitted to Parliament. Rahvaalgatus is profiled more extensively on the DSI4EU website.

Decide Madrid (Spain): A citizen participation platform allowing residents to propose laws, debate topics, and vote on participatory budgeting.

Carticipe (France): A map-based platform for citizens to propose and discuss ideas for town planning and urban life.


YOUTH FOR CHANGE shows how young people can use stories as a strategic social innovation tool. Stories are powerful cognitive tools that can persuade, educate, inform, and connect.

  1. Transport Messages or Vision: Use stories to illustrate your social innovation idea, generating a common understanding and compelling others to act.
  2. Diffuse or Pitch Ideas: Develop your ideas into stories that emotionally connect with your audience, making your idea memorable and resonant.
  3. Road Map for Behaviour Change: Use stories to build support for innovation and change behaviours at a cultural level, making the path to innovation accessible.
  4. Build Knowledge and Educate: Use storytelling to communicate the innovation process, sharing experiences and lessons learned.

Source: Young Social Innovators

Author - Laura Magan, Momentum Educate & Innovate

© 2024 Young European Storytellers for Social Change. All rights reserved.