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Examples of Irish Youth Becoming Active Social Innovators

Young Irish and Social Innovators are already progressing and changing the European landscape by telling their digital stories. They are paving the way by activating their social innovation ideas through digital technologies which are designed to transform the world by directly addressing societal challenges like climate change, inequalities & poverty, labour market & employment issues, gaps in healthcare & education systems, and demographic issues like ageing & migration

Let’s learn about Digital Social Innovation & Digital Story Telling

Digital stories, digital social innovation and digital storytelling are providing youth with powerful opportunities in the realm of ‘doing social, environmental and economical good’ which is changing their communities, regions, and indeed the world!

Social Innovation is about creating ideas for change (Social TrendSpotter 2018) and developing solutions to improve the wellbeing of people and society.

Digital Social Innovation is a smart/technology-driven form of social innovation (Social Innovation 4.0) that uses the power and potential of digital technology to create ideas and develop/implement social solutions for change.

Digital Storytelling combines the art of storytelling with multimedia features such as photography, text, audio, voiceover, hypertext and video. Digital tools and software make it easy and convenient to create a digital story. Common software includes Canva and YouTube for user-friendly options. See Youth For Change Toolbox for a full list of such amazing tools.

Why Social Innovation?

‘Social innovations are new ideas that meet social needs, create social relationships and form new collaborations. These innovations can be products, services or models addressing unmet needs more effectively’.

‘Social innovative activities and services that are motivated by the goal of meeting a social need and that are predominantly developed and diffused through organisations whose primary purposes are social.’

Examples of Social Innovation Solutions

  • Poverty by providing education and pathways to job opportunities
  • Social Problems by creating awareness programmes like street drama, informational advertising around alcohol and drugs, anti corruption, fair working conditions
  • Environment clean air for everyone, access to water, prevention of climate change, farming and food sustainability, recycling, biodegradable packaging
  • Consumption new travel accommodation models (Airbnb) where traveller can find cheaper accommodation and hosts can earn extra income, measures to save food/ waste prevention


Example of an Irish Social Innovation Digital Story

Thriftify is an online charity shop. Buy ethically & help charity with our range of books, clothes, films, games & more at bargain prices.

Rónán Ó Dálaigh, Rahil Nazir,  Timur Negru of Thriftify

‘We want to disrupt how and why people shop. Faced with ecological crises, we need to give people the option of purchasing from the most sustainable sources.

We also need to shift our value system from a materialistic basis to one driven by positive social impact. We want to help charity shops move from a €2 billion bricks and mortar-based industry to a €20 billion digital commerce-based industry’. Thrifty You Tube Videos

Interview with Ronan O Dailaigh

Rónán Ó Dálaigh (BA Gnó & Gaeilge, 2014) is the Founder and CEO of Thriftify, a technology-based social enterprise in Ireland. In this video, Rónán discusses how he developed the idea for Thriftify. He also discusses his experiences as a student in DCU and provides tips to students who want to engage with social innovation and social entrepreneurship.
This video is part of the From Passion to Action project at DCU. From Passion to Action is DCU’s resource hub for social innovation and social entrepreneurship education. Students are passionate about all kinds of social and/or environmental issues. This initiative aims to support educators in embedding social impact in their teaching, irrespective of discipline. In doing so, educators DK can foster in their students the behaviour, skills, thinking and attitude in devising, testing and launching sustainable innovative solutions to social and environmental challenges. From Passion to Action is here to guide staff in providing students with the opportunity to take action on a problem that they’re truly passionate about.


Example of an Irish Social Innovation Digital Story

Kitche is a smart kitchen food waste app for cost-saving & food-waste reduction at home. Save money on food. Get recipes and reminders for food at home.

Alex Vlassopulos – Founder of Kitche

‘We created Kitche after I spoke with friends in the park one afternoon about the amount of food that people just chuck from their fridges. We wanted to do something to try and fix this. It was obvious to me that there were no platforms out there which addressed the amount of food waste in the home, despite it being the biggest source of waste’.

Kitche co-founder and CEO Alex Vlassopulos shares how he came up with the idea for Kitche over five years ago after some friends explained their struggles with wasting too much food at home. Not wasting much food himself, he was keen to better understand the problem. Turns out that people tend to forget what they have at home only to rebuy when at the store while sometimes you need the right ideas and inspiration to use the ingredients you have at home. Having worked in technology at Google and startups he thought that surely there must be an app for that. But there wasn’t. So the app Kitche was born. Alex is now on a mission to stop home food waste.


FoodCloud tackles food waste by creating a network of charities to match with donating businesses. It then offers fast and efficient ways for these businesses to donate surplus food which goes to the network of more than 9,500 charities across Ireland and the UK

Multiple charities are included e.g. those who support children and youth at risk of food poverty, elderly, homeless, those going through drug and alcohol rehabilitation, escaping domestic violence….

You Tube Channel

Aoibheann O’Brien & Iseult Ward, Ireland

By using the FoodCloud Application a business can upload details of their surplus food and the time period in which the food can be collected. A text message is sent automatically to charities in the community and the first charity to accept the offer collects it directly from the business.

  • Redistributes surplus food & reducing food waste
  • Creates opportunities for social inclusion through this redistributed food
  • Inspires communities to take local action, the ripple effect of which will result in global change!

Introducing FoodCloud and FoodCloud Hubs

Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O'Brien explain how FoodCloud and FoodCloud Hubs are working together to maximise the surplus food redistributed to charities in Ireland.


Get engaged with YOUTH FOR CHANGE which addresses the needs of young people and the issues they face regarding digital skills attainment, access to quality non-formal learning opportunities, active citizenship and employability.

YOUTH FOR CHANGE uses the term “youth leaders” to encompass youth workers, educators, organizations and institutions who care about the quality of their work with and for young people. Technology was a saving grace for young people during the COVID19 lockdowns in Europe offering them an opportunity to escape, learn, socialise and connect.

Author Laura Magan

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