Enhancing Social Innovation through active methodologies in Higher Education





HIgher Education, Social Innovation, Nonformal Education, Skills, Education for Sustainable Development, Methodologies


Social innovation is now part of the political agenda, funding programs, and economic development policies. The world is changing, and, among other factors, digital transformation is assuming a key driver in the paradigm shift. Challenges appear, and solutions are needed, especially in what concerns human wellbeing and innovative approaches. Higher education can have an important role in this ongoing process, as it can supply an open, transformative platform for collective knowledge creation through research, education, innovation, and culture. In fact, it can shape the future of a knowledge-driven society if it works closely with its stakeholders and tries to meet their needs. Implementing new educational methodologies where students can participate and have a more dynamic and active role can be an effective answer. Combing formal education with non-formal education seems to develop the needed 21st -century skills. This article aims to share some best practices already developed at the Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave, based in Portugal. It reflects students’ perceptions of their participation in nonformal projects during their formal education. Students seem to get more involved, more committed, and empowered, while they are learning by doing and contacting real cases in real conditions. The results seem to reinforce the notion that there is a strong relationship between learning, innovation, and social innovation. Students feel more holistically integrated into the world and with a lot of developed skills that will differentiate them in the future, in a more sustainable approach.

Author Biography

Isabel Ferreira, IPCA

Management School, Professor