Social Innovations In The Swiss Mountain Region


Kran und Baustelle
Picture: Heike Mayer

Social innovations and future economic development are two important issues in Swiss mountain regions. Their connection has not yet been studied in detail. This research project examines this connection with a special focus on the tourism, construction and health care sectors.

Tourism, the construction industry and the health care sector are the mainstays of the Swiss economy in the mountain regions. These sectors are under increasing pressure to adapt to the economic challenge of limited growth opportunities. They are confronted with various ecological, economic and social limits to growth. At the same time, there is a general trend towards the introduction of new types of innovation, both involving new forms of cooperation and satisfying social needs. These are known as social innovations. There is evidence that companies, industries and regions are using these innovations to solve social needs and problems. While social innovations are becoming increasingly common in the Swiss mountain regions, there is little systematic knowledge about these types of innovations and in particular about their potential to address the challenge of limited growth opportunities.