Innovation Trajectories in Social Services (ITISS)

The cooperative project "Innovation Processes in Social Services" aims to analyse innovation processes in the areas of help for people with disabilities and addiction support in Germany and Switzerland. The research focuses on identifying the actors and framework conditions that have contributed and continue to contribute to the reorganisation of these social service fields. The qualitative research method of grounded theory is used to analyse the innovation processes in terms of content and time. Developments in social work and societal changes will be analysed in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of innovation.

The overarching aim of the study is to identify framework conditions and factors that promote social innovation. In this way, the study should provide insights for those who want to meet the central challenges of our time with social innovations or innovations in the social sector in order to improve social services and thus increase the quality of life of the people affected.

The project is a co-operation with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (Innovation trajectories in social services. Innovationswege in sozialen Diensten (, the Fliedner University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf, the Centre for Social Innovation and Investment and the Institute for Diaconal Studies at the University of Heidelberg.


2024 - 2027

Collaborating Partners

Prof. Dr. Anne Parpan-Blaser, Hochschule für Soziale Arbeit, Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz

Prof. Dr. Matthias Hüttemann, Fliedner Fachhochschule Düsseldorf

Dr. Georg Mildenberger, Centrum für Soziale Innovationen und Soziale Investitionen (CSI), Universität Heidelberg

Prof. Dr. Johannes Eurich, Diakoniewissenschaftliches Institut (DWI), Universität Heidelberg

Research Associates:

Dr. Natalie Benelli

Sarah Bühler, MA

Dr. Kris Vera Hartmann

Dr. Gudrun-Christine Schimpf

Schweizerischer Nationalfonds (SNF)
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)