Project Description

Social Economy Canvas

Project’s partners:
EU Policy Lab DG Joint Research Centre, European Commission, DG GROW, European Commission


The Social Economy Canvas is a visual sense making framework inspired by design and by complex-adaptive systems theory. It intends to provide policymakers with an ongoing bottom-up macro-assessment of social economy in Europe while supporting practitioners’ development of new ideas for a regenerative economy.

PACO contributed in the first phase of the project and more in specific in the desk research, the co-design workshops and the first canvas prototype.  The desk research produced an initial context mapping that was iterated several times in co-design workshops with policy-makers, practitioners, academics and designers. The result of the exercise was the current prototype of Social Economy Canvas, a method and a visual tool to comprehend the social, environmental and economic implications of any human activity by maintaining structured, strategic conversations with the ideators and with their beneficiaries.

The canvas is used in micro/local settings by communities, entrepreneurs, support agencies and social investors to empower the design and development of social economy activities. It is also used in macro/global settings by policymakers to contextualise different local activities and identify common challenges and opportunities for the development of new policies.

The testing phase, started in December 2019, If you are interested in trying the canvas with social entrepreneurs in your area, please send a note to

. . .