Project Description

Social Economy Canvas

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


How can we use Design Thinking methods to reframe the way we categorize profit and nonprofit organizations? How can we define an index to rank organizations on the basis of their social, economic and environmental impact? How can we use this ranking to help the relationships between different organizations for the benefit of society? These were three of the questions in the brief that was proposed by the EU Policy Lab to PACO in a research project aimed at defining a Social Economy Canvas.

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 the development of practitioners of new ideas for a regenerative economy.

Through desk research, co-design workshops and first canvas prototypes, PACO produced several models for open discussions with policy-makers, practitioners, academics and designers.

The current canvas is the result of those interactions: it is meant to be 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 final version of the canvas is open source and available for download, please send a note to

. . .