The role and the importance to adopt a transdisciplinary approach when social innovation is sought, is agreed upon in planning literature. But why is transdisciplinarity so critical to satisfy social needs and bring about transformation all together?
First of all, transdisciplinarity refers to a strategy that promotes a strong intermingling of academic and non-academic worlds that join together to produce shared analysis and implement shared solutions. In terms of effectiveness of expected outcomes, this approach may assure more socially robust assumptions and more fitting solutions.
Partnerships as instrument of innovation and empowerment have been encouraged by the Eu through various programmes for many years by now and the participation of every societal actor along the process is seen as essential to change. Transdisciplinarity is taking the challenge a step further. It puts the accent not only on the involvement of different stakeholders, but also on the continuum of the process of knowledge creation, which path leads relentlessly to mutual learning and eventually transformation. This path needs to be built through research and action, as two different but equally crucial moments of collective learning.
In this perspective, knowledge produces transformation which in turn produce more knowledge. Such a circular process of collective knowledge production should be able to forge a joint problematization of the field of study which helps to better understand social issues, identify a shared view of the common good, and build a stronger connection between what happens in the field and abstract reasoning. Collective learning, as the result of this process, is paramount for enabling transformation on the basis of a common agenda which all the actors have agreed upon.
This process does not come without challenges, for stakeholders can be very diverse and find it difficult to share goals, working methods and values, to cross their traditional and confortable boundaries. Collective learning needs continuous negotiation, eagerness to experiment and a common will to redefine the research setting at each step of the process.
 See for examples the Guide to Social Innovation at https://ec.europa.eu/eip/ageing/library/guide-social-innovation_en