In this paper I examine and explain a specific action of a government body: I look at four commitments by the European Commission (EC) to support social innovation, and ask: Why did the European Commission commit to support social innovation in 2011? Social Innovation is an ill-defined, ambiguous concept. Critics note that the Commission's focus on social innovation distract from debates on the broader political direction. Others are calling attention to an upwards power shift concealed behind talks of empowerment. At the same time, the concept shifts focus towards the social process of innovation and the societal impact of innovations. The EC's interest in this concept therefore deserves attention.