Social Innovation

When inertia is not sustainable: facilitating social innovation in Barcelona

With increasing social demands and decreasing resources to respond to them, social innovation is much more than a buzzword in Barcelona. Over the last 12 months, UpSocial has been working in partnership with the City of Barcelona and Citymart.com to (a) identify the best proven innovations capable of responding more effectively or efficiently to critical social problems; and (b) facilitate their successful implementation locally.

The idea

Social innovation does not circulate as quickly and nimbly as market-led innovation. The incentives seem to be missing. This is why social innovation (defined as a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole) rarely surpasses the borders of the initial project. “Nearly every problem has been solved by someone, somewhere. The challenge of the 21st Century is to find out what works and scale it up”, said Bill Clinton.

With this idea in mind, and inspired by the work of Ashoka’s ChangeNation in Ireland, UpSocial designed a methodology to respond to critical social challenges through the best proven innovations. Citymart.com played a key role in its design and in researching solutions. Actually, UpSocial used its platform to discover innovations and engage a multisectorial jury to evaluate them and select the most appropriate.

The response

This initiative, titled Social Innovation for Communities (SIC), started with the City of Barcelona and the government of Catalonia identifying four social challenges that required innovation: (a) short and long term solutions for youth unemployment; (b) opportunities for single-parented families in risk of social exclusion; (c) increasing the employability of people with disabilities; and (d) improving the environmental impact of mass tourism in Barcelona. A call for solutions was issued through CityMart and over 400 solutions were initially identified in 8 weeks.

A selection was made to present 25 solutions per challenge to a jury. The selection was based on the following criteria:

  • Evidence of impact: The existence of evidence of impact to make sure the innovation has been successfully implemented.
  • Scale: scale of implementation of the innovation, to understand whether it has been packaged in a way that replication is feasible.
  • Income: The sustainability model is consolidated, so that the model can be implemented efficiently.
  • Low barriers to entry: no major obstacles are found for implementation, such as major investment needs or legal reforms.

The jury of each challenge selected 3 to 5 innovations and the winning innovators were invited to Barcelona to meet with potential investors, replicators, and key stakeholders interested in replicating/implementing their model. Public events were also organised to present the innovations and generate debate about current practices implemented to resolve social problems.

Preliminary results

It is early to make a proper evaluation of the impact this whole process has had to date.  Impact will be measured against the outcomes generated by the new solutions implemented. However, an indicator provides with a promising result: of the 12 innovations brought to Barcelona, 6 are currently being implemented and 3 are negotiating partnerships to adapt their model locally. The development of a better ecosystem for social innovation is also emerging as a positive outcome. Social innovators have appreciated the value of being confronted with different expansion models and the support they received in designing a light but effective outreach strategy to international expansion.

Lessons learnt

This first year of implementation has helped UpSocial draw some conclusions about promoting and implementing social innovation effectively:

  • Social R&D must be a top priority: as social needs increase and become more complex, the potential results of investing in R&D become more evident. This means researching sustainability models to resolve social problems, reviewing the means and goals, bringing together problems and challenges to find disruptive solutions, etc.
  • Importing social innovation requires the participation of the innovator to capture the learnings, accelerate implementation and increase the possibilities of success, as well as the engagement of local actors capable of adapting and replicating the innovation. The two parts are necessary.
  • Social entrepreneurs and social enterprises do not usually have consolidated and well-defined expansion and replication models. There is a need to support successful social entrepreneurs in designing efficient models, usually requiring little support from “headquarters”.
  • There is a great potential in finding new business models to resolve social problems. There are also very interesting innovations in management that allow traditionally small-scale solutions to reach out much larger groups.
  • Citymart.com is an efficient and effective marketplace for innovation, and it works also with social innovation. Its transparent process, the capacity to identify solutions globally and the way it manages knowledge and information is extremely valuable.

For further details on UpSocial and this process, visit Citymart.com/call/SICBarcelona.

Recruitment Opportunity at Living Labs Global - Design Management Researcher!

We are looking to recruit 12 Early Stage Researchers to DESMA, a European doctoral level research training network in the area of Design Management. The positions are full time for three years, starting in September 2012. Opportunities for adding a fourth year for completing a PhD will be discussed separately for each position.

Last date for submissions is March 15th 2012

DESMA is an Initial Training Network funded by the European Commission’s Marie Curie Actions that combines 4 leading universities within the area of Design Management (University of Gothenburg, Aalto University in Helsinki, Politecnico di Milano, and Imperial College, London), 4 leading European design consultancies (Ergonomidesign, Engine, Live|work, Future Concept Lab) and 4 complementary product and service organizations (Volvo Group, Philips Innohub, Poltrona Frau, Living Labs Global) in an unprecedented cross-disciplinary effort to understand how design can be exploited as a driver of innovation and competitiveness in Europe.

We are seeking applicants with a master degree in either design or business and some professional experience. The employed researchers will conduct research projects in collaboration with their host organization, take part in a common training programme with doctoral level courses and build a forum for design management research in Europe.

Last date for submissions is March 15th 2012

For more information visit our website: www.desma.gu.se

Global cities, business leaders and social entrepreneurs meet in Eindhoven to exchange the latest solutions to society’s problems.

Eindhoven will host 150 international public and business leaders, social entrepreneurs, and investors to tackle some of our society’s major challenges such as climate change, obesity and life with chronic diseases, ageing and the new investment partnerships needed to transform our public services.

Living Labs Global a non-profit association to promote digital service innovation in cities, has partnered with the city of Eindhoven to hold their 15th Summit on Service Innovation in the city, a pioneer in implementing new approaches to becoming a zero emission community, the world’s most interactive urban lighting system, and a healthy city in which citizens have latest technologies at their disposal to maintain a high quality of life even when suffering from chronic diseases.

Representatives of New York City, Barcelona, Stockholm and international non-profit organisations including Ashoka will meet business leaders and social entrepreneurs that are solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. Next to major corporations such as Oracle, Philips, and Suez a rich community of international smaller businesses with cutting-edge solutions for some of society’s major challenges will participate in the extensive debates, networking and visioning workshops.

Highlights of the programme include New York City sharing presenting its Active Design Guidelines connecting health research and architecture to citizens more physically active and healthy; the “What if…” workshop on the creative, social and resource opportunities of new urban lighting technologies being implemented in the Strijp-S district led by Philips Design; Finland’s Lappset demonstrating latest developments in linking smartphones to its interactive playgrounds to promote physical activity for all ages from 0-100; and Ashoka sharing their perspective in supporting 3,500 social entrepreneurs in 60 countries to tackle a wide range of social challenges in cities.

Alderman for Innovation, Culture and Public Space, Mary-Ann Schreurs, says: “To improve the life for everyone, in the new world that is developing today, we are busy creating a Caring Society. With enormous progress in the fields of care, education and sustainability, all connected with economic growth, as a result. And the beauty of it all is that in the end people have more ownership of their own life.”

Sascha Haselmayer, General Director of Living Labs Global said: “New solutions connecting technology, leadership and new business thinking can unleash entirely new approaches to improving the lives of our citizens even at times of economic crisis. We are grateful to work with Eindhoven, to show how local challenges can be turned into global opportunities for new technologies, entrepreneurs and creative solutions.”

About Living Labs Global

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark) working with some 50 global cities and more than 450 companies and innovation centres to promote innovation to transform services in cities. Today, the global market for innovative solutions to healthcare, learning, transport, social inclusion, tourism and other services in cities is obscured by lack of knowledge about international experiences, technologies and new business ideas. Living Labs Global strives to collect and present solutions that make cities more attractive, inclusive, efficient and diverse in the www.citymart.com showcase. Participation is free of charge, providing recognition, visibility and new project opportunities.

Endorsements of Living Labs Global can be found here: www.livinglabs-global.com/endorsements.asp. Twitter Newsfeed: http://www.twitter.com/LivingLabsEvent

 

Global cities, business leaders and social entrepreneurs meet in Eindhoven to exchange the latest solutions to society’s problems.

Eindhoven will host 150 international public and business leaders, social entrepreneurs, and investors to tackle some of our society’s major challenges such as climate change, obesity and life with chronic diseases, ageing and the new investment partnerships needed to transform our public services.

Living Labs Global a non-profit association to promote digital service innovation in cities, has partnered with the city of Eindhoven to hold their 15th Summit on Service Innovation in the city, a pioneer in implementing new approaches to becoming a zero emission community, the world’s most interactive urban lighting system, and a healthy city in which citizens have latest technologies at their disposal to maintain a high quality of life even when suffering from chronic diseases.

Representatives of New York City, Barcelona, Stockholm and international non-profit organisations including Ashoka will meet business leaders and social entrepreneurs that are solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. Next to major corporations such as Oracle, Philips, and Suez a rich community of international smaller businesses with cutting-edge solutions for some of society’s major challenges will participate in the extensive debates, networking and visioning workshops.

Highlights of the programme include New York City sharing presenting its Active Design Guidelines connecting health research and architecture to citizens more physically active and healthy; the “What if…” workshop on the creative, social and resource opportunities of new urban lighting technologies being implemented in the Strijp-S district led by Philips Design; Finland’s Lappset demonstrating latest developments in linking smartphones to its interactive playgrounds to promote physical activity for all ages from 0-100; and Ashoka sharing their perspective in supporting 3,500 social entrepreneurs in 60 countries to tackle a wide range of social challenges in cities.

Alderman for Innovation, Culture and Public Space, Mary-Ann Schreurs, says: “To improve the life for everyone, in the new world that is developing today, we are busy creating a Caring Society. With enormous progress in the fields of care, education and sustainability, all connected with economic growth, as a result. And the beauty of it all is that in the end people have more ownership of their own life.”

Sascha Haselmayer, General Director of Living Labs Global said: “New solutions connecting technology, leadership and new business thinking can unleash entirely new approaches to improving the lives of our citizens even at times of economic crisis. We are grateful to work with Eindhoven, to show how local challenges can be turned into global opportunities for new technologies, entrepreneurs and creative solutions.”

About Living Labs Global

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark) working with some 50 global cities and more than 450 companies and innovation centres to promote innovation to transform services in cities. Today, the global market for innovative solutions to healthcare, learning, transport, social inclusion, tourism and other services in cities is obscured by lack of knowledge about international experiences, technologies and new business ideas. Living Labs Global strives to collect and present solutions that make cities more attractive, inclusive, efficient and diverse in the www.citymart.com showcase. Participation is free of charge, providing recognition, visibility and new project opportunities.

Endorsements of Living Labs Global can be found here: www.livinglabs-global.com/endorsements.asp. Twitter Newsfeed: http://www.twitter.com/LivingLabsEvent

 

Cape Town Announces Hybrid Venture Capital Fund with Living Labs Global Award Winner PoweredbyVC

Cape Town today publicly announced its partnership with PoweredbyVC, a venture fund manager and winner of the Living Labs Global Award 2011 to create a hybrid venture capital fund to support social entrepreneurship in the city and all of Africa. The City is to assist a venture capital fund manager, PoweredbyVC, to implement its programme that was selected winner of the Living Labs Global Award 2011. 11 global cities, including Cape Town, called for innovative strategies to address major socio-economic issues through this global process in which PoweredbyVC was selected as one of 11 winners from 245 entries from around the globe.

“Our City’s economic growth model supports high-growth entrepreneurs who can benefit from venture capital. These are the employers of tomorrow. They provide real business solutions and ensure healthy returns to investors. With its billion people, Africa is the world newest untapped market and Cape Town is the knowledge and innovation gateway to the continent,” says Alderman Belinda Walker, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning as she handed over the Living Labs Global Award 2011 to PoweredbyVC.

According to Eben van Heerden, CEO of PoweredbyVC, their concept is a new ‘hybrid’ venture capital funding model that combines the proven best practices of a traditional venture capital fund with a new 'business cultivator' funding system for a sustainable impact on innovation, job creation and growth. This second generation venture capital fund will combine funding, business angel investment, incubation and entrepreneurship development initiatives into a structured ecosystem to the benefit of emerging entrepreneurs and providers of funding alike.

 

Cape Town Announces Hybrid Venture Capital Fund with Living Labs Global Award Winner PoweredbyVC

Cape Town today publicly announced its partnership with PoweredbyVC, a venture fund manager and winner of the Living Labs Global Award 2011 to create a hybrid venture capital fund to support social entrepreneurship in the city and all of Africa. The City is to assist a venture capital fund manager, PoweredbyVC, to implement its programme that was selected winner of the Living Labs Global Award 2011. 11 global cities, including Cape Town, called for innovative strategies to address major socio-economic issues through this global process in which PoweredbyVC was selected as one of 11 winners from 245 entries from around the globe.

“Our City’s economic growth model supports high-growth entrepreneurs who can benefit from venture capital. These are the employers of tomorrow. They provide real business solutions and ensure healthy returns to investors. With its billion people, Africa is the world newest untapped market and Cape Town is the knowledge and innovation gateway to the continent,” says Alderman Belinda Walker, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning as she handed over the Living Labs Global Award 2011 to PoweredbyVC.

According to Eben van Heerden, CEO of PoweredbyVC, their concept is a new ‘hybrid’ venture capital funding model that combines the proven best practices of a traditional venture capital fund with a new 'business cultivator' funding system for a sustainable impact on innovation, job creation and growth. This second generation venture capital fund will combine funding, business angel investment, incubation and entrepreneurship development initiatives into a structured ecosystem to the benefit of emerging entrepreneurs and providers of funding alike.