Towards a European Market Place for innovation, employment & growth: “Social Innovation" and “Innovation Live”

Why this initiative makes sense

In the current global economic situation, particularly in Europe, the music stopped playing and the moment of truth has arrived for many people. To remain in the game and continue to evolve, it is time for countries, governments, businesses, professionals and citizens to discover the space, talent, creativity and opportunities offered through the internet.

But now that the music has stopped and to find a new space for all of us, it's not enough to resort again to the usual formats and strategies that became obsolete in this new economic environment.

A new, different and innovative vision is needed. A new way of perceiving and doing things, taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by ICT and social media. And a clear wish to set up new rules that will help us evolve towards a better world, a world more able to face the upcoming challenges.

The key to this better world are new spaces for innovation and entrepreneurship originated in the local communities

Proposal submitted to the Heads of the Digital Agenda

This proposal has been channeled through a meeting held by Juan Francisco Delgado, President of the Spanish Community of Telecentre Networks Association, with the heads of the Digital Agenda of the European Commission on June 1st 2012 via a videoconference

During the meeting, a draft was presented and very well received by members of the Commission, who agreed to submit the proposal through a page created at Digital Agenda for Europe Engagement Platform, the online forum created for the 2nd Digital Agenda Assembly (#DA12), where the European members participating in the Assembly may vote on it and stick to it

» vote for the proposal at the Digital Agenda Engagement Platform

The purpose of creating a network based on Social Innovation projects

Under the slogan "The Market Place: Innovation Live”, new work & collaboration relationships will be created among entrepreneurs, creative & talented people, community leaders, managers, experts and the local government staff.

These networks will have their origin in the local communities.

A brief description of the method:  How do we want to do it?

Our proposal is to create a collaborative environment that allows specific viable projects to evolve using the opportunities offered by ICT. These projects are to evolved through the local environment of businesses and through the local social & economic situation.

Their evolution will be supported through four main pillars that we consider will start providing new answers in the new world we are facing:

  • Funding mechanisms, old and new (Crowdsourcing, Business Angels, etc.)
  • Business models (Monetisation)
  • Communication 2.0 (Social Media)
  • Creativity (Invisible learning processes)

Each of these areas will be supported by experts, who will help us drill down into projects needs. This way we aim to provide answers that will catalyse these projects.

Users, entrepreneurs, and businessmen who are already creating wealth and employment, will help us to come up with an answer to what are the new opportunities and challenges arising from the use of ICT and social networks in rural and urban environments.

They will help us to find out if these opportunities involve the acceleration of wealth generation which will be key in the evolution of towns and their future.

The main objective of this collaborative space is to break down barriers so that initiatives can be turned into economically sustainable projects.

This space will help us in visualizing the actions that are being carried out in the territory and will bring out the specifications of each regional zone.

Expert analysis

The main analysis areas the experts will be supporting will be the following:

Creativity: Resources will be provided in order to re-focus our point of view. This re-focusing exercise will be particularly useful when resolving problems, analyzing new situations, adding value, shaking ideas and re-vitalising ideas.

Communication and Marketing: Experts will also provide tools and skills to position our messages, achieve alliances, improve the project ability to seduce, manage brands, expand and spread ideas.

Funding: We will also find sources of information and resources (public, private, alternative, traditional) on how to fund our project including grants, European funds, regional funds, and new funding models among others.

Technology: To find and share applications, platforms, tools and anything else technology may offer to enhance our projects in any of their phases.

Round table

After the Project has gone through this process, it is expected that the Project leader will take advantage of the experts´ feedback. Also, each project leader will be exposed to the experts’ feedback to other projects around the table which may also be useful. With this round table format we are achieving the following objectives:

To accelerate the development of creative ideas adding value in the process. In this process synergies with other entities may be created and good practices shared.

• To become a meeting point where European people can exchange innovative ideas.

• To attract and promote talent and excellence, both among people who wish to develop projects and agents who want to collaborate with existing initiatives.

• To build an "ideas & projects lab", where information and knowledge flow freely so that ideas and people can connect spreading the reach of this initiative beyond the initial group of people involved.

• To promote an inter-discipline forum able to lead change and provide solutions to future challenges taking advantage of technology.

Online collaboration

In order to achieve the best results, we also propose that prior to the actual market place session, Project leaders and experts involved are able to connect via an online collaborative platform.

This European online space will allow European people to share resources, their vision, their experiences and their ideas in the four main acceleration areas mentioned before: Creativity, Funding, Communication and Technology.

This network will:

• Allow the creation of a repository of both successful and failed ideas.

• Promote the ability to share skills and tools in the main acceleration areas to achieve a quick take off, development and deployment of projects.

• Help exploring new points of view to find new solutions to old problems.

• Allow to connect to other people and agents creating alliances, ideas, new working models which will help the projects.

The proposal builds on the experience of Andalusia

The platform will show that technology can help accelerate the execution process of projects via the creation of links between experts and Project leaders involved in the Market Place.

This proposal is based on the real experience of Inn&cia, a project of the @RedGuadalinfo telecentre network, pioneer in Social innovation and recognized as European Living Lab by the ENoLL network.

This experience is developing more than 1000 Social innovation projects using the #Innycia community, created using this acceleration methodology in Andalucía, a Spanish region with more than 8.6 million people and 770 towns. This project has achieved a return of 1.8€ per each invested €.

We've shared our experience through our collaboration with Mondo digitale and their experience with the ‘Phyrtual’ network.

It has been our experience with the work of the Oxford Internet Institute on Invisible Learning that has taken us to this road to further expand our experience through the networks of European telecentres.

Building a network of collaboration

Our proposal involves the creation of an online collaborative network among people (clearly targeting young and unemployed people) that allows them to upload their social innovation projects, so that they can be shared. 

The platform will clearly present project indicators like monetization (business model and volume), achieved funds through different mechanisms, the impact achieved using social media marketing and the level of  technological development.

The ongoing upload of innovation projects and the constant connection between innovative people and social entrepreneurs will help building a powerful virtual community where projects can be enhanced through knowledge sharing (as already described above).

Innovation Live

The virtual connectivity will be highly enhanced if it is replicated in the local physical environment. This will allow an increased acceleration of the innovation process through face-to-face meetings being broadcasted through the internet (streamed) & heavily promoted through social network participation.

We propose to carry out one meeting in each country where selected projects with great social impact get together. Each country would organize their Market Place with the selected innovators presenting their projects to a set of experts who would provide feedback in the mentioned areas of funding, social media, mentoring and creativity.

Once the country Market places have been carried out, the European Commission would organize a European Market Place for which the best projects of the national sessions would be selected. The event would help visualize how local communities have succeeded in showing the full potential of their social innovation and entrepreneurial projects.

In order to achieve this, the help of the different territorial networks and the European Telecentres network will be required.

Support required from the Commission for 2012-2013

After presenting this proposal to the European Commission, the feedback was very positive. They encouraged us to share it with you all and get it voted, to gain traction towards the EDA Assembly 2012. The objective is to work during this period to execute the proposal in the following EDA Assembly 2013.

We would like to ask your feedback and support for this proposal as we do believe it will make a difference in the way Europe develops.

» vote for the proposal at the Digital Agenda Engagement Platform

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