tirsdag den 2. december 2014

No more PDF's! The Role of Social Innovation Research and The Academy.

Social Innovation is NOT about creating NEW solutions

Prensentation by Fredrik Björk, Malmö University.
First of all, Social Innovation is NOT about creating NEW solutions. We need to experiment, Fredrik strained. Solutions are the Fairy tale TRAP of Social Innovation, we need INTERVENTIONS of Change, no more PDF’s.

Fredrik has done research on Civic Soultions Labs in Canada, Sweden and US, and he is convinced framing the ability to create an interventional, open and dialogue based Lab-Model is the way ahead. But we also need to bring researchers into the field of Social Labs, as they can provide mediation, critical perspectives, legitimacy, methodological knowledge and access to research within the labs.

Fredrik is a lecturer in Environmental Science at the Department of Urban Studies. Between 2010-2012 he was programme coordinator for the Leadership For Sustainability master’s programme at Malmö University, and between 2012-2013 responsible for research coordination at the Forum for Social Innovation Sweden. He is a board member of the Center for Public Entrepreneurship; the Swedish SROI Network and the social enterprise Yalla Trappan. Fredrik made some very interesting remarks on the role of the Academy in Social Innovation research

At the present there is a high focus – in Denmark as well – on the need for more “relevant” faculties, participatory action/research and production of knowledge within the field of Social Innovation. In Fredriks perspective, sustainability is about reaching the gap between users and experts. The “Dissemination of Knowledge”, as he put it.

We need to get away from the “project programming approach” to creating intervention based experimental and action-oriented research and Social Innovation frames. Think innovatively about which researchers you’d like to involve in a collaborative process. Researchers are also practitioners!

Fredriks presentation was highly inspiring and usefull. Thank You Fredrik!

Social Labs - Social+Conference: Marlieke Kieboom & Chris Sigaloff, Kennisland, (NL)

Workshop on Social Labs

How do we set up and run social experiments for societal challenges? Social innovation labs are the latest vehicles for systemic change – for transforming the way our welfare programs, social initiatives, and even our economic systems run. How do they run social experiments in practice? How do lab practitioners learn - from each other, from their failures and from the history of practice in our field? What kind of framework for theory, tools and methods are applied? And what kind of role does
research play?

Jesper Christiansen, Mindlab DK, Marlieke Kieboom & Chris Sigaloff, Kennisland NL (NGO) as well as Fredrik Björk from Malmô University, alle contributed in the workshop; “How do we set up and run social Experiments for societal challenges?”.

Marlieke Kieboom & Chris Sigaloff, Kennisland NL (NGO) opened the workshop on Social Labs.
Chris Sigaloff, CEO, Kennisland (NL)

Chris specialises in social innovation and works with organisational transformation, collaboration processes and internal (bottom-up) innovation. Chris leads Kennisland projects across education and the public sector. Chris‘ expertise is in the design and facilitation of programmes through which people jointly create new knowledge - knowledge about the ability to create more public value, to collaborate more effectively, and to strengthen your position as a professional. 

Chris Sigaloff, CEO Kennisland, (NGO) NL

Marlieke Kieboom, Kennisland discussed how we can make knowledge useful to support people’s innovative practices? In practice she designs new research methodologies and learning infrastructures with/for citizens, professionals and policy makers in the fields of education & well-being.  

Whats Goin On? - The Netherlands and Social Labs

The tendencies in Societal changes effects the citizents of Holland, as the government Is focusing on decentralization and establishing a new participatory society. All this has an effect as we change from a Well-fare to a DIY-fare society, which tries to develop and imply new methods of meeting and greeting the real needs of the citizents by participatory design approaches. In this regard, working in “social labs” – integrating and facilitating both official as well as NGO / non-formal need has proven to be of great value, Marlieke and Chris pointed.

The real task is having big ambitions, but reaching them by patiently taking one step at the time. Joining hands, that isJ
Social Labs prove to use new interacting methods, using Design Thinking and participatory design. As such Social Labs, can be:
From closed expert based ideamakers to open multidisciplinary teams that collaborate on the issues and experiments together. Social Labs are thereby:

Social Labs are about People working together, relying on senses, feelings, actions and creates a different frame for understanding the real needs, not singularily based upon numbers.

Action Oriented:

The social Labs often creates direct, action-based interactions.


From the offices to the real worldJ


From welldefined focused group-teams to open for everyone.


From high Cost Consultants to collaborative, knowing, caring and enthused local citizents.

How do I get along with a Social Lab?

Marlieke Kieboom & Chris Sigaloff, Kennisland, set up this list:

Challenge the System and Society, by asking questions.
Frame the good Question
Set up A Multidisciplinary Team
Find a suitable location
Set up Dynamic Moments.

Who said Design Thinking is no good for Social Innovation?
Great presentation, and very inspiring eperiences and talks. Thanks to Marlieke Kieboom & Chris Sigaloff, from Kennisland! Visit: https://www.kl.nl/en/

Social Experiments, Please! From SocialPLUS Conference Copenhagen, December 1, 2014.

Social+ Conference: (A collaboration with The Velux Foundation, SocialInnovationeXchangeNordic and Social+)website: http://socialeopfindelser.dk/english/

Yesterday at the Social+ conference in CPH.  The topics were  “Social Experiments”.

The challenge was–how to create a wider non-solution focused, but progressive open design-inspired approach to letting people experiment in creating social business and cultural interactions. Programme: http://socialeopfindelser.dk/wp-content/uploads/sociale-eksperimenter-konference-2014.pdf

The first speaker was Christian Bason, CEO Dansk Design Center

Christian has been director of MindLab, and Business Manager in Rambøll Management and has a renowned experience within Design Thinking and participatory process. His latest book ”Design for Policy” has just landed, and inspired from this, he focused on bringing Participatory Designs into an open experimental Social Design effort. 

The Conference was facilitated by Clement Kærsgaard, and opened by Andreas Hjorth Frederiksen, CEO, Social+. Andreas is the founder of Frivilligjob.dk – Mikrolån.dk Ungdommens Røde Kors, Red Barnet, Socialt Udviklingscenter SUS og senest været  direktør for KPH – a cooperative for innovative social and cultural start-ups.   

After the opening a Panel consisting of Vibeke Jensen, Head of Emplyment, Aarhus Municipality, Jesper Thyrring Møller, CEO, The Municipality of Hedensted, Dorthe Lysgaard, Projectmanager at the Tryg Foundation, Anders Folmer Buhelt, Manager of Affairs at The Youth Red Cross, Denmark, and Mads Roke Clausen, Director, The MotherHelp, Denmark. The Panel was under fire, by Clement as well as participants, asking how we can provide new frames for experimenting. All agreed to abandon the solution based approach for a more design, fail-forward experimental approach.

mandag den 8. september 2014

Social Design. A new Design Thinking Method.

Social Design. A new Design Thinking Method.

The amount of social business, policies, CSR strategies, educations and companies focusing on Social Innovation or Social Design has grown exponentially all over the world, during the last five to ten years.

Paul Hawken, an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and author working within the field of writing and teaching about the impact of commerce on living systems, and consulting with governments and corporations on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy, called social innovation; “the largest movement on earth”. (article)

According to the edge leading columnist, lectorer and social designer, Cheryl Heller, Chair of the MFA Design for Social Innovation, Department at the School of Visual Arts, New York, ”its all about a major change”. (article)

The western economical idea of ”endless consumption” and producing our way out the crisis, as eternal means for growth, change and social prosperity, or the conception of the citizents as consumers, are about to change. 

For years the western civilisations have had their believes in ”creating creative communities” or expanding the creative industries as means to produce artefacts for a market or consumer. 

The markets of consumption will still be there, off course, but the new means of production derives from co-creational and social rather than economic rationales. Cheryl Heller puts it this way:

”Design for social Innovation has now emerged as a practice, and as with all new ways of thinking (mental models), it has caused a bifurcation between the old world of guilt-free capitalism and a new, still mostly uncharted world which we are both discovering and creating as we go along. To generalize shamelessly, business doesn’t understand what social innovation has to do with business, and social innovators mostly blame business for screwing things up.”

The EU has its social innovation programme launched which can be inspiring to visit, please visit here.

The Social Design Method Menu

The Social Design Method Menu

Lucy Kimbell and Joe Julier made an impressive design thinking based social innovation “manual” called the Social Design Method Menu” for the Young Foundation in 2011. 

This remarkable collection of different approaches to Designing Social Innovation, describes the challenges of design thinking within the framework of social innovation, and provides a series of suggestions to how to approach the issue. 

Lucy Kimbell says:

“People working in all sorts of contexts, as managers, activists, receptionists, or volunteers, are involved in creating new ways of doing things in the organisations they work in.

Because design is focused on the creation of new things (products, services, interactions, systems, environments…) to serve particular purposes, exploring the skills and knowledge of designers is a great way of beginning to address these changes. Against the backdrop of economic uncertainty, service providers and policy-makers as well as activists are all faced with the question of how to do more with less, and increase user satisfaction and improve outcomes at the same time.

Trying out a different approach provides space to think about complex issues outside the typical constraints of organisations” (article) 
“We believe the centre of gravity is now shifting. Before long, enterprises that do not seek positive social impact will start to look out of place”, Simon Willis, Young Foundation Chief Executive, says.

søndag den 7. september 2014

Social Design and Entrepreneurship

Social Design and Entrepreneurship. What is it? I Like it.

By Assistant Professor, Thomas Østergaard, VIA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, Denmark.

Social Design emerges from the contemporary social problems of today

Issues such as health, rural / urban development, poverty, inclusion, educational needs, environmental threats, global warming  and much more are the starting points of socialdesigners work. Another field of activity is the design of human-orientated, sustainable processes and systems in corporate and organizational structures.

Social Design describes a design that starts with people: especially attention and empathy is focused on local contexts, socio-cultural environment of people. It includes “non designers” in every phase of the design process; from brainstorming to the actual design and ultimately in the implementation.

So, Social Design describes a design practice that no longer wants to be a purely technical or consumer-oriented design of products and services. Social Design creates social added value by becoming an advocate of social concerns that the state and the market do not serve adequately or at all. Using the special competences of design, solutions are developed to open up new ways to social innovation as well as to significantly improve health and the quality of life.

Working with Social Design in Aarhus, VIA University College, Social Entrepreneurship, autumn 2014.

This ranges from participatory elements right on up to the far-reaching co-design of products, services and system solutions. The design process is hereby expanded into multi-disciplinary including techniques focusing on true devotion from fellow citizens. And the premises for interacting with other people all over the world have changed rapidly over the last 10 years.

Business schools adopt design thinking or “human-centered” design as their version of it, AIGA created a national program dedicated to it (Design for Good), IDEO formed IDEO.org to address it. Meet-ups for people wanting to understand how to use it to “change the world” take place everywhere all the time.

Wikipedia defines social innovation as: “… new strategies, concepts, ideas and organizations that meet social needs of all kinds — from working conditions and education to community development and health — that extend and strengthen civil society. “

Global natives and Digital Darwinism

Expressions and terms such as ”Digital Natives” or ”Digital Darwinism” are often used by sociologists and anthropologist to characterize the state of the our ways of communicating and interacting socially.

”Digital Natives” is used to describe the generations which where born with acces to all thinkable digital commodities; the internet and all our computerized gadgets. The ”Digital Darwinism” describes the fact that the digital natives – the users or communities of the digital globalized world are ahead of the development of services, artefacts, designs and consumer related products. Especially in the digital world. Brian Solis espresses it this way:

“Digital Darwinism is the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than your ability to adopt.” (article)  

Brian Solis is an analyst and anthropologist, dealing with “disruptive technology on business and society”. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

The immediate accessibility to other people and ideas in the digital world, related to viable and easy acces to expression, knowledge, education, communities or commodities, may have changed our perception of ourselves and the way we interact with the authorities, companies, brands or fellow citizents permanently.

But, many organisations still interact with the “global natives” in ways that make them to abundon the core mission –  which is “serving people”. By adapting design methods into our social and production lives we may create ways of co-relate and working together productively, focusing on the people you work with and the outcomes you are trying to achieve.

New Means of Expression

This immanent evolutionary digital mean to express ourselves seems to influence on our social behaviour and perception of the world, as well. Organizing, revolting or just suggesting alternative solutions, community based designs, ideas, concepts or changes are emerging everywhere. And, as such impacting all our capacities; business, educations, public services, brands, etc. We are, maybe without our content or knowledge, becoming social designers.

You might not think of yourself as a typical “designer”, but you may in fact design things, concepts and patterns on a daily basis.

Our lives keep changing as we develop new skills as “Global Natives” and citizents and thereby our routine and the fysical as well as conditional / political assets and possiblities change. A public, or company, based solution seeming perfectly suitable for us just a few years ago, may appear stupid, obsolete and unsuitable for us just ecxactly today.

By being more aware of our ability to impact on our surroundings and immediate vicinity we may develop and extract new concepts and solutions together in community based designs. But – moving from unconsiciousness to proactive social design requires guidance and tools. And by letting deisgners join forces with activists the outcome goes from designing artefacts to designing relationships.

This is what this blog is all about. Using design thinking methods in social innovation.
And this is by far just a small supplement to all the activities surrounding us in this field today. I’ll try linking, refering and posting some of the interessting stuff I find on my way, for you to see and share.