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July 1, 2015

Social Innovation Accelerator Kicks Off

Social Innovation Accelerator Kicks Off

Fourteen SEiSMiC partners from five countries convened in Berlin June 27-28 for kick-off discussions about a newly-minted initiative, Social Innovation Acceleration in Cities (SIAC).

The idea, spearheaded by Arjan Biemans and Erna Bosschart of SEiSMiC’s Dutch NaNet, is to create a network of people across Europe, all dedicated to mutual assistance in bringing social innovation initiatives to life.

According to Biemans, the participants in Berlin were full of ideas and energy, and committed at a personal level.

"What struck me the most in the two days was that we didn’t have a meeting of 14 institutions, but a meeting of 14 civilians, with all kinds of different backgrounds, following their own passion, ambitions and dreams," he said. "This shared connection created a strong foundation for a very creative and efficient weekend and the start of a SIAC-team of new frontiers."

The inspiration for the new network came from the Flemish Social Innovation Factory, a network of people who trade knowledge and experience with the aim of building capacities, especially those of the new generation of social entreprenuers.

Since that meeting, Biemans and Bosschart have written a concept paper on SIAC with the help of Peeters as well as Jurgen van der Heijden of the development and environmental consultancy AT Osborne.

The participants in Berlin brainstormed the first day and agreed that SIAC should focus on the following activities:

  • creating new local accelerators;
  • upgrading existing accelerators or similar organisations; and
  • connecting existing groups, learning from each other and connecting urban research to new communities on a trans-national level.

The participants debated about best ways to go forward and in the end, agreed to work up a proposal for a Horizon 2020 tender on the theme "integrating society in science and innovation."

Biemans wrote a longer text describing his impressions of the meeting. You may download it here.