SIKE site visit in Germany

From the 4th to the 7th of February, SIKE project partners from Croatia, Portugal, Scotland and Spain were welcomed in Dortmund, Germany in order to reflect on current and future developments of the project and to learn about social innovation in the Ruhr Region and the federal state North Rhine-Westphalia. The first half of the event organized by the partnering Technical University Dortmund took place in the Social Research Center (sfs).
On Monday, an extra day was scheduled in order to have a gathering of consortium members to discuss content of site visits and training programmes as well as the SIKE Unit blueprints.

For the second day, a variety of experienced speakers were invited such as Prof. Jürgen Howaldt, director of the Social Research Centre (sfs) of TU Dortmund University, who reflected on the role of academia in social innovation. In order to do so, he shared the main findings from the project SI-DRIVE. Mark Anderson, director of Research and Innovation at Glasgow Caledonian University as well as project coordinator of SIKE, presented the experience of his university which includes numerous Erasmus+ projects in the area of social innovation, such as LASIN  and SEASIN. The initiative KoSI-Lab was introduced by Eva Wascher from TU Dortmund University and Arne Elias from the City of Dortmund Economic Development Agency. Additionally, Dirk Johann (Catholic University of Applied Sciences Cologne) and Jens Koller (Protestant University of Applied Sciences) described how the “Network for Transfer and Social Innovation – s_inn” makes a strong contribution to regional development, focussing on the third mission. From a practitioners’ view, Theresa Zöckler of the inclusive Social Impact Lab Bonn talked about her organisation’s work in the field of social innovation. Furthermore, Javier Finez of Business Innovation Brokers gave an insight of the social innovation ecosystem in the Basque Country.

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After the qualified input, the event concluded with an interactive workshop encouraging all participants to have a lively exchange of thoughts and discussions on how to improve knowledge exchange between different academic and societal spheres regarding social innovation.
While addressing this, the main focus lay on the three missions of universities (teaching, research and the third mission) as well as the benefits of direct exchange between practitioners and higher education institutes.




PIKSL as the host of a workshop for the international SIKE-Team in Düsseldorf
On the following Wednesday, the site visit continued in the PIKSL (Person-centered interaction & communication for more self-determination in life) Lab Düsseldorf.
The PIKSL project was initiated in 2010 by the Düsseldorf based “In der Gemeinde leben gGmbH” (IGL). The aim of the project is to provide barrier-free access to modern information technologies and media for people with digital educational needs. Therefore, PIKSL brings together people with and without disabilities in its laboratories in Düsseldorf and Bielefeld to jointly develop products and services. People with learning difficulties are actively involved in problem solution and innovation processes. They are the experts in reducing the complexity of digital content. PIKSL cooperates with higher Education Institutions as well as economic partners.


The hosts of the PIKSL project around Marius Mews and Tobias Marczinzik invited to the workshop operated by Jennifer Eckhardt and Christoph Kaletka of TU Dortmund University to share experiences and perspectives. The key subject of the workshop were in particular the highlighting of similarities around the aspect of co-creation as well as the efforts to scale and disseminate socially innovative initiatives. The possibilities and limitations of the presentation of social impact within the framework of special business reports and the potentials of science and practice collaborations were points of mutual interest in the lively discussions.



SIKE visits Nordwärts
Finally, on February 7th, the members of the SIKE project paid a visit to the initiative “Nordwärts”. Harriet Ellwein from the municipality of Dortmund, which is running Nordwärts, introduced the initiative and presented the structure and general concept. It aims to strengthen especially the socially as well as economically challenged city districts in the northern part of the city of Dortmund.

Nordwärts functions as the first contact place for citizens and their concrete ideas for improvement. The initiative develops concepts with them, provides a citywide network of possible supporters and is looking for a sustainable way to finance this projects.
Afterwards, the project partners had the opportunity to ask questions and to learn how cooperation with HEIs can contribute to the development of such a local initiative incorporated into the public body.


To conclude the German site visit, all partners had a meeting reflecting on the last four days, the challenges and opportunities offered for each region and the SIKE project in general.
The site visit to North Rhine-Westphalia revealed similarities between the participating regions, demonstrated the potential of generally applicable concepts and helped to develop the international social innovation community. The next site visit in the SIKE project will take place in Spain and in Portugal in March.

More detailed information about PIKSL and Nordwärts can be found on the SIKE website in the “resources – case studies – Germany” section.


Dmitri Domanski (TU Dortmund University)
Patrick Oberberg (Social Impact)


Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa presents SIKE to the Portuguese community of social innovators

The Portuguese partner of SIKE, Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa, released the SIKE project at the networking event «Aldeia da Inovação Social»

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Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa participated in the first edition of Aldeia da Inovação Social, a 2-day journey of sharing Portuguese social innovation projects from all the country. This event happened in July 2018 at Cerdeira, a typical small village from Serra da Lousã, Portugal. The Cerdeira Village was chosen with the purpose of invigorate low density territories in the interior of Portugal, especially those hit by the terrible summer fires, with new ideas and social impact solutions.

The event was designed to create an informal network environment and to promote the sharing of social innovation projects that have been supported by the government initiative «Portugal Inovação Social». The results achieved by this projects were presented and discussed between partners and visitants, during meetings and workshops.

Portugal Inovação Social it’s a pioneer public initiative that aims to promote social innovation and social entrepreneurship throughout the Portuguese territory as well as for the creation of investment practices that bring new actors (public and private) and a larger scale to the financing of social innovation, stimulating impact philanthropy. This is the first program in a Member State to use the European Structural and Investment Funds to boost social innovation and is responsible for mobilizing approximately EUR 150 million by 2020. For this purpose, it manages four different financial tools that complement each other and are applied depending on the stage of development of each project: Training for Social Investment, Partnerships for Impact, Social Impact Bonds and a Social Innovation Fund.

Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa participated in this event with Casa do Impacto, its new recent initiative to support the creation of social entrepreneurship and social innovation projects. In its own stand, SIKE team shared the purpose, goals and future events of the project.

The disclosure of SIKE in this innovative event was well received and has aroused interest of participants for future collaborations and participation in the project activities.

Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa presents SIKE to the Portuguese community of social innovators

Conference: Open Innovation by Henry Chesbrough

Deusto Business School, in collaboration with Deusto Business Alumni, has organized the Biscay Startup Bay, an entrepreneurship hub promoted by the Provincial Council of Bizkaia. At the meeting, which took place on January 18th, 2019, participated the Professor Henry Chesbrough, director of the faculty of Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation at the Haas Business School of the University of California and founder of the Open Innovation concept.

Chesbrough claims that Open Innovation is playing a role in public agencies and in non-profit organizations as Open Social Innovation (OSI), a concept that refers to “the application of either inbound or outbound open innovation strategies, along with innovations in the associated business model of the organization, to social challenges”.

Conference: the missing link of innovation – Dan Balter

The University of Deusto in collaboration with the Embassy of Israel, organized on December 12th, 2018, a conference on innovation and entrepreneurship with Dan Balter, co-founder and Global Chief Executive Officer of the international company Duco.

Dan Balter considers that the key to Basque Country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem’s success is to observe both the social and the public needs of the environment in which the community is stablished, taking advantage of the strategic location of the region.

SIKE presentation event in Lisbon

SIKE event in Lisbon debates the resources and needs of Portuguese social innovation ecosystem with local stakeholders.

The event was organized by Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa and took place at  Casa do Impacto, a recent hub for social innovation created by this secular wide-ranging Portuguese charity.

More than 500 years after its foundation, Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa pursues its original mission to improve the quality of life of the individuals and communities, particularly those underprivileged and vulnerable, and continues to seek new and more appropriate solutions to current social needs and challenges.

Gathering all the major Portuguese stakeholders of the social innovation field, Casa do Impacto aims to support the generation and grown of startups and entrepreneurship projects with social impact, therefore contributing to a greater promotion and visibility of the social innovation ecosystem.

The event took place in the October 2018 and host several local stakeholders such as researchers, academics, entrepreneurs, public entities, corporations and non-profit organizations.

In the first part of the event, the SIKE partners, Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa and Universidade de Aveiro, explained the goals and methodology applied in the SIKE project. The Refood movement was also presented as a best practice identified by the Portuguese partners. It is an independent non-profit organization born in Lisbon that presents a new response to long standing challenges – an innovative tool to eliminate food waste and hunger in local communities while steadily strengthening social bonds. It strives to provide good rescued food to those in need and prevent food waste in local communities by inspiring and mobilizing the community itself.

The second part of the event started out with an overview about the state of art of the social innovation ecosystems presented by the SIKE team of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa. The extended miss concepts and the diversity of conceptual meanings about social innovation were pointed out, as taking matter in the evaluation of the impact and scale of initiatives and projects. A debate took place in the final part of the event, revealing the variety of knowledges and experiences of the local stakeholders concerning the resources and needs required for the development of social innovation and social entrepreneurship initiatives.

The demand for a better conceptual accuracy in the development of scientific knowledge was pointed out, which premises a need to increase the involvement of the academics in the social innovation process. In the other way, more than the insufficiency of resources, there’s a need to better articulate the resources and instruments already operating in the field in order to create synergies that allow the recognition and consolidation of the social innovation ecosystem.