It is open the III announcement to join the National Network of Social Innovation Spaces, until the next 23rd of April. With the purpose to strengthen and broaden this network, it will be present in the 2ª International Days of Social Innovation Spaces that will take place in Spain, in ESdI MAINOVA (The Saint of Maimona-Badajoz) the 24th of May of 2012.

In a global frame of economic crisis, it is imperative initiatives for innovation and creation of new ICT products and services to promote social cohesion for citizens and territories. Among these we highlight the Social Spaces of Innovation (ESdI), ecosystems in which the activities of research and innovation are directed by the needs and restrictions of the actors.

We spoke with Ignacio del Arco Herrero, member and researcher of the Work Group ESdILAB, specialized in Social Spaces of Innovation and Living Labs of eVIA.

P: How do you define and understand these Social Spaces of Innovation?

R: The Social Spaces of Innovation (ESdI) are a stable organizations for open innovation lead by people. In a Social Space of Innovation the participants design technologies in accordance with their needs and based in the existing resources, not in needs imposed from the outside neither using technologies or resources from other situations.

P: What is the National Network of ESdI?

R: The National Network of ESdIs is a movement promoted by different organizations and companies that want to “open” innovation processes, through collaborative models and with active participation of the users.

During these last years, the eVIA Platform bets for this initiative, there is a work group in eVIA, centred in the Social Spaces of Innovation and Living Labs: “ESdILAB”, that was the germ of the current Spanish Network of Social Spaces of Innovation and Living Labs.

P: Which is the dimension of this National Network of ESdI?

R: Nowadays there is recognized in the National Network 24 initiatives that are considered Social Spaces of Innovation. Inside the Network, all the ESdIs are grouped in three thematic categories, associated to the field of activity of the Technological Platform eVIA:

  • Territorial cohesion: the main part of ESdIs, with a total of 19.
  • Health and Independent Life: 4 ESdIs.
  • Welfare and Social Cohesion: with 1 ESdI. .

P: Which type of initiatives are these Social Spaces of Innovation and Living Labs?

R: Many of them are initiatives with a long trajectory and experience in projects and research results, the National Net of ESdIs a new frame work for this activities, a forum where access to other experiences and practical examples in the creative use of resources and specific skills. In many cases, to generate innovative solutions that use technology to create employment, to improve life conditions and to contribute to the rational use of the natural resources and heritage.

P: Could you give us some examples of ESdI in Welfare and Social Cohesion?

R: A recognized example is Citilab. This “factory of innovation” of Cornellá, Barcelona is a reference of social digital innovation in Europe. It has evolved from its creation in 1997 to convert in a centre that “disseminates the digital impact of the creative thought, the design and the innovation derived from digital culture“.

P: A reference of ESdI in Health and Independent Life:

R: Inside the category of Health and Independent Life, find for example the Foundation Prodis, engaged with people with intellectual disability for their personal development and inclusion in the working world. Part of this important social work includes the active participation in different projects of innovation for development of technological solutions in training.

Also in this category includes the Foundation for Research Bio-medics of the Hospital Gregorio Marañón, together with different organizations and companies develop innovative solutions for health services, welfare and patient well being.

To complete this list, Lebrija (Sevilla) and the “laboratory of innovation” that counts with the City Council, the local UGT and many citizen associations, almost all of them related with health and independent life; the Foundation Zaragoza City of Knowledge.

P: There are many ideas to profit from being a Social Space of Innovation, which additional advantages would you highlight?

R: The main advantages to form part of this network consist in establishing a strong organization for exchange experiences and lessons learnt in the implementation of the principles of open innovation directed by the users. Promoting the exchange of ideas and projects, constitution of strong consortia to prepare winning proposals in R&D national and international project announcements and improve capacity of representation of partners in the European organization.

The annual meeting of the 2011, was 1st International Conference of Social Spaces of Innovation held in Rome and under the auspice of FAO allowed us to open some important synergies and opportunities in the use innovation models as reference for the sustainable development and social inclusion. This year the announcement for recognition of new ESdIs it is open for the recognition of other international initiatives.

P: How can people take part of this initiative?

R: It is very simple, to constitute a Space of Social Innovation ESdI, you have to submit this form and signed to Lorena Burg and Javier García Guzmán.

The documentation to take part in the announcement is:

Spanish version:

English version:

More information: eVIA

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