Social Innovation

The challenges faced by 21st-century society are complex, so the transformation processes to deal with them require complex and integral approaches. The processes of change to be promoted in the future should be systemic and lead to structural changes in the system, covering all the elements that make up that system and the connections that exist between them.

Open Innovation platforms

Open innovation platforms are an instrument to stimulate systemic change. They are called “social innovation platforms”, covering:

1) stakeholders

2) methodologies

3) other actions that generate new processes, products and services in an integrated manner to deal with the challenges faced by emerging countries (Espiau, 2017).

To achieve this, they foster the involvement of a wide variety of stakeholders, listening to the community through different tools and the co-design -together with the target community for transformation or systemic change- of interventions and actions that are interconnected, as if they were an ecosystem.

Our differentiating element: “k”

The element that differentiates our open innovation platforms (OIP) is precisely the collection of shared values and beliefs in each district, town/city or country right from the start of the process. This is done through ethnographic and qualitative research, basically involving the incorporation of the cultural element (“k”) into innovative processes of community transformation.

This, linked to the creation of instruments to measure these intangible elements, is a more effective alternative to the traditional project management approach.

Why create an OIP?

  • They help to connect a host of initiatives and strengthen their cohesion and visibility in the process, through a collaborative methodology instead of working on isolated projects.
  • They create networks of stakeholders linked to the platform who identify the needs and correct strategies to be implemented in a programme in a particular territory.
  • They allow existing specialist knowledge to be exploited much more intensely at district, town/city or country level (universities, cooperatives, municipal councils, community initiatives, company incubators, etc.).
  • They create interconnected innovative ecosystems, increasing the impact of the initiatives.
  • They reduce the investment risk and generate a medium- and long-term exit strategy for their promoters.

Comparison between traditional transformation processes and those based on the platform approach

  • Transactional vs Relational: Social innovation is something that proposes new products, services and processes to face up to emerging challenges to society, but it also generates positive changes in the relations between the different stakeholders in a particular system.
  • Identification of needs with experts vs listening processes: In a traditional approach, the initial needs are identified with experts through a study of trends. In a platform approach, the starting point is listening to and understanding the range of narratives that exist in a community, together with its values and beliefs.
  • Identify problems vs proposing solutions: In a traditional approach, there is a tendency to continuously focus on the problem. In a platform approach, the focus and energy is placed on the creation of solutions, and it is assumed that progress can be made in achieving the desired impact through the generation and prototyping of solutions.
  • Carrying out actions vs continuous learning and feedback: In a traditional approach, the energy is focused on carrying out pre-defined, established actions. In a platform approach, the energy is focused on learning and constantly adapting decisions and actions. It is not, therefore, a linear process but one that feeds back into itself continuously.
  • Scaling projects vs scaling processes: In a traditional approach, solutions are scaled to problems through linear projects and -quite often- the intervention of experts. In a platform approach, work is done from the process perspective: involving a wide range of stakeholders, techniques, and the search for solutions and funding.