ESSI ConferenceAt the recent ESSI Conference in Dortmund, Germany, Andrea Ricci was on a panel where he discussed the role of interdisciplinary research in fostering social innovation, based on ISINNOVA’s work in the SHAPE-ID project.

The panel session, entitled “Ecosystems of Social Innovation”, discussed how SI initiatives are incepted, grow and flourish alongside the development of collaborative endeavors that connect different types of stakeholders around a given social need or challenge within a context. The idea for the panel was to discuss the potential of SI to generate these productive interactive networks and ecosystems that have the capacity to adapt, learn and evolve over time. The panel invited successful existing experiences of emerging SI ecosystems with a twofold aim:
1. To explore the potential of SI ecosystems to align people, goals, timeframes, and interests, and,
2. To learn from the main features of SI living models, for example:

  • The glocal network promoted by the Urbegi group in the Basque Country, an ecosystem based on engagement and user incentives to develop active communities for  the creation of collaborative projects;
  • The Catlabs collaboratory, a program connecting living labs, fab labs, telecenters with the official R&I system in Catalonia in order to generate a “universal innovation ecosystems”.
  • The concept of ‘nested systems’ for collaborative impactful research aims to promote innovative ways to connect stakeholders in research, innovation, and society to respond to societal challenges;
  • Some lessons learned from the analysis on interdisciplinary collaborative frameworks like the SHAPE_ID project.

They discussed, among other things, the innovative character of such initiatives, and especially the relationship between traditional approaches of the R&I ecosystems and the social innovation new practices that are generating interactive SI ecosystems in different fields and contexts.