Les communautés d’innovation

Le CRIEM vous convie à participer à une discussion autour du livre Les communautés d’innovation. De la liberté créatrice à l’innovation organisée le vendredi 13 octobre 2017. Pour l’occasion, le CRIEM reçoit Laurent Simon (HEC) codirecteur de l’ouvrage, avec Patrick Cohendet et Benoit Sarazin.

La séance sera animée par Richard Shearmur (École d’urbanisme, McGill) et le collectif sera notamment commenté par Diane De Courcy (Je fais Mtl/Ville de Montréal), Gorka Espiau (CRIEM), Zoé Gagnon-Paquin (Magnéto), Pierre-Emmanuel Moyse (Faculté de droit, McGill) et Julie Aurore Rijpens (SILL, McGill).

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La discussion se tiendra de 12h30 à 14h00, au CRIEM (3438, rue McTavish, salle 100). n. RSVP en cliquant sur le bouton ci-dessous.

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Gobierno Abierto

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El Palacio Miramar acogió el curso “Gobernu Irekia irekitzen. Desmitificando el Gobierno Abierto” dentro de los Cursos de Verano de la UPV/EHU, en el que se analizaron distintas experiencias llevadas a cabo en esta materia, sus aciertos y errores. Organizado por la Dirección de Gobierno Abierto del Gobierno Vasco, el curso estuvo enfocado en trazar, a través de la participación, una hoja de ruta útil para administraciones y organizaciones que quieran profundizar en esta disciplina.

El curso celebrado en Donostia-San Sebastián contó con la presencia de ponentes de talla internacional enfocadas en el open data y su explotación. A Miren Gutiérrez, directora del programa Data Analysis, research and communications en la Universidad de Deusto le siguieron María Jesús Fernández Ruiz, directora de la sede electrónica del Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza, institución premiada por su labor en este ámbito; Clare Devaney, directora de Citizen-I, que presentó  los retos de la innovación abierta desde su experiencia en la ciudad de Manchester; y Cristiano Ferri, responsable de Hack-Lab del Parlamento Federal de Brasil.

La segunda jornada contó con la presencia de Victoria Contreras, directora general de Conecta Cultura, que abordó los retos, errores y satisfacciones en procesos de empoderamiento con mujeres indígenas en México, y de Tessy Britton, directora de Participatory City, un proyecto de barrio participativo en Londres. A mi me toco hablar sobre la plataforma de participación multi-agente con la que colabora en la ciudad de Montreal. Este es el contenido íntegro de la intervención.

http://www.irekia.euskadi.eus/es/embed/videos?video_id=9518

 

Euskal berrikuntza sozialaren etorkizuneko lan ildoak

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Berrikuntza soziala gure gizarteak dituen arazo, erronka eta behar berri eta konplexuei erantzun berritzailea ematea dela ulertzen dugu. Justizia soziala eta aukera berdintasuna ditugu helmuga eta horietara heltzen saiatzen gara gure eguneroko jardunean eta gure zerbitzuen bidez.

Horien inguruan arituko gara jardunaldian: ikuspegi orokorra emango digu Yayo Herrerok eta haren ondoren, Euskal Herriko praktika desberdinak entzuteko aukera ere izango dugu. Amaitzeko, mahai ingurua egingo da berrikuntza sozialean erreferente diren kideekin.

Emprendimiento social y desempleo

El próximo jueves, 26 de octubre, Jovesolides organiza una jornada dirigida a exponer la realidad actual del emprendimiento social en Europa y América Latina. Pero también un encuentro donde el principal objetivo es reflexionar sobre su impacto social, y si su aplicación y desarrollo en las sociedades actuales puede influir positivamente para reducir o acabar con el desempleo.

cartel-innovat-presentacionBajo el título, ‘¿Es verdad que el emprendimiento social resuelve el desempleo?, el evento será introducido por Francisco Álvarez​ Molina, Director General de Economía, Emprendimiento y Cooperativismo y Lourdes Mirón Mirón, presidenta de Jovesolides.

En éste se presentará un estudio sobre el emprendimiento social en Europa y América Latina. Será a cargo de Oliver Soto, miembro de Iuventa, responsable del estudio nacido del proyecto InnovaT.

Además, el evento que tendrá lugar en el complejo deportivo cultural La Petxina, también contará con la presencia de Gorka Espiau. El investigador de Agirre Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies impartirá una conferencia sobre nuevas tendencias en innovación social aplicadas a la generación de empleo.

En la jornada también habrá espacio para experiencias de emprendimiento con alma. Un total de tres empresas sociales presentarán su trabajo. Todas desde distintos ámbitos, pero teniendo en común la necesidad de tener un impacto social. En la jornada participarán: la Universidad Jaume I de CastellónAeioluz, y la Fundación Ana Bella.

El final llegará con ‘Pisco-Lab’, un espacio para el encuentro entre los y las asistentes, dirigido a favorecer el networking.

Si ya estás interesada/o en asistir, próximamente te contamos cómo inscribirte para participar.

Monográfico sobre innovación social. Revista Española del Tercer Sector

 itdUPM ha coordinado este nuevo número de la Revista Española del Tercer Sector con un monográfico sobre innovación social, en el que claboran personas de referencia en temas como agricultura urbana, makerspaces, innovación públicas y nuevas tendencias, entre otros.

El resultado es un producto para la reflexión y el debate entre perspectivas diversas, cuyos objetivos son:

  • Aportar claridad conceptual a un fenómeno sobre el que existe un cierto nivel de confusión entre profesionales y estudiosos del ámbito de lo social;
  • Dar a conocer experiencias pioneras, tanto desde el punto de vista de la promoción de las organizaciones que innovan socialmente, como desde proyectos concretos inspiradores;
  • Discutir de manera rigurosa la magnitud que el fenómeno tiene y puede tener en términos de impacto en la transformación hacia la sostenibilidad social y ambiental a la que apela la Agenda 2030 de Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible.
Gráfico del artículo de Gorka Espiau

Artículos de la revista:

Panorama: Nuevas tendencias de la Innovación Social. Gorka Espiau Idoiaga. Universidad McGill de Montreal, Senior Fellow en “The Young Foundation” y Agirre Lehendakaria Center (UPV-EHU).

Análisis multidimensional del concepto de innovación social en las organizaciones no lucrativas españolas. Evidencias prácticas. Luis I. Álvarez-González, Nuria García-Rodriguez, María José Sanzo-Perez, Marta Rey-García. Universidad de Oviedo (España).

Innovación social, democracia y makerspaces. Adrian Smith. Centros de investigación SPRU y STEPS de la Universidad de Sussex (Gran Bretaña).

La agricultura urbana desde lo tecnológico y lo social. Julián Briz, Isabel de Felipe, Teresa Briz. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (España).

El impacto de las organizaciones del tercer sector como innovación social en España. Nuevas soluciones para la asistencia a dependientes, la inserción laboral de vulnerables, la educación financiera y la museología social. Marta Rey-García, Vanessa Mato-Santiso, Noelia Salido-Andrés. Universidad de A Coruña (España).

De la Innovación Social a la Innovación Pública: un marco para la reflexión en la reforma de las políticas públicas. Álvaro Luna García, Alfonso Unceta Satrustegi. SINNERGIAK Social Innovation (UPV/EHU).

Notas y colaboraciones:

Laboratorios de innovación en financiadores de innovación para el desarrollo. Xoan Fernández. Banco Multilateral de Desarrollo de América Latina (CAF), Colombia.

La Innovación Social en el País Vasco. De la teoría a la práctica. Gotzon Bernaola Ariño, Goizalde Atxutegi. Agencia Vasca de Innovación  (Innobasque).

La innovación social en la actividad de las entidades sociales. El caso de la Fundación Tomillo. Mercedes Valcárcel, Lucía Velasco. Fundación Tomillo (España)

Ni pan, ni caña de pescar: Innovación Social y cambio de sistema. Antonella Broglia, Voluntaria para Ashoka.

Fundación Avina: la innovación como proceso colaborativo. Carlos March, Director de Comunicación estratégica en Fundación Avina.

Reseñas y Hemeroteca: síntesis de las publicaciones “Social innovation, the last and next decade” escrito por Geoff Mulgan, y “Sistemas resilientes y cualidades sostenibles” de Ezio Manzini.

Documentación: Informe 2016 sobre “Innovación en España” de la Fundación COTEC, y publicación “La Innovación Social en América Latina” de ESADE y el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID-FOMIN).

Descarga la revista en PDF

Cities and Innovation Ecosystems: creating urban spaces for sustainable transformation and systemic innovation

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Running alongside the International Research Week (IRW) hosted by the University of Salford, the MAPS-LED Workshop is a milestone of the wider MAPS-LED project, looking at how Smart Specialization Strategies can be translated into spatially-oriented local development policies. Since 2015 SOBE has been involved in the HORIZON 2020 4 years’ project MAPS-LED, a Multidisciplinary Approach to Plan Smart Specialisation Strategies for Local Economic Development. The project links four EU universities (PAU – University Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria, Italy, coordinator; SOBE, University of Salford, UK; FOCUS, La Sapienza, Rome, Italy and Aalto, Helsinki, Finland) and two USA universities (Northeastern University, Boston, MA and San Diego State University, CA) and is aimed at researching strategies for implementing smart specialisation as a key element for place-driven regeneration policies for local economic development. The Workshop aims at evaluating the preliminary findings coming from the research question on how sustainability can be achieved in innovation policies, enabling social innovation and civic activation to trigger inclusive and equitable development. The scope is to enhance the potential impact of the research by involving external experts and potential local users in the mid-term assessment stages of the research process. Building on the concept of co-creativity as key- trigger for achieving systemic innovation, the workshop will be run as an open conference, during which international speakers will discuss the theoretical issues raised by the project, complemented by a stakeholders’ workshop and a focus group aimed at gathering insights and suggestions to refine the research outcomes.

12th September 2017, Crescent Campus. CHAPMAN 5. Co-creating the concept. Open session

9:15      Claudia Trillo, SOBE Unit coordinator. Preliminary paper presentation: creating spaces for sustainable
urban transformation and systemic innovation.

9:45      Philip Mc Cann, University of Groningen. Regional devolution and S3

10:15     Nico Calavita, SDSU Unit coordinator.  Sustainability and Equity in Innovation on Urban Regeneration

11:15     Raquel Ortega-Argilés, University of Birmingham. Placegrounded development and sustainable
innovation

11:45     Bruno Monardo, FOCUS Unit coordinator. Civic engagement, social innovation and new styles of ‘Urban Centers’

13:20     Carmelina Bevilacqua, MAPS LED coordinator, PAU Unit. The Urban Dimension of S3: insights from
MAPS-LED

13:50     Anna Laura Palazzo, FOCUS. Towards implementing S3. Current Dynamics and obstacles in the Lazio
Region

14:20     Gabriel Rissola, S3 Platform. Place- based Innovation Ecosystems: Espoo Innovation Garden and Aalto University (Skype connection)

14:40     Nerea Aizpurua, European Commission, DG Research & Innovation. Synergies between H2020 and the

European Structural and Investment Funds, and their potential to assist the implementation of the smart specialisation strategies (Skype connection)

15:30     Gorka Espiau, ALC & McGill University, Montreal: S3 -The Bilbao/Basque approach

16:00     Sara Mruz, Kendall CIC, Boston: Innovation hubs – The CIC at Kendall

16:30     Clare Devaney, SOBE unit – The GM Innovation Ecosystem

17:00     Field Trip to central Manchester (outside of the campus)

– Visit to The Federation & presenting M4/Citizen-i/Impact Hub GM (visit hosted by Emer Coleman, Director of Engagement at Coop Digital)

– Visit to PlantNOMA Makerspace & The Pilcrow, a community ‘self-built’ and cooperative pub (visit hosted by Ben Young, MD of PlantNOMA and OhOK Ltd)

13th September 2017 – NEW ADELPHI THEATRE / CHAPMAN 4 – Co-creating the concept implementation

9:00      Welcome coffee and registration of the participant*

9:45      Opening remarks from Chris Fletcher, Marketing and Policy Director, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce 

10:05     Introductory session: Building a Strong Economy *

Highlighting from a local government, education and business perspective what the strengths, challenges and actions are for the sector to build a strong and robust northern economy

Professor Hisham Elkadi, Dean of the School of the Built Environment, Salford University

Clive Memmott, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Mike Blackburn, Chair, Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership

Michelle Humphreys, Operations Director, Mace {invited}

 10:20     Transport and Infrastructure requirements-mapping the digital, road, rail, port and air necessities of the economy

Introductory Presentation: Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

Panel discussion participants: Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor of Transport of London, Ruth Jackson, Founder and Principal, Ruth Jackson Planning, Leigh Carter MSc FCIOB, Fellow of the CIOB, Senior Project Manager at Mace Group, John Duckworth, Managing Director UK & EMEA, Euan Mills, Urban Design and Planning Lead at Future Cities Catapult, Mo Perkins, Technical Services Director,  Infrastructure Services, Skanska UK Ltd

CHAPMAN 4

Panel chaired by Clare Devaney, SOBE, Discussant for Panels 1 & 2:  Phil Brown, Professor of Social Change, SHUSU, Salford University; Discussant for Panel 3: Professor Terrence Fernando, Director of UoS ThinkLab 

11.15     Panel 1 – ‘Smart Citizens’: People-powered innovation

Jon Alexander, CEO New Citizenship Project

Rowan Conway, Director of Innovation, Royal Society of Arts

Eve Holt, Founder, DivaManc/ OurGM

Luis Petrikorena, Director of Open Government for the Basque Country

 13:15     Panel 2 – ‘A Health-building Economy’: Health as a Social Movement

Alan Higgins, Director of Public Health, Oldham MBC

Neil McInroy, Chief Executive, Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES)

Viv Slack, Founder of Street Support

Professor Paul Townsend, Associate Dean, Faculty of Biology, Medicine & Health, University of Manchester

14.00     Panel 3 – ‘Makers and Changemakers’: Making in the 4th industrial revolution

Gorka Espiau – Professor of Practice, McGill U, Montreal & ALC (Uof the Basque Country) Senior Fellow.

Rupert Greenhalgh – Principal Economist, GMCA

Rose Marley – CEO of Sharp Futures, Manchester

Alberto Masetti-Zannini – Strategy Director, Impact Hub Kings Cross & Chair of Impact Hub Milan

15:00     Discussion: MAPS LED team  

17:00     Papers IRW presentation, chaired by Mohammed Agbali, SOBE. Discussant: Athina Moustaka, SOBE

Carmelina Bevilacqua – Smart Specialisation Strategy: The Territorial Dimension Of Research And Innovation Regional Policies (Authors: Bevilacqua C., Provenzano V., Pizzimenti P., Maione C.)

Claudia Trillo – Towards an assessment methodology for Smart Specialisation Strategies: Spatial Ecosystem for Innovators’ Hotspots (Author: Trillo C.)

Alfonso Spisto – Regional Policies for clusters formation and reinforcement: the cases of San Diego (CA, USA) and Boston (MA, USA). (Authors: Bevilacqua C., Spisto A., Cappellano C.)

Pasquale Pizzimenti – Nature-Based And Innovation-Led Urban Regeneration: A Hypothesis Of Green District For The Metropolitan City Of Reggio Calabria (Authors: Massimo D. E, Bevilacqua C., Pizzimenti P., Maione C.)

Behar konplexuei, erantzun berritzaileak

Gorka Espiau, Olatz Olaso eta Eider Alustiza, aurkezpenean.
Gorka Espiau, Olatz Olaso eta Eider Alustiza, aurkezpenean. / DV
  • Urrian Donostian egingo den ‘Berrikuntza sozialaren bideak’ jardunaldia aurkeztu du Emun kooperatibak, bertan mintzatuko den Gorka Espiau adituarekin batera

Urriaren 25a urruti dago, baina hitzordu interesgarriak aurretik prestatzea komeni denez, berrikuntza soziala zer eta zertan den eta gizartegintzan nola eragin dezakeen jakin nahi dutenek garaiz apuntatu beharko lukete data, egun horretan, 2017ko urriaren 25ean, asteakenarekin, egingo baita Donostiako Tabakaleran ‘Berrikuntza sozialaren bideak’ jardunaldia.

Aurten 20 urte bete dituen Emun kooperatibak antolatutako jardunaldia astearte honetan aurkeztu dute Emuneko zuzendari Olatz Olasok, jardunaldia antolatzen ari den Eider Alustizak eta hizlari izango den Gorka Espiauk. Espiau, hain zuzen, gizartearen arlo oso desberdinetan praktika berri eta eraldatzaileak ezartzeko bideak eskaintzen dituen ikuspegi horretan aditua da. Berrikuntza sozialaren eremuan erreferente eta aintzindari den The Young Foundation-eko zuzendaria da Espiau, eta Agirre Lehendakaria Center-eko kide ere bada. Aurkezpenean azaldu duen bezala, ‘berrikuntza soziala’ adiera eta hurbilketa ugari dituen kontzeptu zabala da, eta zabaltasun horrek berak bilakatzen du ezinbesteko, hain zuzen ere, «oso praktika interesgarriak» ahalbidetzen ari den jardunbidea zedarritzea, eta horren inguruko gogoeta sustatzea.

«Gure gizarteak dituen arazo, erronka eta behar berri edo konplexuei erantzun berritzailea ematea» da, Emunen hitzak erabilita, berrikuntza soziala. Ez nolanahikoa, eta ez «edozein preziotan», justizia soziala eta berdintasuna bezalako baloreetan oinarritua baizik. Emunen kasuan, berritasun soziala ez da teoria, eguneroko jardunean txertatutako zerbait baizik, arlo horretan diharduelako euskararen biziberritzearen inguruko zein beste eremu batzuetako (gizartearen aniztasuna, herritarren parte hartzea, kulturaren kudeaketa…) proiektuetan. Barrura begira ere printzipio horien arabera funtzionatzen saiatzen dira.

Olatz Olasok, hain zuzen, Emunen bilakaeran eta ibilbidean txertatu du gaiarekiko interesa, hizkuntzen kudeaketan eta euskararen inguruko lanean -batez ere eremu sozioekonomikoan- hasi zen kooperatibak duela hamarkada bat ekin baitzion berrikuntza sozialaren inguruko lan zabalagoari, ikusirik euskararen biziberritzearen arloan zein kooperatibenean abiatutako ekimen gehienek asko zeukatela berrikuntza sozialetik, deitura horren pean garatzeb ez baziren ere. Azken batean, gogoratu du Olasok, «behar sozial bati erantzuten zitzaion, modu berriak erabilita».

Egun bakarreko jardunaldiaren xedea izango da, hortaz, berrikuntza sozialari buruz hausnartzea eta Euskal Herrian dauden zenbait praktika ezagutzea, esperientzia zehatzetara hurbilduz horien protagonisten eskutik, formatu berritzaile samarrean. Adituen hitza ekarriko dute hitzaldi nagusia eskainiko duen Yayo Herrero antropologo eta aktibista ekofeministak eta jardunaldia itxiko duen mahai inguruan parte hartuko duten hiru lagunek. Mahaiaren bueltan, ‘Euskal berrikuntza sozialaren etorkizuneko lan ildoak’ gai hartuta, Gorka Espiau bera, Itsaso Olaizola (UEU eta EHU) eta Jose Mari Luzarraga (Mondragon Team Academy) eseriko dira.

Txikitik eragin

«Gizartearen beharreki modu berritzailean erantzuteko, lankidetzan bideraturiko erronkek gizarteari ekarpen aberatsagoa egiten diote eta segur aski, arrakastarako aukerak zabaltzen dituzte», diote. Ez dira ari maila handi-handiko ekimenei buruz, «txikitik eragitea» posible ez ezik desigarrarria ere bada-eta.

Horregatik, berrikuntza-ariketa desberdinetako protagonistei emango zaie hitza 10×10 hitzaldietan: 10 eragile, 10na minututan euren esperientziaren berri eman dezaten. Hor izango dira Fagor, Baigorriko Etxauzia proiektua, Ulma, Emun bera edota Debagoienan, Garesen, Txantrean, Azkoitian, Zarautzen eta Donostian garatzen ari diren esperientziak, jarduera-eremu oso desberdinetakoak.

Izan ere, Euskal Herriak bide dezente du egina berrikuntza sozialaren eremuan, arlo guztietan sortu eta garatu baitira betidanik gizartetik sortutako irtenbide berriak, horren beharrei erantzuteko; behartuta, gehienetan, ardura horiek ez baitzituen bere inork hartzen bere gain.

Une honetan, dena den, egoera paradoxiko samar batera heltzeko zorian egon gaitezte, Gorka Espiauren ustez. «Kontzeptua izugarrizko indarra ari da hartzen nazioartean. Europako Batzordea, esaterako, dimentsio transbertsala ari zaio ematen, eta laguntza-deialdietan ere ari da txertatzen», dio. Denbora kontua zen, beraz, horri erreparatzea eta kanpotik ekartzea etxean geneukana, «hemengoarekin kontrastatu gabe».

Horregatik da garrantzitsua berandu baino lehen «bertako gizarte berrikuntza tradizioan oinarritutako eta bertan sortutako modeloak garatzea», hemengo «aukera izugarriak eta ekosistema berezia» baliatzeko. Hainbat arlotan etorkizunak zein kolore duen ikusita, aurrera begira erabakigarria izan daiteke arlo askotara eraman daitekeen jarduteko modu hori garatzea.

Egiten dena partekatzea eta gogoetari bide ematea da lehen urratsa. Gero ikusi beharko da «nola generatu dinamika berriak kolaborazio-sistemak sortzeko, nola prototipatu, nola eraman eskala desbedinetara» eta «nola txertatu modelo horiek lurraldearen garapenean». Jakinik joera nagusia dela erakunde publikoak, erakunde sozialak eta denetariko enpresak barne hartzen dituzten «modelo hibridoak» sustatzea. Eta komeni dela berrikuntza sozialaren aldeko apustu sendoa egitea modak kontzeptuaren esanahia eta gaitasun eraldatzailea irentsi eta antzutu baino lehen.

Basque Transformation Narratives

At the end of the 1970s, the Basque Country was emerging from forty years of dictatorship in which any expression of local culture had been repressed. The area was experiencing an industrial collapse that generated high unemployment and an international image directly associated with terrorist violence. Despite these circumstances, Bilbao and the Basque society managed to transform its economy and industrial base. It now leads international rankings in advanced manufacturing, education and healthcare, and has also generated a balanced distribution of wealth. This article aims to share some of the key elements that made this extraordinary transformation possible.

The Basque case presents a unique case of systemic transformation under extreme circumstances. This experience involves the “Bilbao Guggenheim Effect”, the Mondragon Cooperative and social economy ecosystem, Michael Porter´s cluster strategy, the local advanced manufacturing and technology alliances, a basic income policy, the recovery of the Basque language, and the highest concentration of Michelin Guide awarded restaurants per square metre, among many other interconnected initiatives.

Since the end of the Spanish dictatorship, self-government has been a key driver of the socio-economic transformation of Basque society. A democratically-elected local Parliament and government administration took control over health, education, security, and economic planning; and local governing bodies were re-established with the capacity to collect and allocate taxes. The strategies and projects promoted by these self-governing institutions helped to design and implement a model of sustainable human development, rooted in economic growth and social cohesion.

While the tax system is similar to the European average, the Basque Country has enjoyed high income equality rates for decades. The situation has changed since 2008 due to the financial crisis, but this data allows us to think that it is possible to complement the necessary distribution of wealth through taxes with the generation of wealth in a distributed manner. A more equalitarian salary policy and strong solidarity mechanisms help to provide real and large scale “pre-distribution” of wealth.

When the social, institutional, and business protagonists of this transformation are questioned about the key elements to understanding the extraordinary responses to very negative circumstances in a very short period of time, they highlight the importance of a “values based strategy”. While current innovation and competitive models are built on instrumental rationality, the Basque experience demonstrates that large scale and strategic projects need to be interconnected by a cultural ‘software’ that is written with local values and a deeper aspirational goal.

Compared to similar post-industrial situations, the key factor of this transformation seems to be associated with the cultural dimension of a long-term strategy, rather with the more visible hardware that can be identified in the above mentioned initiatives. The software, or cultural component of the innovation process, can be therefore interpreted as the set of values and beliefs shared by a particular community, city or territory and the way they are expressed in collective narratives and behaviours, ultimately conditioning strategic decisions and their implementation. A systemic approach to the great challenges that social innovation sets out to tackle requires a strong connection between both, operating in a similar way to social movements instead of continuing to apply the traditional top-down project management approach.

Identifying Our Stories

The stories that we tell ourselves about what is possible and what is not need to be better understood and incorporated into the core strategy when working to transform communities, cities, or regions.

We need to identify what stories we are telling about ourselves. Are those limiting or amplifying existing opportunities and challenges for territorial transformation? And most importantly, what is the transformational narrative that can connect us?

In the Bilbao case, for example, it is crucial to deconstruct why local institutions even considered it possible to convince the Guggenheim Foundation to locate their new flagship museum in a city that was devastated by the industrial collapse, rampant unemployment and weekly terrorist attacks. It would also be helpful to understand the driving force powering the Mondragon strategy that is successfully competing with the most advanced industrial corporations applying a totally different rationale in regards to decision making (one worker, one vote), salary policy (1 to 7 pay differential instead of 1 to 300 in similar size companies), and inter-solidarity mechanisms (Mondragon recently relocated 2,000 workers in 24 months). This icon of the social economy in the Basque Country cannot be understood apart from its territory, where the priority was generation of fair employment.

In contrast to decisions based on the search for optimisation through an exclusively instrumental approach, Mondragon applies a value-based decision-making process. There is vast evidence of the “Culture Lever” and  the strong correlation between corporate financial performance and the way values are practiced. Ron Carucci expresses this idea in a beautiful way by saying that “values hold the power to drive meaningful differences in performance by shaping a culture, and when misused, can undermine performance with toxic force.”

GorkaEspiau-graphic

In the Basque case, collective narratives were used to express local values as a mechanism of self-definition, informing attitudes, behaviors and ultimately, taking counter-cyclical strategic decisions. Identity building is a human process that combines local culture and values with historical facts in a non-objective way. Local communities and territories identify themselves with a certain set of values that can be found in those historical facts, but many other values and facts that could also be interpreted as part of their local identity are left aside. Identity building is therefore a social construction and an evolving process that can be positively or negatively channelled through cooperative action.

More effort needs to be made in order to understand why certain strategic decisions are taken and why territories like the Basque Country have responded in a very different way to the same challenges that many struggling cities and territories are facing. This story also suggests that those cities and territories who have been able to associate themselves with transformative values like equality, solidarity, self-responsibility, radical democracy, and resilience can become socially sustainable and more competitive. On the contrary, those who have allowed a negative narrative about themselves to emerge face much more serious problems to deal with the current global challenges.

Transformational Movements in 21st Century  Communities

Urban communities and 21st century citizens are demanding practical solutions to their growing, complex needs but if given the opportunity, joining a “city transformation movement” allows them to be part of a much more ambitious and mindful enterprise. These new transformational movements can only be co-created by generating a new narrative of transformation capable of connecting the identity of the territory with a “collective decision” to build a socially sustainable city that its residents are proud to be associated with, and proud to be living in.

The Basque case needs to be understood as a movement rather than the result of “expert groups”. Leadership was shared and spread out, and there was no single person, institution, or organization controlling the process. Many apparently disconnected initiatives were structurally linked in terms of the principles, values, and vision of the transformative goal. Operating as a transformation movement allowed Basque organizations, companies, and institutions to network together without setting up rigid or complex legal structures. They were a wide range of projects sharing a collective narrative of transformation. In other words, an extensive spectrum of individuals and organizations creating alternative narratives about their community and the possibility for change.

The Basque experience differs profoundly from most of the current regional competitiveness processes dominated by new forms of illustrated despotism. It is not a new mistake. Back in 1957, Michael Young explained the negative effects of public policies in East London because they were disconnected from the real needs and aspiration of the people they were supposed to help. The new urban planning projects broke up – unintentionally – the social networks of solidarity of the communities that had emigrated to the area; networks that had been established over generations.

Current models of social innovation applied to community transformation are still influenced by theories of change based on this type of despotism and the search for individual talent. Following the experience of large-scale technology companies, territorial innovation is supposed to be conditioned to the generation of the so-called  “black swans”. Applied to urban transformation, we look for the unexpected solution brought by a person or organization who should have an extraordinary talent or knowledge. Occasionally, this way of operating can contribute to identifying interesting initiatives. Most of the time, it is rare to document structural change.

Current innovation models thus tend to reinforce individuals and organisations that were previously empowered, and they do not show evidence of large scale and structural impact. We should invest more resources and efforts in understanding how local communities and institutions perceive their capacity for innovation and change. In poorer neighbourhoods, people do not usually feel empowered to play this role. The narrative imposed on them emphasises negative elements and the perception that change is not possible. At an individual level, it takes the form of a powerful meta-narrative: “Who am I to act in a different way?”

Systemic change only comes about when the entire community feels empowered to act in a different manner. These narratives of collective change can be found in the Basque case, but also in other places that have undergone very positive urban transformations like Medellin, Montreal, or Seoul. Instead of looking for rare ‘talent’ in exceptional individuals, the most advanced forms of urban transformation set out to empower an entire community so that everyone can act in an innovative way.

 

Article published by “Meeting of the Minds”

The stories we tell ourselves shape our society