The city is full of complex and persistent problems; some view these societal urban issues as wicked problems and some see them as tough questions. There are no simple solutions but do related to patterns and ways of thinking.
Social experimentation offers creative alternatives to approaching the interdependent and multi-layered challenges. The goal of the Social Innovation Factory (SIF) is for innovators to come together to develop and improve concepts towards social change. They offers a range of perspectives and expertise with members including member from civil society, business and government. The Social Innovation Factory offer inspiration, feedback creativity and happiness as ingredients for innovation. They promote and support social entrepreneurship and innovation for tackling societal challenges. Their three basic values are:
- Shared value
- Social transformation
- Impact passion
They work on the Flanders region and promote Flemish citizens to inquire, be inspired, think and activate participation, social innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s open to everyone who wants to act, think, learn, experiment or improve the civil society through social creativity. They support these citizen activities in aiding their realisations, from guidance and feasibility studies to financial support. It’s a way to strengthen concepts through a new lens, experience and knowledge.
You can send in your ideas here. They offer online inspiration, practical examples, meet-ups, training sessions and learning networks. The services are not completely free, it is based on an exchange. After a preliminary interview to evaluate the idea to see if it has potential for social impact, the relevant learning network (critical thinkers, innovators and experts) works together with the innovator to develop the concept. This strengthening session puts the user 8 SIF points in debt. The way to repay the debt points is to offer your knowledge in various ways:
- Participating in a strengthening session (8 SIF points)
- Giving a keynote lecture or workshop at a Social Innovation Factory event to inspire future innovators (8 SIF points)
- Actively participating in a panel discussion organized by or in cooperation with the SIF (4 SIP points)
- Write an online article on a SIF event, an interesting method or example (2 SIF points/page of 2000 characters)
- Share your knowledge on a theme that social innovation can support or encourage (4 SIF points)
In addition to the strengthening session, the Social Innovation Factory offers information sessions and vision sessions. Information sessions delve in deeper into concepts to demonstrate how social entrepreneurship tackles social issues. Vision sessions are to move towards realizing bright ideas to make visions more concrete with methods and services to translate them into real social impact.
You can check the Social Innovation Factory’s events here.