Second SIRENE Expert Hub Workshop: Experts Weigh in on the Future of Social Innovation in Europe

The SIRENE Project is moving forward with its co-design and consultation phase after the successful first workshop held on February 24th. On April 28th, experts virtually gathered to provide their perspectives on the structure of the project’s main outputs and contribute to the co-design phase led by Dr. Matteo Zallio. The objective is to enhance municipalities and the construction industry’s engagement and make the Social Innovation (SI) framework a future-proof Living Lab.

The introductory presentations were led by ISRAA and SHINE, with AFE presenting an overview of the State of the Art of SIRENE, including the ecosystem and innovation approach adopted by the project, a transnational local-sphere model, and the existing literature and initiatives on the topic.

During the meeting, experts provided in-depth inputs on the Social Innovation framework and the Manual for social innovators Table of Contents. They agreed on the need to tailor the SI toolkit for different target audiences and provide stakeholders with adequate tools to interact with each other. The toolkit should be as dynamic and interactive as possible, with energy and capacity-building included among the current trends and challenges in Europe.

Experts also discussed the definition of the Manual for social innovators Table of Contents, exploring existing gaps, needs, stakeholder representation levels, and ethics- and privacy-related issues. Economic accessibility was referred to as the most compelling issue for a broader development of SHAFE due to its social and psychological implications. Educational gaps, especially in digital literacy and skills, should be tackled through training activities. In terms of representation, not all stakeholders seem to be equally represented, so visibility campaigns and funding programs should be envisioned. Finally, the safeguard of privacy and ethics issue should be tackled at a higher level, with the direct involvement of policymakers.

Expert Hub members discussed the creation of the Social Innovation toolkit – how dynamic and interactive tools that could have several modules and what media can be leveraged

Dr. Matteo Zallio led the second part of the meeting, which focused on co-designing ideas for the role of municipalities in hearing citizens’ needs and requests related to SHAFE, how to involve the underrepresented construction industry when building SHAFE, and how to integrate societal, political, and economic developments into the social innovation framework.

Experts affirmed the need to raise awareness on SHAFE and increase media coverage on its inherent aspects. Municipalities should make communities flourish while importing successful practices and experiences related to SHAFE in their territory. Also, citizens should better get involved through petitions.

To involve the underrepresented construction industry in building SHAFE, the experts suggested expanding research on SHAFE and training activities to better transfer knowledge and becoming more receptive towards the implementation of best practices in a collaborative way. It is essential to create and consolidate multistakeholder partnerships in that sense. In addition, policymakers should provide cross-sectoral regulations to promote the adoption of design for all solutions. Construction industries should be provided with toolkits to guide them through the adoption of innovative solutions in SHAFE, for which a cultural change inside such businesses is much needed.

Last session was hosted by Matteo Zallio who led the experts through the co-creation session in 3 groups.

Finally, to integrate societal, political, and economic developments into the social innovation framework, experts provided inputs on supporting collaborations among different stakeholders, promoting harmonization among different regulations, and facilitating the adoption of social innovation solutions.

In conclusion, the SIRENE Project’s co-design and consultation phase led by an ad hoc expert hub is an essential step towards enhancing municipalities and the construction industry’s engagement and making the SI framework a future-proof Living Lab. The inputs from experts on various topics will help shape the project’s future outputs and ensure its success.

The next co-creation session by the SIRENE Expert Hub will take place on the 16th of June where we will discuss about the finances, funding and financial sustainability.

For any information about the project or how to join the Expert Hub, present the best practices as well as the solutions from your country or region, do not hesitate to contact us at info@sireneproject. eu

Watch the full recording below or on our YouTube channel!

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