Finland has an Open Ministry, crowdsourcing legislations to promote participatory democracy. Social Innovation Park in Basque, Spain, aims to become the ‘Social Silicon Valley’. Copenhagen revitalized its multinational area Superkilen by painting a kilometre-park in bright red colour and the venue of the third day at SIX Summer Camp, Seoul Innovation Park, is an open space triggering social mind-sets. How diverse can social innovation be for cities… and beyond?
Social innovation is extensively being promoted across sectors and more attention is paid to the possibilities of combining social good through new toolkits. During SIX Summer Camp all participants have shared and exchanged their own practices, experiences and work from mega cities in Asia to smaller communities in Northern America and Europe – what connects them all is the challenge to address social and environmental solutions through innovation. This has brought us insights in how design can engage a community, how taxis can solve traffic issues in India and how to make politicians understand their policies by using a bicycle in London. Social innovation is at times an abstract movement but is also essentially a form of co-existence through collaboration. What has been a pending theme throughout the camp is the concept of collaboration; between and within sectors.
Collaboration was also the key theme for our lunch hosted by South Korean sharing economy business ZipBob. Social dining is a trending concept, utilizing the rising number of single-person households in Korea (one out of four people live alone, which often leads to lonely meals and a growing sense of alienation) and technology. By gathering together with strangers and sharing a meal based on various concepts, say from a rooftop BBQ or dessert-indulgence, people are easily connected through online platforms to create offline relationships. ZipBob’s social dining started small scale and are today hosting over 20 different gatherings daily and through this sharing economy-model the city generates a stronger social bond.
During our lunch all participants were separated into different tables, each table representing different tastes such as those who prefer a less spicy culinary experience to those who are vegetarians. We were given the challenge to collectively compose the traditional (and delicious!) Korean meal Bibimbap (비빔밥) and then guess the ingredients of the fellow table. It was a hectic run for collaborative cooking but great fun! Social dining illustrates the power of food and community and how the growing sense of loneliness in the urban landscape and innovative ideas can translate technology into social meetings and nourish human emotions amongst city-dwellers.
Social innovation exemplifies the amazing dynamics our minds hold and for those who have joined the SIX Summer Camp (together with countless other changemakers) social innovation is merely a name for something that is borderless! Social innovation cannot be categorized into one single path, rather social innovation can be found in every idea and action that aims to strengthen the human potential, which is a never-ending and accelerating process.