Social Innovation Summit

Social Innovation Summit Sweden 2016

Around 600 people gathered in Malmö, Sweden, for a two-day Social Innovation Summit arranged by Forum for Social Innovation Sweden. This years Summit presented more than 100 speakers focusing on global topics targeting complex challenges within areas such as jobs, health, method and integration.

State Secretary to the minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Niklas Johansson, opened the Summit by emphasizing the need for innovation to become more challenge-driven.

– Innovation is at the heart of innovation policy and we want to promote all kinds of innovation. Social innovation has historically been important, is currently very important and will continue to be important in the future, said Niklas Johansson.

Following Johansson’s introduction was a highly inspirational and personal talk by Ashoka Fellow Caroline Casey. With the headline “Impossible is an opinion” she carried the audience on an emotional journey that left few untouched by her story as a social entrepreneur creating a world where people with disabilities have an equal place in society and the jobmarket today.

Other national and international speakers followed suit, among others Louise Pulford of Social Innovation Exchange, talking about what social innovation will look like in the next ten years; Alastair Wilson of the School for Social Entrepreneurs explored the question “Can anyone be a social entrepreneur?”; Beatrice Andrews of the UK governments policy lab shared their experience of how to create a policy for social innovation and Leonardo Quattrucco of the European Political Strategy Centre discussed how social innovation can create jobs and financial growth in the EU – to name a few. A number of the sessions were broadcast live and the playlist of videos from the summit can be viewed here.

Norrsken Foundation will be opening Europe’s biggest hub for social impact and have already invested in several impact tech start-ups. To the mainstage at SI Summit Norrsken brought one of their early investments, Just Arrived, who have developed an app that provides new arrivals to Sweden a chance to enter the job market.

A number of social entrepreneurs were selected to pitch their innovation on mainstage in front of the entire audience. This is part of Forum for Social Innovation Sweden’s ongoing project to identify and select 100 examples of social innovation in Sweden. During the summit Språkkraft and SVT – the Swedish public service broadcaster announced a world launch of a new innovation, SVT Språkplay. This is an app with interactive subtitles in fifteen languages common amongst immigrants in Sweden, allowing the user to improve their Swedish language skills by watching selected SVT broadcasts and choosing subtitles in their own language.

The summit program catered to those wanting to listen to keynote speakers for in depth knowledge, so called masterclasses, as well as workshops for those interested in getting more involved and being part of the discussion. During certain sessions there were several parallel tracks to choose from, thus offering multiple choices for attendees.

As a complement to the various sessions and workshops the summit offered a unique hang-out-space, the Summit Lounge, with an exhibition of innovators and stakeholders, a pop-up stage where innovators could sign up and share their story, an unconference space arranged by Impact HUB Stockholm, a matchmaking and picnic area where new connections were made.

This was the second year this national summit was arranged in Sweden and the team behind the conference is the Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, in collaboration with Malmö University, The City of Malmö and Region Skåne. Plans for next years summit are already underway.

– The huge interest for this conference indicates there is a need to aquire and share knowledge as well as good examples in order to promote social innovation together. Our conference is one of a kind in Sweden, people who are highly engaged in social innovation and who are solving social challenges meet here, says Hanna Sigsjö, program manager at Forum for Social Innovation Sweden.

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Photo: Håkan Röjder

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