SIAC Strengthen social innovations to become real solutions for the questions of today
SIAC stands for Social Innovation Acceleration in Cities. This network of people delivers a structural method for accelerating social innovative solutions for cities and their direct surrounding areas. These social innovative solutions are thought of and build by the people that inhabit these cities and regions, because they are aimed at solving problems and questions these people experience themselves. Right next door. These active people, as transnational practice has shown us, have a great need for structured support through a peer-to-peer network (knowledge exchange), connection to the broader network and acces to financial means. These are the three main wanted necessities, in this order of importance.
Our mission is to boost social innovations by offering the innovators the support they need to thrive by building local networks that will grow to be sustainable and self-enabling. The SIAC network aims to found such Social Innovation Accelerators in different European regions and cities. In contrary to many other accelerator programs we are open to all ideas and concepts, no matter if it‘s about founding a social business or tackle a problem through an civic initiative. A transnational learning network is the basis for a mutual learning process on how to boost social innovations most effectively. Different backgrounds bring different solutions. In cooperation with universities, accompanying research and joint efforts with other European programs like TRANSIT it stimulates the exchange between researchers and practitioners and contributes to a often claimed intensified exchange between theory and practice. Together we can make change really happen.
Approach and partnership
So we start by building or reforming local accelerators, a support structure for existing and new social initiatives. We connect to the city, the peoples networks in it, various stakeholders and the city’s local ambitions. To learn from each other and to formulate goals together we form local partnerships. These consortia consist of all different local stakeholders (including citizens) that aim for wished effects on societal needs whether it is a solution for labour market issues, health care, social housing or renewable energy etc. A consortium creates the opportunity to look at societal needs from different angels and that leads to better solutions. And by co-creating together we work also on establishing a cultural shift in which social innovations can be recognized as ‘a way of solving our problems’ instead of being a sexy award winning novelty.
We work with a certain kind of accelerator that is freely accessible for every inhabitant. The method of the Sociale InnovatieFabriek from Brussels, one of the SIAC-partners, is the starting point for our concrete approach at the local level. Main characteristics of this already proven methodology:
– reciprocity within the peer-to-peer network of participants of social innovative ideas and social entrepreneurs by valuing their knowledge into a structure and the structural exchange of cross-sectoral learning;
– freely (gratis) accessible for every inhabitant: small/big, social entrepreneurs or social innovators in the social domain;
– the structuring of a peer-to-peer network that will become self-enabling.
All knowledge found will be actively shared between all transnational members and will also be digitally accessible for everyone and will be open source.
A city is living organism of a human size; or better the suburb or neighborhood is a measure that allows people to know each other and get connected. This is the level that we work at. This is where the practical output of the network is situated. But a city doesn’t stand on it’s own, it is part of the global society and develops itself as such. That is why The SIAC Network is a transnational network. Lessons learned in other cities situated in different countries can be shared actively or tested or challenged so we evolve a more effective knowledge exchange and work towards sustainable solutions faster.
In order to maintain a dynamic and a evidence based approach the SIAC Network unites three groups of participants; scientists that are connected to the area or country where the city is situated, local practitioners and the city’s own policy-makers. The last ones ensure the legal and legitimate frameworks in which social innovatives can thrive. By intertwining these perspectives in a structural manner within The SIAC Network a triangle is born that enhances and supports each other by feeding each other with experiences, enriching one another with questions en sustaining each other with solutions. This way we can bridge the gap between the experienced problems on street and city level and science. On their turn scientists are enabled to perform more participative research. Within The SIAC Network the exchange of knowledge and the mutual learning is structured and thought of together. Thus changing one another’s perspective on everyones role and possibilities and creating a situation in which all actors realize they are enabling this transformation together.
These three perspectives; practice, science and policy, together enhance the possibility by large to change the local landscape of social innovations as a temporary solution towards sustainable solutions and connections, that are secured in a local peer-to-peer network that will grow to be self-enabling. We do that at the local, national and transnational level. Within The SIAC network we will constantly be working and co-creating sustainable solutions and effective approaches to accelerate social innovations. To make a bigger impact we work together with other international networks like TRANSIT (scientific research), URBACT (cities learning network) and for instance ICLEI ARTS-EU and all networks that wish to co-create.
For more information about The SIAC Network please contact us!
Arjan Biemans & Erna Bosschart
arjan (at) siac.network or erna (at) siac.network
0031 6 5129 5283 (Erna)
Twitter: arjanbiemans or ernabosschart