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Filed under: Development Social inclusion Social innovation

Paper prototyping at social innovation summer school in Poland

Paper prototyping at social innovation summer school in Poland

This week we’re in picturesque Nasutów near Lublin, with a group of people dedicated to social change. Together, we’re exploring innovative ideas to help us do our work.

“I want to learn how to make people sensitive to social issues,” said Michał Szal, who is attending this week’s social innovation summer school.

UNDP organized the summer school session for employees of social economy support centres that show organizations and groups with a social mission how to survive in a free-market.

We’re tapping into the global conversation going on about the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges. (See: the Social Good Summit 2012) We’ve also taken to heart some of the recommendations for social innovation from Christian Seelos and Johanna Mair in their recent post: Innovation Is Not the Holy Grail. (Also see: Innovation for development: demystifying the buzzword)

“We want it to be a common space to explore new areas of cooperation, bring inspiration and create solutions to all sorts of ‘unsolvable problems’ that all of us face in our daily work,” says Piotr Krośniak, who is behind the idea of organizing the summer course.

Social economy support centres are gaining more and more experience in building local capacity and fostering talents and activities in local communities.

No wonder that their activities are important for local development, as their employees spend countless hours on building partnerships, encouraging local governments, organizations and institutions to work together and build a strong social economy sector for their communities.

Summer school participants include counselors, project managers and local animators from Podlaskie, Podkarpackie and Lubelskie in Eastern Poland, which are supported by a Social Economy Regional Centre in Lublin, run by UNDP.

During workshops we’re presenting examples of social innovation, testing tools for improving communication and participation within local communities, and talking about social economy from the point of view of global challenges that – whether we see it or not – directly affect our livelihoods.

We’re also talking about local and sustainable development, green jobs and gender equality in social projects.

During the summer school, we’d like to come up with one or more prototypes to support social innovation in the regions. (See: Can we explore community-led prototypes?)

“What I like the most about the course agenda, is how it all revolves around counteracting social exclusion and stereotyping,” said Kamila Michalik.

“I’m very curious about these topics, especially in the context of equal opportunities for women and men, but also about building and maintaining relations with the business sector for the benefit of the local community.”

Stay tuned for more updates from our social innovation summer school!