Social experimentation in Nordic countries

In Copenhagen Marlieke Kieboom and Chris Sigaloff will speak about their experience with setting up and running social labs around societal challenges in the Netherlands.


1 december 2014

Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) Nordic and Social+ are hosting a 2-day conference around the question: How can we create and support social experiments that lead to knowledge and systemic change in a Nordic context? In Copenhagen Marlieke Kieboom and Chris Sigaloff will speak about their experience with setting up and running social labs around societal challenges in the Netherlands.

On 1 December 2014 Social+++About Social+Social+ is a Danish launchpad for social inventions. Social+ collects and produces knowledge about social inventions and social innovation, brings innovative people together across sectors, engages in dialogue with decision makers, investors and media, speaks out in the social innovation debate and supports and co-creates with social innovators. has invited 200 philanthropic foundations, NGO’s, municipalities, researchers and social innovators from the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway) to a full-day conference about social experiments. After the conference, the discussions will continue at the SIX Nordic++About SIX NordicSIX Nordic is a network, where people working with social innovation in the Nordic European Region can learn from each other’s success as well as failures in their attempt to find innovative solutions to social problems. SIX Nordic brings people together across borders and sectors: Social innovators, social entrepreneurs, researchers – anyone interested in the field of social innovation. Event 2014 on 2 December. The aim for both events is to explore how to set up, take on and learn from social experiments in the field of social innovation. Below you find more information on the motivation and philosophy of the conference, as written by the organising partners.

What are social experiments++This text is copied from the conference website. The full programme can be found at the Social+ website.?

According to The Danish Dictionary, an experiment is a ”scientific test that has to illustrate something, confirm or reject a certain hypothesis or lead to an invention”. According to the event organisers a good social experiment is: “a well-planned, systematic test of a new solution to a social challenge, which provides us with valuable knowledge about how and if a new solution creates the expected social value. Good social experiments generate practice-oriented knowledge, show ethical consideration for the people involved, and balance between minimising risk and furthering innovation.”

For too long, the field of social innovation has been characterized by a happy-go-lucky approach that has led to numerous limited and short-lived development projects without significant impact. Furthermore, a strong focus on evidence and evaluation has left far too little room for innovation. But if we are to create new solutions to the complex social challenges we face, we need to dedicate more time and effort to the experimental social invention phase, where we qualify, concretize and test our new ideas and inventions before realizing them as (potential) social innovations. These experiments require a new mindset.++Would you like to know more about how Kennisland is working with new mindsets? Read more in our case on social innovation labs. Thus, we need to be willing to take risks and change our approach to social innovation – the question is how?

What do others say about social experiments?

“If governments want to know what works, they will have to be willing to invest in finding out. That will require them to experiment.” – Geoff Mulgan, Nesta.

”By experimenting first, we will quickly learn what works, and increase the chances of making the impact, we politically wish to make (…) 2014 will be the year of experiments.” – Christian Bason, Danish Design Center.”By experimenting first, we will quickly learn what works, and increase the chances of making the impact, we politically wish to make (…) 2014 will be the year of experiments.” – Christian Bason, Danish Design Center.

”The solutions to these large, complex issues are not yet known. So philanthropy needs to experiment and find new approaches to create breakthrough change.” – Gabriel Kasper & Justin Marcoux, Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Click here to see the full programme for the event.

Kibutz
Kibbutz Gan Shmuel on Shavuot, 1959

Maker: ארכיון גן-שמואל

Rechten:

Original

Social experimentation in itself is not a new phenomenon. In Israel people experimented with new sorts of cooperative living, like in this Kibbutz in 1959.

Note that most of the Social+ Conference on 1 December will be in Danish, except for the parallel session with Chris and Marlieke on ‘How to set up and run social experiments?’. The workshops of SIX Nordic on 2 December will be in English.