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Social Innovation

in the Districts of Creativity


Social Innovation

in the Districts of Creativity

Disclaimer: Copyrights Š 2015 by treetimesthree. All rights reserved. Š Photos: Various authors This (e)book is part of a research project from 4th year International Leisure Management students from NHTV Breda, University of Applied Sciences. treetimesthree examined, through cross-national comparative research, how social innovation initiatives driven by creativity led to systemic change, with a special focus on Agro food, Sustainable energy, Smart mobility and Healthy aging. No part of this book may be reproduced in any written, electronic, recording, or photocopying without written permission of the Embassy for Creative Affairs. The exception would be in the case of brief quotations embodied in the critical articles or reviews and pages where permission is specifically granted by the Embassy for Creative Affairs. Although every protection has been taken to verify the accuracy of the information contained herein, the author and publisher assume no responsibility for any errors or oversights. No liability is assumed for damages that may result from the use of information contained within. Embassy for Creative Affairs: http://www.deambassade.net/ Writers of content: Franz Belger, Bonnie Lee Bogers, Merlina Slotboom, Lise Smallegange Cristiana Stoian, Bram Terstappen, Heleen Timmer, Gita Vijgeboom, Anna Weigert Edited by: Merlina Slotboom Supervised and reviewed by: Ger Pepels Cover & Interior Design: Arno Tijnagel (arno.tynagel@me.com) Product of The Netherlands

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Agro Food

Healthy Aging

Smart Mobility

Sustainable Energy

Table of Contents Chapter




1 3 4 7

Foreword The origin of this book The theoretical background Districts of Creativity

Germany Baden-Württemberg Mannheim

8 11 15

Baden-Württemberg MiKaDo Fluchthelfer Bicycles

the Netherlands Tilburg Oss, Nuenen Noord-Brabant

18 21 27 31

Brabant Into D’mentia Smart Highway Stadse Boeren

Spain Barcelona Barcelona

36 39 43

Catalonia Hort Social Action Plan

Denmark Aarhus Aarhus

48 51 55

Central-Denmark City Village Design to Improve Life

Belgium Leuven Brussels

60 63 69

Flanders Mobile School KOOKMET

India Karnataka Hyderabad

74 77 83

Karnataka Business school on wheels Liter of Light

Italy Brescia Lombardy

86 89 93

Lombardy Fare e abitare Terza Primavera; Fontrillo

United States of America Oklahoma City Oklahoma

96 99 103

Oklahoma Common Wealth Urban Farms “SHINE”

France Rhône-Alpes

106 109

Rhône-Alpes Centrales Villageoises Photovoltaïques

1 2 3


4 5 6




Brazil Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro

112 115 121

Rio de Janeiro Favela Orgânica Light Recicla

United Kingdom Angus Barrow-in-Furness

124 127 133

Scotland Hedzup Racing Energy4All

China Shanghai Jing’an, Songjiang, Huangpu Chongming Island

138 141 145 149

Shanghai Vision in Practice Green Account Shokay

Finland Tampere Espoo, Tampere

152 155 159

Tampere Demola Moodmetric Ring

164 168 170

What did we learn along the way? Acknowledgements Bibliography

Foreword Three years ago when we started our ‘journey’, we wanted to create a movement among dreamers, thinkers and doers to contribute to a better society. We wanted to bring social issues further, together with creative players from governments, businesses, academic institutions and social organisations. The movement should be vital, flexible, creative, internationally oriented and connected with a diversity of practices. The Embassy for Creative Affairs founded the network BrabantDC, an active community of players from the quadruple helix – i.e. cooperating government, business, academia and civil parties. Together with other parties, the Embassy wants to contribute to Brabant as a creative region. After all, in a world with less and less public money and an increasing number of social problems we have to work together in order to make progress and a positive impact. In January 2014 the Province of Noord-Brabant was admitted to the global network of Districts of Creativity, the DC Network. In April 2014 next thereon The Embassy launched BrabantDC in collaboration with bkkc and the province of North Brabant. DC Network provides informal access to 13 internationally renowned areas, each of them having specific qualities in the creative, technological, economic and scientific domain. The quadruple helix method and co-creation are commonplace in this forum. Several regional agendas and networks are brought together, thus enriching each other’s knowledge and expertise. Collaborations arise between members. The network is a rewarding environment to spot reliable partners in a quick manner and involve them in projects. Rio de Janeiro and Scotland, for example jointly have been establishing a management plan for projects concerning UNESCO world heritage. Projects and collaborations are initiated by the members of the DC Network themselves, and when the opportunity arises, they are affiliated with European funding programs. The profile and level of ambition of each region provides concrete suggestions for exchange and collaboration. By acquiring and unlocking in-depth knowledge about the partner regions, we create value for the Brabant region. In that context, the NHTV Academy for Leisure proves us great services, being the knowledge and research centre of The Embassy for Creative Affairs. The research report ‘Uncovering Social Innovation in the Districts of Creativity’ is a fine specimen of this. The Embassy is grateful and proud of the students that did the job. They have been coached and inspired by Ger Pepels. Being the commissionaire, we thank: Anna Weigert, Bonnie Lee Bogers, Bram Terstappen, Cristiana Stoian, Franz Belger, Gita Vijgeboom, Heleen Timmer, Lise Smallegange, Merlina Slotboom and Ger Pepels. Due to their perseverance and intelligent approach towards the subject, we are able to use ‘Uncovering Social Innovation in the Districts of Creativity’ as a stepping stone for future research and projects. Geurt Grosfeld,

Managing Director Embassy for Creative Affairs December 2014

Photo © Jimke Joling



“Social Innovation refers to the creation,

development, adoption, and integration of new concepts and practices that put people and the planet first. Social Innovations resol ve existing social, cultural, economic, and environmental challenges. Some Social Innovations are systems-changing – they permanently alter the perceptions, behaviours, and structures that previously gave rise to these challenges.

(Centre for Social Innovation, 2014)

Chapter 1 The origin of this book In 2014 the region Brabant, the Netherlands, became a member of the Districts of Creativity network. This network unites 13 of the most creative and innovative regions around the world. The network was set up to foster the exchange of best practices and experiences of stimulating creativity and innovation in business, culture and education. The paramount goal of the project was to demonstrate the value of social innovation to the members of the Districts of Creativity network. This is how the project group treetimesthree was formed, to uncover social innovation in the different Districts of Creativity. A group of students from the Academy for Leisure on the NHTV in Breda was assigned to find best practice cases of social innovation and to analyse these cases in depth and to find the process behind these cases. The cases explained in this book serve as examples and with the aim to learn from the very best. More than 300 cases of social innovation were identified and assessed according to a framework that was developed by the group, which can be found in Chapter 2. The students conducted interviews with key individuals of the cases in order to fully understand the processes behind the cases and to get insight in the impact of social innovation in these districts. In this venture the students were supported by representatives of the Districts of Creativity network. Of course, when dealing with 13 regions with different visions, focuses and priorities, it is difficult to have an equal amount of insight into all contexts.


For example, while searching for best practice cases in Shanghai several good examples could be identified in the district, but contacting people from these cases has unfortunately not worked out. The information found on the project is therefore rather superficial in comparison to other initiatives, due to a lack of data. When researching cases in Rhône-Alphes the group encountered a language barrier, which made it very difficult to gather a sufficient amount of information for many social innovation cases within this district The students group: It might be interesting to know how this book came into existence in the first place. In order to answer this question we need to take a look at the academic background of the students. A group of nine (inter)national students conducted the research for this project and have written the content of this book. During this project the students were in the fourth year of the bachelor International Leisure Management at NHTV Breda, University of Applied Science in the Netherlands. As part of the minor Management in Creative Industries, the privilege was given to them to work on a social innovation project commissioned by the Embassy for Creative Affairs in Tilburg. Geurt Grosfeld, the commissioner of the project, gave them the task to examine social innovation within the 13 Districts of Creativity more in depth, in a period of four months between September and December 2014. In this research, time was a precious resource.


The project started-up in partnership with the Dutch Red Cross; therefore their subjects were also taking into account when identifying the best practice case:

Chapter 2 The theoretical background Social innovation is a broad term that came into focus in recent years, creating a great variety of definitions that are still argued by academics (such as SIdrive, Transit and Benisi. All of which are currently operating world-wide). Social innovation appeared as a response to the emerging social, environmental and demographic challenges that are almost impossible to solve in the current systems due to their complexity. Examples of such challenges are the ageing population and its health costs, the impact of globalisation, climate change and so on. Generally, the most ambitious social innovations are there to encourage systemic changes – they permanently alter the perceptions, behaviours, and structures that previously gave rise to these challenges. Another characteristic of social innovation is its cross-sectorial character: it involves parties from various sectors, interconnecting them for cooperation and co-creation purposes, in order to achieve a common socialoriented goal with a transformative impact. Creativity is needed to address those complex problems. To put it more simply, a social innovation is an idea that works for the public good. When dealing with such a broad subject, certain aspects had to be in focus when selecting best practice cases of social 4

innovation in the DC regions. Most importantly the selected cases had to touch upon systemic changes in a way. A social innovation should not just focus on one goal and/or problem; it should be focused on changing the system and making room for more improvements. A good example is the old Chinese proverb Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime . But it is not about “giving the man a fish” nor “teaching them how to fish” nowadays. It is about making resources available and empower the man to use these. In other words, social innovation is not about just finding a novel solution to a problem, but about causing a chain reaction by solving a problem in such a way that it will continue and/or start up new processes to improve the situation even further.

Since social innovation is such a wildly discussed term, it was decided to give this project a more specific focus. While researching the best practice cases of social innovation the four themes of BrabantDC were taking into account: Agro food, Healthy aging, Smart mobility, Sustainable energy One or more of these four themes will most likely return in most best-practices cases.

Empowerment, as the process focused on psychology and sociology that helps individuals and groups to gain control over their environment, by giving them the power to act on issues they define as important. Self-help, as the use of one’s own efforts and resources in order to achieve certain goals without the assistance of others. Self-reliance, as the idea of not needing help or support from other people means to be reliant on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others. Resilience, as the continued ability of a community to utilize available resources to respond to, resist, and recover from difficult situations. In order to distinguish social innovation from regular innovation, the “4 I’s” as mentioned by Hochgernern (2014) were combined with the criteria used by the SozialMaria award (2014) and used as a beginning for selection of social innovation cases. The “4 I’s” were used as follows: Innovation in Project Idea (Novelty) – the cases offer a new approach/ new solutions and offer new perspective, while handling target groups that have previously received little attention. Innovation in Accessing Target Groups (Involvement) – the cases are enduring and contribute to the society’s esteem for the target group.

Innovation in the Realization of the Project (Effectiveness) – the cases are done in an inventive, creative and courageous way, triggers cross-sectorial collaborations for generating social impact. Innovation in Public Perception (Serving as an Example) – the best are integrated in the local contexts, fostering dialogue and cooperation with other organisations and aiming to scale up to a certain extent. When looking deeper into the essence of the cases the terms “market”, “state”, “community” and “third sector organisations” will be used, also known as the “Quadruple Helix Model”. In this model the market is characterised by competitions, economic efficiency and rationality; the state includes in the institutions and structures of policy, law and governance, while the community is characterized by interpersonal bonds, democratic social networks that are often complex and shared identities. When talking about third sector organisations, the focus is on those organisations that are neither public nor private (voluntary and community organisations etc.). These terms are used as there is an on-going change in the relationship among these groups within a system that becomes increasingly global.

definition cross-sectorial, it is of great importance that the initiator of a project is willing to work together with different sectors in order to make the project work. These models, terms and criteria help creating a focus when dealing with social innovation practices, as a broad term that offers different perspective depending on the context. Using these as a starting point, relevant best case practices were identified in the Districts of Creativity, giving insight into both the processes behind these initiatives and their relevance on the DC and the worldwide level. Some of the cases within the different districts are presented in this e-book, taking into consideration the value they have for the Districts of Creativity now and in the future. The student group and the Embassy for Creative Affairs agreed that social innovation project should not just be about finding a novel solution to one ma jor problem but the project should somehow cause a chain reaction by solving a problem. This in such a way that it will continue and/or start up new processes to further improve a situation. In this way others can use the ideas and act as a generator for social change

The term “stakeholders” is used in the book in its broad sense, referring to parties that are involved in the project in one way or another. This can include companies & organisations, but also individuals or communities. As social innovation is by 5

Chapter 3 Districts of Creativity The Districts of Creativity (DC) network was founded in 2004 and unites 13 of the most creative and innovative regions around the world. The network was designed to foster the exchange of best practices and experiences of innovation within business, culture and education. The network is international orientated and this is what makes it so unique. Creativity and innovation are important topics on the agenda. Innovation is a combination of creativity and entrepreneurship and this combination is the ma jor source of economic and societal growth. Where innovation is often limited to technology, the DC network added creativity in business and society into the formula.

It is believe that trans-regional collaborations contribute to the development more creative and entrepreneurial culture within the districts. Creativity comes from people from all domains, art & culture and the creative industries; these are important drivers of innovation. The Districts of Creativity network stretches over the globe, it unites regions from the USA to China and from Scotland to India. In the following chapters you will get to know more about these innovative and creative regions and get an insight into different social innovation cases all over the world. Social innovations driven by creativity, 27 cases from 13 districts all over the world.

Image Š Eric Fischer



Baden-Württemberg is located in the south of Germany and has one of the strongest economies in Europe. The government consists of a coalition of the Green Party of Germany and the Social Democracy Party of Germany. Due to its master engineers -Carl-Benz invented the car, Bosch invented the sparking plug and Festo invented the bionic handling assistant- Baden-Württemberg may be the most important German region from an economic point of view. In 2012 Baden-Württemberg ranked first in the innovation index of Europe Union. The district had a low unemployment rate of 4.1% in August 2014 and the net income is the highest in Germany. The current regional CO2 emission of 6.1 is lower than the national average CO2 emission of 9.1. As an important and innovative business location, the region enjoys international acceptance and global reputation. Research has shown regional development activities including the support of innovative research and good health, investments in long-term returns, postdoctoral fellowships for leading early career researchers, promotion of international exchange and support of programme for research at Universities of Applied Sciences and cooperative educations. Furthermore, technological changes such as optical technology, flexible organic photovoltaic, and developments in nano- and microsystem 8

technology, have their origins in BadenWürttemberg. The region does not possess natural resources and thus Baden-Württemberg has to get around and convince the world by means of its know-how and inventions. Therefore Baden-Württemberg is seen as the home of inventors and creative thinkers. Besides its high professional performance, Baden-Württemberg has a big focus on sustainability. Young people in the region also prefer to work for sustainable companies. One of the region’s current aims is to influence the energy revolution by enlarging the use of renewable sources in order to accomplish sustainability in the region. According to the official website this approach includes forms of energy, consistent environmental protection, good mobility, nature conservation, food safety, attractive open spaces and a strong agricultural sector. Another aim of the region is to ensure the conversation of nature and the protection of environment in order to ensure a healthy environment for its inhabitants. The rate of involvement in voluntary work in Baden-Württemberg is higher than in the other federal states of Germany. Overall, Baden-Württemberg is a strong, innovative, and caring region in Europe that performs on a high level.

According to Flanders DC, during the World Creativity Forum in Germany 2008 Baden-Württemberg wanted to give an „insight in how innovation policies are made in their region and how the region stimulates creativity and innovation, with a special focus on fostering creativity and innovation, entrepreneurship and internationalisation as main success factors for top creative locations in a global economy“. Because of the region’s cutting edge approach towards developments and technologies with a promising future and a connection to the well-being of its inhabitants, the region is an important member of the Districts of Creativity network. Furthermore, the region is very interested in innovation activities and the exchange of strategies / new solutions to solve problems. The district focuses on the following five innovation activities: • Active Aging • Sustainable energy • Information Communication Technologies • New Production Processes • Smart mobility Baden-Württemberg’s current main subject is “Active Aging”. Because the number of families and also the size of families decrease, older people are no longer able to live at home independently. Therefore, Baden-Württemberg is actively searching for solutions and exchanging new ideas in the District of Creativity.

Soziale Innovation According to Prof. Dr. Höptner, Commissioner for Europe of BadenWürttemberg’s Ministry of Financing

and Economic Affairs and Director of Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum StuttgartKarlsruhe, social innovation has become from great importance in our democratic society due to the fact that new developed technologies, no matter how beneficial the basic idea would be for mankind, would not be accepted by public if no social issues are tackled. Therefore, research projects have to show the benefit for the entire social environment in order to be supported by Horizon 2020, the biggest research and innovation programme ever. Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum is building the bridge to Europe for enterprises, universities, research organisations and regional authorities in BadenWürttemberg and is making cross-links between different actors of innovation in the region (state-market-community). For the selected industry - active agingnetworking platforms for the involved actors, such as producer of technical equipment, hospitals, health insurance funds, red cross and care workers were founded in order to give elderly the opportunity to stay at home as long as possible, even if they are not supported by family members. The Central European Programme co-financed by the ERDF implements this pilot project. The purpose of CluStart is to “develop and test a process of systemic coordination for cross-linking competent actors across the regional clusters - and beyond”. As co-initiator of the energy revolution in Germany, the district is highly interested in Sustainable energy and supports new ideas regarding energy systems. Furthermore, Information Communication Technologies, new production processes and Smart mobility are of great interest for the district.

Photo © Heribert Pohljpg

Baden-Württemberg, Germany

District of Creativity


Profile for Schepwerk

Uncovering Social Innovation in the DC Network (10 pages preview)  

In 2014 Brabant joined the Districts of Creativity network. Commissioned by the Embassy for Creative Affairs, nine graduating students of NH...

Uncovering Social Innovation in the DC Network (10 pages preview)  

In 2014 Brabant joined the Districts of Creativity network. Commissioned by the Embassy for Creative Affairs, nine graduating students of NH...