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Social Innovation Interview 4: Online vs. Offline Innovation


This weeks' episode of Social Innovation Interview looks at the advantages and disadvantages of going through the innovation process online and offline.


Kayla: Hey, I'm Kayla.

Christian: Hello, I'm Christian. Today we want to speak about social innovation online versus offline. The question whether social innovation has to happen offline or can only work online. We believe the two worlds fit together very well.

Kayla: We have an online platform. Obviously, we feel very strongly about how using an online platform can help you move the project forward, but we still like having off liner in person event to create a personal connection to get energy in the room. We feel that the two platforms can often work very well together, it doesn't necessary have to be one or the other.

Christian: Exactly. There is strength in both of them and perhaps various clients. The example I would like to pick is an ideal competition or ideal challenge. We often have this case where foundation, organization, wants to get very great ideas about specific topics.

For instance, when we worked with Nesta together they were asking about energy saving and households. Of course, if you do it physically in a place, location, how are you going to mobilize for the people? You are not going to get too many people together easily to one location.

What they did is they started online. They started mobilizing across Europe to inventors, makers, people who are on data, they come up with ideas how to save energy in households with apps and stuff like that. That's the one that has a very big strength at the beginning to get a lot of people together to reach far out into different networks, to get the best price-minded people around.

Kayla: That is also great to have continued the online thing after the person, workshop or event, you can only achieve so much in one day or in one location. To keep the momentum going and keep making sure that the project happen and follow through, it's important to have a way to follow up with people and keep in touch with people.

Christian: Yeah. We also see what is quite interesting is that having done this online interaction most in this phase, some call it the ideation or bringing something that people penning up different ideas to help create online. Also we see it happens that people who might not shout out at the workshop and say, "I have this idea and are a bit more introverted, a bit more shy."

Online, everybody has a place to talk out and to put out the idea. Then you have different interesting possibilities and broad flows how to move on from an idea to actually collaborate around them.

Kayla: Also gives you a bit more time to think of things that you have ideas actually work sharper you are not the person who's going to jump forward and have an idea right away, but you need a few days to run things over. That can help and include more people in the process.

Christian: Exactly. It's also we see that once the idea is out there, that there are other people from various locations and various backgrounds who come up and ask questions and start discussing it. It's very interesting from the Internet you get so many different people around there. It's definitely big advantage.

Kayla: For sure. What do you think then about the offline space, would there be any advantages of having that as part of the process?

Christian: You can do a lot more online, but this deserves an own podcast which we should talk about in another occasion, about team collaboration this time. What usually happens in most cases with our clients is that they then meet up at the end. They have this ideation, they talk, discuss, exchange about the ideas.

They bond on them, prioritize them, evaluate them to different criteria. They have a jury for instance, who's looking carefully at the idea, the proposal and then this all leads to something like a weekend, where they invite the best ideas or the teams behind them to collaborate intensively over 2-3 days together to make something out of this idea.

To invite other experts to this weekend to marketing, see off people, to drive up the application behind it. What I like is a wonderful example is the Social Innovation Camp. How they did it, keep on doing it. That on these occasions, these weekends, they will have all kinds of experts together to help these teams to make the best out of the idea.

The idea itself is very little, it is most importantly then to exchange it, to work together maybe on a time limit, and people probably come up with a result after such a weekend.

Kayla: That can help coming up build strong connection and propel things forward.

Christian: That's something where the strength of the two worlds come together the best.

Kayla: Cool. Very well. Thank you so much for joining us again. I'll see you next time.

Christian: All right. Thank you very much. Ciao.