Let’s take a break on our journey. After two posts in which we introduced some of the main principles of social innovation, we would like to introduce a practical interlude on how social innovation can take the shape of specific initiatives with a real impact. As Jack Welch declared, “change before you have to”.
Social innovation creates social and business value. New social centralities and new business models converge to create wealth and to integrate both variables of the equation in the same result. A new type of innovation entails a whole new network of relations. Aware of this, SUEZ participated in the first edition of Imagine mSocial.
Imagine mSocial 2016 is the first social innovation programme developed in Spain and fully focused on searching for tangible solutions to the social challenges of the city of Barcelona. For an entire month, Anna Inglés, Sustainable Development Project Manager of SUEZ, participated in the programme in order to find solutions to a major challenge – urban regeneration – on which she worked intensely together with Núria Morató (UAB Emprèn) and Isaac Lleixà (EADA).
This solution is BARRI, the general purpose of which is, according to Anna, to “redefine the centrality of cities, as all citizens must have the same opportunities, regardless of the neighbourhood in which they live, and to strengthen the socio-economic fabric of the city through the creation of new applications and technological functionalities”.
BARRI is formed by two key elements. The first one is a smart charger of SUEZ Water Spain which, thanks to the mobile charging points and Wi-Fi connection, attracts the interest of young people and generates active revitalization points in the neighbourhoods. The second is the BARRI app, the objective of which is to support young people in order to organize workshops focused on their interests and to make them available to the citizens. On holding these workshops, the young people receive points which can be exchanged for official courses, thus converting their passion into their profession.
BARRI and the other proposals of Imagine mSocial were presented at a macro-event in the Palau dels Congressos de Barcelona. This is an example of how social innovation can take a specific form and create a new way of connecting with society, which is long-lasting and creates value.