One Million Talents Hub Munich

A solution by MORE THAN SHELTERS submitted to Building Social Labs for Integration!

Integrating new arrivals into host communities is one of the biggest social challenges we face. MTS proposes to create a Social Lab that will receive the talents of newcomers and residents to generate productive encounters and collaborations between diverse actors, and to foster a better integration on a social-economical and cultural level through co-creating and incubating from idea to market

(Pitched: 13/04/2018)

One Page Summary


There is no complete social lab structure dedicated to foster social innovation for integration in Munich. The landscape of related projects is easily comprehensible. Some actors run programmes to address refugee entrepreneurs, others provide education curriculums, some others again run events to foster integration. The Hans Sauer Foundation (HSS) is the one that has take the initiative and lead to invest in such an idea.

In order to scale new contexts it is essential to design the right constellation of actors dedicated to locally run a lab as convening agency or institution. Many lab approaches focus just on ideation and early stage incubation. However, the hard work and also the art of social innovation is related to market making and the creation of sustainable impact - and business models. This is why our lab designs in general and also the one for Munich will have a strong focus on those elements.

MORE THAN SHELTERS (MTS) designs, prototypes and runs social innovation labs in refugee and migration contexts since seven years. We have run labs in Zaatari refugee camp, Amman and Azraq in Jordan. From there we developed a scalable methodology to run labs for the MENA region and Europe called the Million Talents Hubs. We co-designed international initiatives as the response innovation lab (with Oxfam, World Vision, Save the Children). Currently we are designing a neighbourhood lab in Berlin-Charlottenburg.

With this application MTS is addressing the challenge of the HSS, Munich and namely “Building Social Labs for Integration” as a specific case out of our more general methodology to build, open and run social innovation labs in refugee and migration contexts.

1) General Challenge:

The challenge of integrating new arrivals into host communities is one of the biggest social challenges currently faced in Germany and Europe. A social lab for integration is an innovative way to generate solutions for making integration successful. To understand its functionality it is helpful to split the overall challenge into components:

a) Poor reception of talents

The institutional response provided by governments, municipalities, as well as by humanitarian agencies or social service providers is often lacking concepts to:

i) assess, prove and show the professional and creative resources within refugee and migrant communities

ii) explore, foster and professionalize those talents and skills

iii) create dedicated spaces for incubating and accelerating civic-, social- and business ideas

b) Limited productive encounters

Most of the times displaced people living in refugee camps, transit camps or arrival centers have only limited opportunities to get in touch with their hosting societies. This leads to

i) Isolation and segregation

ii) Frustration and fear

iii) Stagnation and depression

c) Low collaborative efforts

We see a strong sectorial divide between the civil society, academic institutions, governmental agents, welfare organizations, the economic system and other actors in their response efforts. This leads to

i) duplicated efforts

ii) usual, "same old" solutions

iii) inflexible offers not meeting the real needs of new arrivals and residents

2) Specific Challenge:

a) The City of Munich makes no exception from the general rule. However there are specific local factors that should be taken into consideration as they influence the final impact. Part of this application and the implementation scenario therefore is modulating our general solution methodology towards a site specific solution.


The proposed solution is a collaborative process to prototype a social lab for integration in Munich. This prototype will receive the talents of newcomers and old residents to generate productive encounters and collaborations between a multitude of actors to foster integration on a social, economical and cultural level through co-creating and incubating from idea to market. Its functions will be:

● Mapping of local talents, assets and opportunities

● Incubation and acceleration of social, civic and business ventures

● Market making

● Coordination and Collaboration

● Convening and Matchmaking

● Co-Venturing

● Building a local, regional and (inter)-national network

The project is split into 3 phases (two months each):

1) Assessment

2) Design

3) Prototyping

The following workstreams need to be addressed:

1) Project Management

2) Community and Network building

3) Market Analysis and -Making

4) Place Making

5) Business and Impact Modelling

6) Content Management

The implementation plan is based on workshop and co-creation sessions. This means that the project team from MTS will be conducting a major part of the work on-site. A team constellation between MTS and Hand Sauer Foundation staff will be built. Core partners will be selected and included into the design phase.