There are many social issues that cry out for a solution. With the arrival of the participatory society the role of local government is changing. In addition, more and more companies want to take responsibility for social issues. Social entrepreneurship in the Netherlands is booming. We see this movement and also note that even more is possible if change makers, social entrepreneurs, established organizations, (semi-) government agencies, financiers, and centers of knowledge work together. This collaboration provides major opportunities for social impact.
The Social Impact Factory is the platform where these organizations meet, share information, and work together on entrepreneurial solutions for societal challenges. We are an inclusive network where collaboration and innovation are key. The Social Impact Factory connects the various organizations in the playing field together around a social issue. The aim of the Social Impact Factory is to create the new normal, where social entrepreneurship is a pleonasm.
For the SDG House community of tenants in the KIT building to be more inclusive and be more connected to the local neighborhood, we propose an Impact Challenge: a participatory approach towards inclusiveness and connection.
In an Impact Challenge, we work in co-creation with impact makers (social entrepreneurs, change makers from the neighborhoods, policy makers from the municipal and other stakeholder) on finding social entrepreneurial ways of solving a the inclusivity issue. Solutions are immediately tested and improved. Most importantly, the aim of an impact challenge is to forges sustainable coalitions of partners around solutions which have proven their worth. An Impact Challenge runs for six months. In four stages – exploration, kick-start, co-creation and pitch – impact makers collaborate on solutions. The four stages of the six month challenges are designed to facilitate co-creation and to validate and develop solutions. The Social Impact Connectors provide acceleration and vigor, and assist in creating entrepreneurial solutions. The aim is to realize social impact, create new partnerships and enhance innovation.
In this specific case we will connect the KIT research institute and the wider SDG House community of tenants in the KIT building to other local organizations, change makers from the neighborhood and other relevant partners to create coalitions. We will start by mapping the needs and wants of the neighborhood, focusing on the local visible minorities and newcomers. Thereafter, we facilitate a process of co-creation and collaboration to work towards solutions and initiatives for these minorities and newcomers. The Impact Challenge can be seen as a learn- and innovation process, with thorough process management by the Social Impact Factory. This approach, which takes the local needs as a starting point, ensures the final solutions are widely supported by all stakeholders and therefore has a very high rate of sustainability. There will be no ‘solution push’.
The Social Impact Factory has extensive experience doing these kinds of projects. For example, in the last few months we facilitated a social tender for the so-called Wachterliedpaviljoen (a community center in Amsterdam). In recent years, the neighborhood where the Wachterliedpaviljoen is located has changed significantly, both physically and socially. This led to the wish from the municipality to create more cohesion between the changing neighborhood and the social facilities available. The Social Impact Factory was asked to find the right organization for this task. We consulted the neighborhood on their expectations for the activities taking place in the community center. On the basis of that information we guided three organizations towards an impact plan for managing the community center. One of these organizations will implement this impact plan as of coming month.
Furthermore, we combine our expertise on connecting various organizations with our participation in the Utrecht Refugee Launchpad (URLP), providing us with knowledge of intercultural communication and inclusion. URLP is a two-year European project where refugees and neighborhood residents live, learn and work together in the Overvecht district to facilitate integration from day one. The Social Impact provides a practical program on entrepreneurship. Through open days and network discussions, monthly events, community neighborhood projects, individual coaching and guidance in setting up a company, we work together with the participants on their professional future. We don’t offer this program just to the asylum seekers, but also to local residents of Overvecht.
The combination between these two kinds of expertise makes the Social Impact Factory the perfect candidate to make sure the KIT research institute and the wider SDG House community of tenants in the KIT building are more inclusive and more connected to the local neighborhood.