Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Study visit to Denmark

Last week (1st & 2nd June) we joined a study visit to Denmark and Sweden to investigate social innovation projects in Copenhagen and Malmo. We were invited along by the organisers La 27e Region who had brought along a large group of French civil servants interested in learning how a wide variety of social issues and public sector services can be addressed through design thinking, collaboration between stakeholders and creative new approaches.

Of particular interest was a workshop undertaken at MindLab in Copenhagen. Funded by three Danish ministerial departments (the Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs, the Ministry of Taxation and the Ministry of Employment), MindLab acts as an innovation unit that engages the public sector, citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society by providing a physical space and inspiring creativity, innovation and collaboration.

The discussion during the workshop centred on how social innovation might develop in the coming years and the barriers that exist in developing the wider use of more innovative approaches to resolving societal issues - such as the use of language and who has potential ownership of social innovation. The workshop at MindLab included a presentation by You, I and We, who come from an urban design background and have a vision to develop Copenhagen as an international centre for social innovation, leading the rest of Europe.

Whilst in Denmark we took the opportunity to also meet with the Danish Design Centre in Copenhagen (one of our SEEProject partners) and the Healthcare Innovation Centre in Herlev just north of the city to discuss our new service design project (more information to come soon).

La 27eRegion positions itself as a "laboratory of new public policies in the digital age. We want to provide a framework for all those and all those who wish to innovate, experiment with new approaches, and imagine the future of the territories".