European Social Innovation Competition 2011 – solutions proposals: mine & the finalist ones


Regarding Euclid Network’s first attempt to play with open innovation & crowd sourcing in Europe – there were 6 concrete challenges picked from Naples’ community problems (Italy) which were launched publicly for solving. The evaluation of solvers’ proposals was at the hand of an exclusive jury made of people coming mostly from non-profit and public affairs. If I am not mistaken there was also someone from the banking system and no business people.

The initiators (having the support and funding of EU headquarters) wanted to take Naples as one of the most significant symbol / example of government and markets failure and to transform it into a symbol of change. Bold vision which requires a strategic thinking, bold actions & bold choices, if I were to have an opinion about it !

Before reaching the solutions,  let’s go back to the roots  & remember the meaning of innovation, because I noticed a general phenomenon among innovation evaluators – which is confusion & misinterpretation of the term.

Definition of Innovation: The term innovation derives from the Latin word innovatus, which is the noun form of innovare “to renew or change,” stemming from in-“into” + novus-“new”. Although the term is broadly used, innovation generally refers to the creation of better or more effective products, processes, technologies, or ideas that are accepted by markets, governments, and society. Innovation differs from invention or renovation in that innovation generally signifies a substantial positive change compared to incremental changes.

Proposals /Solutions

You’ll find bellow my proposals for the challenges I took. I’ll show you in parallel the chosen proposals for entering the final round of selection – to make a comparison.

A. Challenge 1 – Turning a confiscated villa into a financially sustainable Social Business

I. 1st Challenge presentation

“You will turn the Villa into a social business. The purpose of the social business must be aimed at benefiting community and helping disadvantaged or marginalized groups in society. We have 6 rooms and 2 bathrooms available. On top of that there is the garden of 8.000 square meters and a 70 square meter garage that can be used. Furthermore, the terrace, given to another organization (L’Orsa Maggiore) that focuses on helping disabled people can be used occasionally in agreement with them. Your social business must be financially sustainable and not dependent on public funding. You will be required to cooperate and coordinate with the other projects which are being implemented at the villa.”

II. My proposal:  European TV Channel/Station

All the available spaces will be turned into broadcasting studios and offices – the start-up base for creating the first European TV Channel/Station.

I think that Europe needs such channel of communication with smart business-entertainment, social-business, entrepreneurship and concrete informative TV formats – the kind of formats that no TV channel offers today in reply to our challenges, risks, trends and problems.

TV formats should follow a mix of ingredients in order to be: entertaining, challenging and highly informative about real and concrete things that communities and businesses face all over Europe.

The European TV Channel should be a strong link between European countries, an instrument and problem solver itself by the way we model and target it.

The information broadcasted should cover: inter-states information, jobs opportunities, projects developed, business opportunities, new economic models implemented, European applied policies and strategies.

To play with ideas we may also look at it in future as The European Center of Television, a Regional TV Station/Channel – an instrument which comes as a missing puzzle piece and bridges some key gaps UE faces acting also as a reconciliatory of policies and visions instrument.

The European TV Channel develops a network of communication partnerships with national TV networks and cable companies, business partners, social partners, people.

It is supposed to become a channel able to be accessed in all Europe with up-to-date and live information from all areas and from all countries – focused on real issues in real time.

It will be broadcasted also online and it might be followed by an online collaborative communication and implementation platform able to respond and receive information at any given time to all sorts of community problems (social and business) coming from all over Europe, including an emergency response communication platform.

The instruments we create around it should be able to monitor & measure economic and social impact and performances, should be a real market place for exchanging innovation and solutions to problems – aiming to do so in real time at some point – taking communication to new borders and giving it consistence and meaning in real life issues.

The other exterior facilities may not be transformed for the moment, but only be maintained in good shape. Still the outdoor generous space allows placing mobile broadcasting studios in future – as development thought until further expansion will be taken into account.

Profits come from all parties interests and specific social, business and mix of social and business schemes, models and packages will be developed for uplifting communities in Europe.

Working places will be created, training facilities will be developed, education will be provided, students allowed for internships, advertising goes to a new level, etc.

We should also think at it from a TV studio production studio perspective for the social business and social entrepreneurship missions – as such studio may integrate many people and may re-dimension many things we aim for.

The key for the European TV Channel/Station to become Europe’s voice stays in its business modeling and strategies and in its social-business models developed around it and by it.

III. Proposals chosen as finalists (short summary presented on Euclid’s website)

Finalist Solution 1: The idea is to create a Centre of Responsible Tourism and Popular Knowledge that serves both residents of Naples and visitors while creating jobs, increasing awareness about local challenges and providing professional training.  The project combines Responsible Tourism and Science Communication that tackles Naples’ challenges from multiple perspectives.

Finalist Solution 2: The idea is to create a “green urban centre” focusing on the concept of social economy and environmental sustainability to provide training courses to improve the knowledge of a sustainable life style.  This innovative space will accelerate the co-creation for people empowerment and it can be a stimulus for community participation and inclusion.  There will also be an ‘urban green festival’ in the villa and private gardens in Naples.

B. Challenge 2: Making an abandoned Roman bath accessible and sustainable

I. 2nd Challenge presentation

 “The Context:

GAN is a volunteering Non-Governmental Organization where all the members and volunteers are archaeologists. It is responsible for the opening of some of Naples’ archaeological sites. Along with other impressive sites, they are taking care of an ancient Roman bath in the outskirts of Naples, covering an area of 20×30 meters. This abandoned ruin has been neglected and some parts are yet to be excavated. Most of the ancient frescos are lost, and some of the mosaics are in a bad state. The bath is located in the suburb of Fuorigrotta. The area is about 8 kilometers away from the city centre.

The Challenge:

Turn the Roman Bath into an accessible site that can benefit society. Your project must work with limited access to the site, a lack of electricity, water and sanitary facilities, as well as the challenge that you cannot touch the ruin. You will need to make it accessible and create a sustainable site around it.”

 II. My proposals:

 Proposal 1:

To build on horizontal or on vertical – the base being the original bath subject of our topic – the same Roman Bath but in MIRROR as it should look if we’ll use last tech and last renewable resources technologies in order to replicate and create in the mirror the original one.

Ancient Roman bath versus Present Times Roman Bath – using the same basic ingredients, traditions, architecture – but modeled using today possibilities, things available and mix with modern art.

I see the original bath conserved in a huge futuristic transparent glass structure and the new one build around or above it in such manner we can see the original one from various angles through the glass.

One is the continuity of the other.

The new Roman bath should be functional and able to be used by tourists exactly as a Roman bath – being provided all accessories for having a great experience – by replicating old traditions and rituals that existed in these Roman baths.

It would be like a small scale entertainment touristy and event “museum” and attraction where people are experiencing the story.

All its utilities should be built using green energy: water, electricity, etc plus improvisation engineering and art elements and effects.

Proposal 2:

Create & install around the site – with the help of artists & specialists – huge “art/photo montages” with other more or less similar Roman baths from Naples, surroundings or even from around the country which are opened for visiting / touristy attractions.

These artistic huge montages may be helped by technology to be provided with all sorts of special effects in order to be very attractive and entertaining.

They must contain each objective’s incredible story told or shown in creative unique manners we should think of like for example small theatrical plays for which we may train talented people coming from marginal communities with the help of great well known actors and artists – “using “ their presence and implication for making the site we create more attractive and visited; video projections, other ideas.

The site we create around it focuses on tourism & events production and promotion around art and history – concept which is the fundamental brick of social business program and packages schemes we develop further.

Common thoughts:

In both scenarios an entry fee is charged from tourists/visitors, plus small commerce & transport facilities we may provide around it – thing that will provide us more revenues.

All funds will be used for supporting own developed social business schemes and models and/or ones already existent, after a well set up business strategy.

NOTE: both solutions may be taken into account for different but similar sites around the region/country.

 III. Proposals chosen as finalists (short summary presented on Euclid’s website)

 Finalist Solution 1: Sustainable, Virtual and Augmented Archeology 2.0. The idea combines social media, virtual worlds and augmented reality with ecological sustainability to preserve, enhance and develop the baths. It combines participant empowerment, social media, emerging technologies and creative economy techniques. The project will develop a social media ecosystem that aggregates and combines the archaeologists and their insights.

Finalist Solution 2: The idea is to involve the citizens in rediscovering the area’s historical roots by means of projects for the development and promotion of the sites of historical, archaeological interest characterizing the birth and the evolution of this area of Naples.  It offers the chance of participating in making a piece of the history of the community available is the underlying reason of this project.