Exploring ecosystems for social innovation

Context/thematic challenge

In 2015, ‘ecosystem’ was becoming a very trendy concept amongst social innovators in Europe, but there was little clarity on what it meant and how ecosystems could be created to support social innovation. As such, there were no major programmes of work examining it. Simultaneously, Germany was quickly gaining a reputation as a major centre of creativity and social innovation, particularly with respect to the sharing economy and maker movements.

SIX’s contribution

Through the Social Innovation Europe project, we hosted a gathering to help social innovators across Europe find meaning in this new term- ecosystem. We designed an event focused on how we could create an effective ecosystem for social innovation in Europe through:

1.Examining the roles for government, civil servants, businesses and foundations

2.Thinking differently about new funding models, managing risk and creating a culture of innovation

3.Looking at how we can better work across fields and collaborate to develop a more holistic and joined up system of support in Europe


– Exploring Ecosystems for Social Innovation report

– Film from the event 


2 days, from 22-23 June 2015.

70 participants from numerous sectors. Participants worked in European social enterprises, NGOs, and the funding and policy sector. Attendees came from as far as Canada, Malaysia and Hong Kong to Berlin.  


Social Innovation Europe, AEIDLEuropean CommissionBMW Foundation, Germany and Impact Hub Berlin