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Social Experiments in the Nordics: About the Event

Published Date: 1 December 2014

SIX Nordic invited its regional network to gather in Copenhagen on December 1- 2, 2014, around the question: How can we make social experiments that leads to knowledge and systemic change in a Nordic context?  The SIX Nordic Event 2014 followed a full-day conference hosted by Social+ on the same topic. 

Click here to see the full program for the event.

Read more about the conference here.


According to The Danish Dictionary, an experiment is a ”scientific test that has to illustrate something, confirm or reject a certain hypothesis or lead to an invention”. A good social experiment is a well-planned, systematic test of a new solution to a social challenge, which provides us with valuable knowledge about how and if a new solution creates the expected social value. Good social experiments generate practice-oriented knowledge, show ethical consideration for the people involved, and balance between minimising risk and furthering innovation.


For too long, the field of social innovation (especially in Denmark) has been characterized by a happy-go-lucky approach that has lead to numerous limited and short-lived development projects without significant impact. Furthermore, a strong focus on evidence and evaluation has left far too little room for innovation. But if we are to create new solutions to the complex social challenges we face, we need to dedicate far more time and effort to the experimental social invention phase, where we qualify, concretize and test our new ideas and inventions before realizing them as (potential) social innovations. These experiments require a new mindset. Thus, we need to be willing to take risks and change our approach to social innovation – the question is how?