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Takeaways from Social Innovation Camps: About the discussion

Published Date: 12 April 2012

Takeaways from Social Innovation Camps, a global TelePresence discussion convened by the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), Australian Social Innovation Exchange (ASIX), Social Innovation Camp (SI Camp) and Cisco, took place the 14th April 2012 and brought together participants from all over the world to share experience and know how gained from organising these Camps.

SI Camps bring together software developers and designers with people who understand a social problem to help build web and mobile solutions to social challenges. The web and related technologies hold huge potential to create change in many different ways: how people hold those in positions of power accountable; who they rely on to provide the services they need to live healthy, happy lives; or how they make a difference to something that affects them. But for any of this to happen, we have to understand what people really need and start building the technology that can help – which is what Social Innovation Camp is all about. Through unusual, creative events the SI Camp brings together talented software developers and designers with social innovators to prototype effective web-based solutions to real social problems.

Since Social Innovation Camps was created in London in 2008, the SI Camp model has quickly spread all over the world, from Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and the UK, to Australia, South Korea and Nigeria. The many new initiatives that have been developed during and after the SI Camps around the world are testament to the effectiveness of this model. However, in order to ensure that the model continues to spread, and in order for more people to run effective camps in their own regions, we must learn from those who already have the experience. We need to capture and communicate the valuable learning that both organisers and participants have gained in the design and development process.

This is what motivated SIX to bring together those who created the model, funders, participants and organisers, as well as those interested in learning more about the SI Camp model to start this process. Participants from London, Oslo, Glasgow, Bratislava, Lagos, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide used this session to address questions such as:

What are the successful processes for securing the right group of participants for the Camps? What preparatory work was found effective in order for projects to be ready to make best use of developers and designers? What outcomes have been achieved in getting projects fully operational and what results are these projects achieving? What is the level of resources and sources required to hold an effective SI camp?