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Open innovation is one of the most agile and effective avenues for transformation, as we have already seen in several examples with large enterprises. But it is also a powerful tool to implement changes of profound social significance, as these are born precisely from a collective effort, from cooperation and the contribution of a broad group of stakeholders.

Let us use this post to review four public examples of open innovation in society, open to participation from all types of collectives and large groups of people.

open innovation in society

Conquistando la Igualdad

True and effective equality between men and women is something both genders need to strive after, but it is also up to the various relevant stakeholders who can influence society, such as public authorities or companies. Conquistando la Igualdad is a collaborative project that seeks the implication of the whole of society as a means to achieve equality. Citizens, experts on the subject from various fields, and companies participate in a community where they share and create proposals, democratically and collaboratively, that have very real possibilities for implementation. The salary gap and glass ceiling, the imposition of roles at work and at home, or the balance between work and family life, are some of the topics for discussion, which may need to be redefined within this community.

open innovation in society

Santander City Brain

What if an entire city could cooperate with the common goal of achieving greater collective welfare? That is the formula behind Santander City Brain, a project in the city of Santander that takes Smart City technology beyond the mere installation of sensors or data collection from neighbors. Since 2013, this community is an instrument open to the ideas and participation from citizens, with influence over various decision-making areas of the City Council. A need that the current Mayor, Gema Igual, sums up by reminding us that “municipal governments are the form of administration that is closest to citizens”. The community has given rise to projects that promote IT in the city, Tourism, and local business, and helps to increase innovation and local resilience.

 Download the case study (pdf) for the Santander City Brain here.

open innovation in society


Citizens, entrepreneurs and companies have joined forces to create Plantacción, a triumvirate seeking to transform its immediate environment. The community, driven by Unltd Spain, interweaves a relationship between these stakeholders to collaboratively create ideas with social impact. Companies and entrepreneurs also participate in their subsequent promotion; demonstrating that returns for today’s companies can also be social. The community also initiates discussion about issues of collective interest, asking, for example, for ideas to make life in cities better, or ideas that can help to extend the useful life of products.

social innovation

Agenda digital 

What should Spain’s digital agenda look like? The last edition of the Digital Enterprise Show (DES2018) invited its attendants to the pioneering experience of proposing their ideas for the evolution of the digital economy in Spain, with the challenge“Ideas for a more digital and innovative Spain”. This benchmark digitalization event wanted to take full advantage of the expertise of the audience and speakers in the matter, although participation was not limited exclusively to those gathered at the event, as it was open to all of society. What’s more, the results gave rise to a report, and were shared by DES as part of a debate with the people responsible for the digital agenda in the country’s main political parties.

 Download the case study (pdf) for Agenda Digital here.

Want to build a program for transformation?
We can help you and broaden your scope with open innovation.

Related content:
5 success stories in open innovation.
5 uses for open innovation communities.

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