di Filippo Addarii
What am i doing with a bunch of women and a puff in the derelict centre of Athens?
You might think that the over-exposion to family life has changed my life. This is true partially: I started asking Alberto if I can read his copy of the Economist and wash the dishes after dinner. But this is not the reason. I was in Athens this week to design a project for experimenting a new economy for Europe.
Do you remember my proposal at the launch of the European social business initiative (Brussels, 18 November) to create a special social economic zone in Athens to experiment a new blended economy – combining social, environmental and financial goals? I proposed Athens has the place suffering the most because of the crisis and in the most of a radical change. The right place for such experimentation.
It came out that a similar recommendation has been made by SELUSI the consortium leading one of the first European research projects on social enterprise in Europe.
Since we are in the middle of a crisis tearing apart Europe we can’t wait the institutions to give their approval. Then we decided to act. Maria, Lucas, Pavlina, Maria, Sarah and Yvonne (from the right in the picture) + me - the Pink Politburo – met in Athens and worked for 2 days on what I consider the next step after Naples.
It’s a new vision for society tackling shared challenges combining people engagement, innovators, corporate and institutional stakeholders from across borders and boundaries. We call it a social innovation area for Athens.
A social innovation area is made up of three core pillars (1) Geo-political – delineated place based area where the conditions for social innovation will be cultivated through active citizenship, (2) Social/Community – key stakeholders from public, private and civic sectors will co-create a collaborative process for local and wider participation in rapid prototyping social innovation in the delineated area, (3) Resourcing/Economy – creating the conditions and special regulations for access and activation of multiple forms of resourcing and economy to support the realisation of social innovation so it has real-time impact, e.g. micro financing, social investment, easier access to grants, time banks, complementary currencies, in kind contributions, etc.
The social innovation area concept is inspired by the Special Economic Zones yet expands the primary focus from financial return to take into account long term economic, social and environmental sustainability through building of local agency and social capital as a result of active participation.
If Merkosy, EC, IMF, EFSF, XYZ can’t fix Europe we will build a new one starting from Athens as its laboratory. Stay tuned.