SocialFare® | Centre for Social Innovation

Our mission is to catalyse, generate and innovate solutions for the social good, in order to promote change and generate new social entrepreneurship and social impact. Anthropological and ethnographic research, services and products design and testing are at the basis of our actions with communities and networks.

Since our foundation in 2013, we have focused on challenging inequality through impact innovation at all levels, in terms of access to information, growth opportunities, knowledge and education, social entrepreneurship, etc. We believe that social equality, mobility and social innovation are key to the development of civil society and we concentrate our efforts on new ideas, networks and solutions for social good. In Italy there is a growing awareness of what social innovation implies, though it differs a lot from region to region. We travel across Italy with our work and witness social innovations taking place across cities. However not all social innovators realise their actions are socially innovative. Furthermore, there are also those falsely professing they deliver social innovation.

There is certainly a growing need to provide a better definition of both the terms ‘social’ and ‘innovation’ and their resulting implications in terms of the different opportunities that they may bring about. Likewise there is an pressing need to identify new actors and new forms of collaboration/partnerships to promote effective solutions generatic social impact and systemic change.

MANAGEMENT

SocialFare® has a board of trustees that meets quarterly and a CEO in charge of the direction of the enterprise. On the operational side of the structure, it adopts a horizontal organisational model: there is an operational team working on ideation and market research, both on services and products design, community spaces engagement, physical/digital interaction development and information design, business development, tutoring and mentoring, entrepreneurship readiness; an administrative staff and a IT-expert team.

DESCRIPTION OF SERVICES

Anthropological and ethnographic research, services and products design and testing are at the basis of our actions with communities and networks.
With a specific focus on social services and a new welfare model, SocialFare®:

  • develops and implements new ideas, products and services while creating new social relationships and collaborations;
  • works as an incubator and accelerator of pioneering ideas for social innovation where new socioeconomic models are developed and social entrepreneurship initiatives are tested;
  • focuses on developing know-how and readiness to support social enterprise creation and social investment;
  • deploys social impact innovations which concretely help people, communities, social reforms and policy-makers.
  • applies Design Thinking methodology with human-centered design focus and engages end- users and stakeholders in creative thinking/participatory workshops in an open innovation approach, testing solutions via fast prototyping;
  • modelling of social entrepreneurship.
PRODUCTS

In its first 3 years of activity, SocialFare® developed and accelerated 4 social enterprises, designed and developed social impact projects delivering social impact assessment analysis and reports:

  • MurialdoFor Onlus (www.murialdofor.org), the fundraising branch of the Giuseppini del Murialdo congregation was set up to support the social activities in support of children, young people and workers, finalized in the Common Good;
  • Gruppo Spes (www.gruppo-spes.org) a social cooperative type B, Torino-based chocolat
    factory that offers support and independence for young people in the working world, with particular attention for those who live in difficult situations;
  • Villa Rizzi (www.villarizzi.it) a centre for socialisation at work and teaching farm specialized in the production and packaging of biological herbs, located in the municipality of Sardagna (TN);
  • DinamoCoop (www.diamocoop.org), a multi service social enterprise with the aim of gathering artisan skills and technical capabilities in support of services for companies and private clients;
  • MuiMac – Interactive Museum of Chestnut and Chocolate at Cascina Roland in Villar Focchiardo (Val di Susa). SocialFare® designed the museum experience as an interactive discovery of the Val di Susa territory, through its traditional products, the stories and actions of men and women that are living, shaping and preserving it.
  • EDEN (Energy Data Engagement), a project supported by IREN, winner of the Smart Communities SMAU 2015 prize, aimed at raising and fostering widespread awareness of energy consumption in schools, using the Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm. SocialFare® collaborated to design the social platform that enabled students and teachers to browse through environmental data uploaded so to understand to what extent their behaviors may generate an impact on the environment. Furthermore, SocialFare® wrote the social impact evaluation report of the project.
  • S.E.e.D (Systemic Event Design), a research project conducted by SocialFare® | Centre for Social Innovation in collaboration with Slow Food Italy, that attempts to analyse and assess the main event of Slow Food Association, the Salone Internazionale del Gusto e Terra Madre 2014,as a social innovation ecosystem in term of social sustainability by upgrading the concept of environmental sustainability.
    SocialFare® was selected as finalist (2012) and semi-finalist (2013) of the European prizes “European Social Innovation Competition”.

On March 10th 2015, SocialFare® and a wide network of national and international partners inaugurated Rinascimenti Sociali (www.rinascimentisociali.org) the first Accelerator of social knowledge and entrepreneurship in Italy, located in Torino.
Rinascimenti Sociali is a physical place hosting an open ecosystem that brings together both national and international partners: a platform to converge and innovate in areas of high social impact; a new model based on social innovation and convergence innovation. The Accelerator’s goal is to co- develop innovative solutions that address the most pressing societal challenges and create new economies through three areas of vertical action (Engagement, Education, Acceleration) and three transversal tools (Technology, Finance and Internationalisation).

FINANCING/FUNDING

SocialFare® is funded by: shareholding in accelerated social enterprises, consultancy services for private/public entities, companies and institution, fundings aimed at developping social entrepreneurship and participation in national and international projects.

PARTNERS

SocialFare® works with a multi-disciplinary team and provides differentiation of skills and expertise. We believe that cross-collaboration is crucial to social innovation, for both knowledge production and solution acceleration. We partner with private entrerprises, public organisations, foundations, SMEs within the Piedmont region, Italy and around the world: Accademia di Progettazione Sociale Maurizio Maggiora (IT), AIPEC (IT), Banco de Innovacao Social Lisbona (P), Consiglio Regionale del Piemonte (IT), Consulta Europa (ES-IT), Civic Policy Lab Singapore (SINGAPORE), Digital Social Innovation (EU), Dipartimento Culture Politiche e Società (IT), DOF Counsulting (IT), DragonFly Collective (UK), Engim Artigianelli (IT), Engim ONG (IT), Experientia (IT), Fondazione Fits! (IT), Fondazione per l’Ambiente T. Fenoglio (IT), GlobalShapers Torino (IT), Kairos Consorzio (IT), MaRS Toronto (CANADA), Novajo (IT), PerMicro (IT), PerMicroLab Onlus (IT), Public Policy Lab NY (USA), Quotidiano Piemontese (IT), The Young Foundation (UK), Social Innovation Europe (EU), SellaLab (IT), Social Seed (IT), Starboost (IT), S-Nodi (IT), Talent Garden Torino (IT), Top-IX (IT),Torino Wireless (IT), Turin School of Local Regulation (IT), UNITO (IT), Viartisti (IT), Wister (IT), Gruppo Dirigenti FIAT (IT), Officine Brand (IT), FullBrand (IT), CSP (IT), Slow Food (IT). The network is constantly growing and expanding.

LOCATION

SocialFare® is based in Turin but shares knowledge with other regional, national and international actors.

TARGET GROUP/SOCIAL PURPOSE

Social peripheries, new social entrepreneurs and talented young people eager to make a change, are at the centre of our actions in a co-creation, open innovation model that aims at developing new responses to so-called societal challenges while enhancing individuals’ capacity to act. In order to trigger civic engagement, we first of all get to know our communities’ social needs by conducting ethnographic research: we observe what’s happening in the field with regards to behaviours, needs, language and so on. From here, we use different engagement methodologies in order to include the identified stakeholders in a co-creation process. Together, we develop potential solutions which factor in considerations such as scalability and sustainability. Then, of course, we test the solution and work to implement and iterate it.

DURABILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY

Company’s success factors for durability and sustainability are:

  • our mission: social value generates economic value by generating and leveraging ideas, solutions and networks for social good
  • our three main areas of interest: innovation, acceleration and impact
  • our approach: systemic design approach
  • our methodology: design thinking and human-centered design
  • our work approach: collaboration, partnerships to maximise collective impact
AWARENESS

SocialFare® was born as a limited liability Company Social Entreprise, a relative new legal form of social entreprise in Italy. Since the beginning SocialFare’s mission was set clear: Social Value generates Economic Value. We actually share the definition of social innovation given by the European Commission in 2013 in the development and implementation of new ideas, in our case new products and services as well. Our services, products and models meet social needs and create new social relationships and collaborations. For us being a social enterprise means to challenge inequality at all levels, in terms of access to information, growth opportunities, education, health, entrepreneurship, etc. in a co-designed process by enhancing people capacity to act.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT PLANS

Across Europe, we need to spread knowledge and make social innovation accessible. From a basic comprehension to the new concepts and methodologies that are being used in different countries, there needs to be a greater awareness and understanding of social innovation. We believe that something more user-friendly should be implemented, whether it’s a website, a news channel or more events. For example, there could be a social innovation roadshow which tours the country, stopping in different cities to explain in open workshops across squares and streets what social innovation is and collects examples of good practices. Of course an international database of social innovation, such as Social Innovation Europe, is also useful in supporting the dissemination of practices in other countries and providing information on existing research. It is important to note that there are good prototypes that can be ‘exported’ – so to say – from one country to another for social innovation. Based on these considerations SocialFare® is working to encouraging cross-sector collaboration and strengthening awareness of current practices both at local and international level. Many people do not understand the idea behind it so we must invest time and effort in raising awareness of the movement and demonstrating how and why people should get involved.

ADVICE FOR STARTING UP A SE

As personal advice for others starting up a social enterprise I would suggest to: have a vision –better a long term vision; be clear on the mission – identify precisely the social challenge aimed to be solve and social impact expected; build a team of people that believe in the social enterprise’s mission and value; be ready to test even if things are not entirely completed; be aware that cross-collaboration is crucial to social innovation, for both knowledge production and solution acceleration; be ready to a path that would not be always easy; be flexible surround yourself; be able to measure your impact.

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