Last weekend on June 9-10 in the city of Sarajevo activists and social innovators from the Central and Eastern Europe region and beyond got together to create tech projects driven by social needs. The event was organized by Internews and Transitions Online, and it was based on a Social Innovation Camp model.
Social Innovation Camp “brings together ideas, people and digital tools to build web-based solutions to social problems – all in just 48 hours.” The event provides a setting for talented individuals to solve social challenges in new ways - by bringing together ideas and digital tools to create web-based innovations. SICamp gathers designers, social entrepreneurs, and web developers - in addition to marketing, legal, advertising, social needs experts and other specialists - to work on potential start-ups that can bring about change. The 48 hour sprint finishes with a competition to determine the winning projects that will receive further start-up support. This particular Social Innovation Camp, known under the name of Sicamp Internews (#sicampin), aimed to jumpstart a “digital activist” movement across Central and Eastern Europe, Southeastern Europe, and Central Asia.
Seven different projects were created during the intense 48 hours. They were judged based on four main criteria:
Is there a demonstrated social need?
Is the proposed technology solution feasible?
Does it have a community?
Is it sustainable?
The show and tell event, which took place in a newly-opened Sarajevo art house cinema called Kriterion, contained of presentations of projects and prototypes, as well as a question round for each team. The winner of the competition, as chosen by the jury that I joined, is:
This project focuses on the information needs of pregnant women in Belarus. As a research of the project’s mastermind showed most of the pregnant woman in Belarus do not have information about their rights and the state support which they are entitled to. That problem further translates into them not only lacking information access, but also not being able to share their experience with other mums-to-be. NovaMama! project creates an online space for this offline community to connect. It also invites specialists, such as lawyers and doctors to collaborate and pass their knowledge to those woman. NovaMama! has been created as a Belarusian project. It might be easily adaptable to different national reality if a need arises though.
Another issue that regional activists recognized to be shared across the region, is that of young people (age 16-24) now knowing how and where they can entertain themselves in their own city, and, specifically, in their own neighbourhood. One of the Social Innovation teams came up with as crowdmap answer to this problem. As explained during the show and tell: “Map4Youth is a quick way of finding out where to do the things you love, right now!” The map allows youngsters to add their city favourites to the map, and build up points to exchange for some popular brands offerings. The target group of the project is a particularly difficult one to tackle, also the potential for the project’s growth is likely to cause sustainability issues. Nevertheless, the idea is simple but appealing.Originally the map covers the territory of the biggest Balkan city - Belgrade.
3 out of 7 projects drafted and created during the camp focused on journalism in it’s local and international scope. One of them - Newsify was honoured with the people’s choice award.
Congratulations again for the NovaMama! team and good luck for all the projects development along the way! NetSquared is looking forward to highlighting the real social change that those projects will drive in the region. It was an amazing experience to be a part of the outstanding jury team, and to learn from the amazing and passionate group of participants.
Thank you guys, we are keeping our fingers crossed for you! “Yes, you CAMP!”