TELECENTRES AND SOCIAL INNOVATION: Employability and Innovation
Historically, telecentre networks were created in Europe with the objective of overcoming the digital literacy divide, as it was considered that a low level of digital skills was very likely to have a negative impact on people´s quality of life as well as future prospects.
Since then, the activity of telecentres in Spain, in particular, of those in the Guadalinfo network, in Andalucía, ( HTTP://www.guadalinfo.es ) has been re-orientated towards the development of people´s ideas. Telecentres are no longer training spaces for digital skills. Now, Guadalinfo telecentres are places where citizens go in order to connect with other people, resources and technology and to develop their idea creating social, cultural or economic value for the community.
We truly believe that, utilising technology as a catalyst, the real potential of telecentres is to be the instrument to evolve people´s ideas, ideas born from the local communities where people have the knowledge of their environment uniqueness and therefore, the knowledge of where the real opportunities for success reside.
We are already seeing some clear examples of success: In some, children are being trained on creating digital games in a friendly manner, not only encouraging their creativity but also, planting a seed for their future professional development. In others, people are discovering how to enhance their activity as craftmen projecting it through different ways of using Internet and social networks.
This change in direction has involved a change of the role of the telecentre manager. He is no longer a technical teacher. He has turned into a coach, a connector with local resources and people, a motivating agent that empowers people. In short, these professionals are turning into specialist agents on change management of their local environment promoting people personal development and empowerment. They don´t lead the ideas. Instead they empower people to lead and develop theirs based on their personal passion.
There are a number of key tools that we are implementing in order to speed up this process: Creativity and techniques to develop people ideas is proved to be key resources. Using these techniques, telecentre agents help others thing out of the box and innovate with new concepts of how to resolve local issues or take advantage of detected opportunities. Communication, and in particular web presence of projects and businesses are also instrumental in achieving best performance. Our network is already specialized in web presence and social media. Financing projects is also key. In this aspect, telecentre networks are key connectors to other financing resources as well as promoting agents of new financing models such as crowd-funding or crowd-sourcing. All of this needs to be supported by technology, where the network is also a specialist
Social innovation projects are geared to employability and social entrepreneurship. Many of them are already generating an employment impact we are measuring today.
And this is not only a theory. Our results vouch for us. To date, we count with nearly 1000 projects throughout the whole of Andalucia. These projects are evolving and connected with 6822 local entities, which encompass local businesses, local associations and public administrations. Guadalinfo users have turned their ideas into over 1000 innovative projects These projects involve: Over 1276 businesses, 2296 public organisations, 3091 local associations, and 63% of Andalucian villages are involved in these projects
Innovation Social Activities
Specific examples can be found at: http://comunidadinnycia.guadalinfo.es
• Inn&Cia event: the main objective of this event was to stimulate social innovation and to foster bottom-up innovation. The first event was organised in Seville on November 2011 and was very successful. The event is a new way to generate value thanks to the creativity and innovation of people in order to detect their needs. One of the objective of this event has been to expose some of the projects proposed by the users of the rural labs and try to establish a connection between these ideas and public and private investors (for example Banks ). This event has been reproduced in other cities and has been converted in a meeting point between innovative and creative people and possible sponsor and investors. During the event screening methodology was used.
• EAG project: Electronic Administration is a project conceived and promoted by rural innovatión of Seville. Users of the centres uncovered the importance of enjoying and benefiting electronic services using their electronic ID. The centres displayed one-stop service through the CFR website to facilitate the administrative issues to the citizens. This action has known a great success and has been reproduced in several other regions of Andalusia, offering to the user time-saving and commodities.
• Alcaldías 2.0 (Mayoralty 2.0): is a specific event for Mayors to sensitize them on users´ needs in term of electronic administration. The objective is to show positives cases of eAdministration and best practices conducted in other regions and other countries. The important message of this event is that Public Administration should take into account the opinion and proposals of the citizens. These events are aligned with the EAG project and similar others conducted in others regions of Andalusia
Here we can find some of them:
• Oxygenate project: this project is an initiative of one of the rural labs of the Huelva region and the main scope of the project was to organise a specific campaign on environment and recycling in order to generate interest in the different Andalusia regions for green spaces. People have learned the importance of protecting nature and thanks to the large and great visibility given to the project; the initiative has raised interest from local companies. Companies have realized the importance of these topics and have started developing specific products in response to the needs detected by the project.
• Barrier free: is a project promoted directly by users. This is a web tool project that aims to build a universal accessibility map. The objective is that citizens, through their mobiles or logging them in the website of the project, point out the places that are not accessible (parking, building, sidewalk, etc.).