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The Open Social Innovation Process

In this video Amelie takes a closer look at the Open Social Innovation process.

In this step we are taking a closer look at the Open Social Innovation process as outlined in the Paper by Mair and Gegenhuber (2021).

As a process, open social innovation can be described in terms of four phases. A closer look at these phases helps us to better understand the process and to understand the pathway from challenges to effective approaches to solutions.

The video takes a deep dive into each stage by providing examples from #wirvsvirus and the Farm-Food-Climate Challenge, two innovation programmes initiated by the German non-profit organization ProjectTogether.


This phase is primarily concerned with identifying challenges and developing new ideas or identifying existing approaches to solutions. An important task of mobilization is to encourage broad and diverse sections of society to participate in the Open Social Innovation process. A public call in which organizers set out their requirements as clearly as possible helps potential participants to make an informed decision about participating in the innovation process.


In this phase, ideas, existing solutions and challenges are brought together. This requires a (virtual) space that offers participants an opportunity for exchange and further collaboration. Experimentation can start with the problem specified in the call to action and innovators assembling around the problem. It can also start with an existing solution or prototype for which innovators can then find support and partners.


In this phase, it becomes apparent which solution approaches will be taken further in the implementation program. The goal is an active community and a lively exchange between its members. This phase requires diligence, as it significantly reduces not only the number of ideas but also the number of participants in the process.


In this phase, the solution approaches are supported in further developing their impact potential. As the implementation and scaling of new ideas is resource-intensive, initiatives are supported to develop their impact in the scaling phase. Innovators need to make important decisions on the scaling pathway: Which legal form should they choose for their initiative? Should they scale through government or business? Will they hand over the solution or develop it further in a proprietary way?

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Openness in Science and Innovation

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