BEGIN project makes huge step forward in Social Innovation

10 May 2018 - Published by Ellen Kelder

BEGIN partners are winding down from their biannual partner meeting in Hamburg, which took place during the 25th – 26th of April. Partners marked the meeting as one of the most successful yet – as they can see true project progress and networks being strengthened. Organising partner Stefan Kraatz from Hamburg thought it was a successful meeting and that ‘’All partners can take new knowledge home. It proved to be steps forward for the next stage of BEGIN.’’

Partners had multiple workshops around social innovation and city-to-city learning. They also visited Hamburg’s pilot site, Falkengraben. In a workshop following the visit, BEGIN partners successfully developed a plan to introduce BGI as a way of solving Hamburg’s water treatment issues in the area. Initially, Hamburg seemed to be left with only one option of artificially pumping polluted runoff from the busy streets around Falkengraben. This would then require the construction of a wastewater treatment plant to treat the water away from the site. BEGIN partners were able to devise a plan to use rain gardens and certain types of vegetation that can aide in treating the water essentially at the source.

One of the two SI workshops put on by RCA Service Design and Erasmus University Rotterdam, enabled BEGIN partners to map the stakeholders around the Falkengraben. By mapping these key stakeholders, partners were able to identify which stakeholders were the most ‘needed’ and ‘willing’ to ensure that Hamburg addresses the right stakeholders. In the second workshop on branding and key messages, RCA demonstrated to partners precisely what branding can mean for partner cities by showing successful branding examples. RCA describes branding as ‘a carefully crafted strategy that brings everything together for a project’. City partners then carried out multiple exercises to develop key messages for their respective pilots. These key messages were crafted to appeal to each stakeholder group in each city’s pilot site. Partners were very pleased with this workshop for its hands-on approach and applicability to their own case. City partner Sydney Simpson from Bradford reflected, ‘’the focus on the SI and co-creation workshops was inventive and engaging.’’

City-to-city learning groups also got together to reflect on their lessons learned and what knowledge has been shared between them until this point. Within the next couple of months, the groups will meet to have workshops on living labs and further develop branding for their BEGIN projects. The meeting finished off with a visit to the HafenCity – the new urban development neighbourhood in Hamburg. Partners learned about some of the neighbourhood’s community engagement initiatives and urban regeneration


You can find material from the workshops here