The problem our project solves
The idea comes from our work as social designers and innovators within public and private social services and companies. We’re based in Lombardia, sadly known as the most affected area in the world by the Covid-19 pandemic. In this period of crisis, an incredible amount of help requests is rising from citizens, companies and non-profit organizations. At the same time, a diversified set of policies, intervention, and resources is put in place to respond to such requests.
The problem is that this set of actions is fragmented and sometimes unbalanced: some needs are easily satisfied (e.g. where solidarity networks are strong), while others don’t find enough resources and interventions (e.g. in areas with low levels of coordination between actors). Furthermore, social actors (institutions, companies, NPOs, citizens) rarely act “as a team”: there are great difficulties in building common platforms and methods to ensure territorial governance for local needs and interventions.
We need to build shared objectives and strategies for social cohesion, defined by the Council of Europe as "one of the main needs of an enlarged Europe". We’ve consequently built a way to call and connect people and organizations and thus creating a community of contributors. This way we find not only resources, but also build relationships for a new movement of shared social responsibility.
The solution we bring on the table
Our solution consists in creating teams of local "cohesion makers": a network of people who dialogue and work as a team to implement EU social cohesion strategies to handle the Covid-19 crisis. The network is open to non-profit organizations, companies, institutions and individual citizens who come together in territorial teams (created by city, province or region) to discuss the primary needs of the area and build shared solutions. Each team is led by a "cohesion designer", a community management expert who coordinates the work. The scientific reference used is the "Respons.in.city" methodology of the University of Padua.
Those who want to become a cohesion maker (CM) log in cohesionmakers.eu platform, an online hub that allows them to:
- make an assessment of their knowledge and skills as CM;
- receive training material and one free hour of experts advice to increase their skills;
- join the territorial team of their province / city and interact with other members to participate in the periodic territorial tables;
- register as active contributors in responding to one or more needs of their province / city.
The solution's impact to the crisis
The impact of our solution consists in:
- increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the social and healthcare interventions put in place during the crisis;
- building a common culture of skills, knowledge and working method.
This impact leads to:
- greater synergy and effectiveness in the interventions currently in progress;
- greater readiness to identify and respond to new emerging needs;
- faster dissemination of data and experiences among subjects offering solutions to the crisis;
- amplification of corporate social responsibility strategies.
What we did during the weekend
The weekend was an incredible design accelerator. The constant discussion between us boosted a network of exchanges, proposals, insights which helped us to integrate and develop our initial idea.
We met other social innovators, in particular our mentor and those who offered us comments and appreciation for our idea.
We used the resources made available by the organizers, to address and shape our idea.
It has encouraged our organization to actively participate in the process of building opportunities to face global challenges on a larger scale.
The necessities in order to continue our project
To keep the project going we built the following action plan:
1) start and spread the Cohesion Makers project, we would dialogue with existing networks of institutions (such as ANCI), public services (Camera di Commercio), professional and category associations (e.g. Assolombarda, Confcooperative, Forum del Terzo Settore), social services consortia we already collaborate with.
2) increase the visibility of the platform, we’ll build specific communication strategies on the following needs:
- companies need for visibility about the CSR and sustainability strategy;
- non-profit organizations need for capacity building and fundraising;
- citizens need for discover services and opportunities in their local community;
3) promote collaborations with local and regional institutions to build ways of using the platform as a tool to support governance processes;
4) ensure an efficient network developing the site's iOS and Android apps and implementing new functions to facilitate the exchange.
The value of our solution after the crisis
Although this solution has been forged during this period of crisis, it will definitely be useful also in the future as the need of social communities constantly change and necessitate new answers. The creation of cohesionmakers.eu trains the cohesion makers network to use a common working method. This is helpful not only in the current crisis but also for the management of life community in general. This way of responding communities needs increase the cohesion and create “social antibodies” for future crisis. The contribution of our solution is also linked to the possibility of rigorously measuring the social impact of the solutions designed and built by the cohesion makers network. In this sense it would be possible to identify what better helps the community to improve its skills and its cohesion.