The Innovation Loop - an ecosystem for Open Social Innovation

The Innovation Loop is designed to create sustainable regional societal development. It is an open, structured, replicable platform to display “hidden” embedded knowledge and produce new knowledge and co-creative innovation that is simple to globally adapt for regions, communities and organisations.

The Innovation Loop is action oriented and citizen driven with fixed meeting-places as well as frequent temporary meetings for co-creative public/private innovation. Its objective is to identify genuine current individual and societal needs and meet them through sustainable, innovative ideas, developed from concept to prototype in a process aiming at digital services, smart products and processes that serve all of the community’s interests, private individuals, companies, organisations and the public sector.

Continuos development of the process itself is a dynamic part of the Innovation Loop’s DNA adding new partners and individuals and their experience and skills transforming and improving the methodology. Inter-regional and international collaboration is central throughout the project. Online platforms enable on-going idea and innovation activities and exchange of know-how across national and organisational borders including immigrants in our open social innovation efforts. These are some of the keys to faster, more widespread dissemination of the Innovation Loop and thus a better, more effective iterative process.

Impact and regional dimension of the initiative

The Innovation Loop has enjoyed strong political support from the outset, and the process involves dozens of new companies and organisations every year joining the co-creative innovation endeavours. In addition to this, around 500 private individuals join and get involved in the process every year.

In this way, the public-private collaboration successively gets stronger as well as the citizen influence increases with a positive attitude change! In these times when democracy is questioned by many citizens especially residents of rural areas far away from power and decision-making, the Innovation Loop is a tool that supports democratic first principles. Community challenges are lifted out of their hyperlocal context by the Innovation Loop in a process that also gathers innovative strength from the local community, and makes needs-based solutions doable and scalable, since local needs are global and shared by many communities and individuals around the world, facing the same challenges in different geographical locations.  The broad, penta-helix context that provides a constant helicopter view safeguards consensus and joint success thanks to multiperspective thinking. 

The Innovation Loop is a role model for all communities and regions that seek to work with a bottom-up approach.

The Innovation Loop puts people's varied resources and experiences to good use. The method makes sure that important perspectives, opinions, insights and ideas are integrated into feasible concepts. It drives a cycle of ideas and skills exchanges across organisational boundaries where different skills, perspectives and backgrounds can meet and enrich each other and open the door for innovative solutions based on a sustainability perspective. Existing ideas and solutions can be recycled and refined and integrated into new ones.

The Innovation Loop is digital to its core. A major part of the sustainable development we seek uses digitization as a tool. This is especially important in sparsely populated regions such as Västerbotten. Smart digital solutions and the reuse and development of existing resources and methods based on the actual needs of the general public are the cornerstone of sustainable circular societal development and sustainable solutions for social challenges.

Innovative aspects of the initiative

The Innovation Loop allows us to co-create new solutions to individual needs and societal challenges to digitally transform the society towards a sustainable future with raised quality of life. Everybody’s take on reality is considered important in a co-creative, co-design process where useful new useful perspectives can emerge.Whether or not a new perspective is a step forward can only be proven by testing it in reality. Once they have been tested, new perspectives arise which themselves become input to the next round in the Innovation Loop and so forth. Reality becomes the input in a dynamic, innovative, development-intense cyclic Living Lab.

Today it has an established infrastructure, both physical and digital. The process is under further development through constant evaluation. There is also an connected new-type conference ”Innovation Loop, Live” whose participatory methodology is used on the process itself in order to develop it, while collaboration with new regional EU partners in the OSIRIS project will enrich it further. 

See what it looks like here: