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How can a Summer School model contribute to improving the relationship between social innovation and the public sector?

This is a collection of interviews with key participants from the SIC Summer School in San Sebastían. The focus of the Summer School was social innovation in the public sector. Participants who were interviewed represented a number of different sectors, from local government, to makerspaces, to intermediary, to civil society organisations. Translations from Spanish to English were done by the author. For event highlights, and more Summer School content, please click here

Speakers/participants interviewed

  • Jake Morgan-Stead- Head of Community outreach at Apolitical, UK

  • Nicolás Monge- Coordinator of the Social Innovation Unit at Corfo, Chile

  • Vasyl Zadovny-  CEO of Prozorro, Ukraine

  • Asier Gallastegi- Consultant, coach, BHerria, Basque Country

  • Diana Franco- Hirikilabs, Basque Country

  • Ainara Arostegi- Basque Government Department of Employment and Social Politics, Basque Country


How can a model like the current summer school in San Sebastián contribute to improving the relationship between social innovation and the public sector?

Jake Morgan-Stead: The Summer School model is a very interesting one, and the key value for me is that it is an opportunity for everyone who’s here to step out of the day to day work that they are doing, and to meet with other people from a much broader range of roles, than they might typically engage with. So for instance, today, we’ve got people from academia, people from business, public servants, people such as myself who are playing more of this networking role, and think that’s what is very exciting. Hopefully the Summer School gives an opportunity for us to build some collaborations which we can take outside of the ‘classroom’ of the Summer School, and onwards into our work more generally.


Nicolás Monge: It’s hugely important to foster the concept of public sector social innovation and to gather stakeholders. It is an opportunity to convene the public sector, universities, students. Students are very important participants because usually it is young people who are leading social innovation projects.


Vasyl Zadovny: I have come to see, over the last few years, is that there is a global idea to build an exchange of experience. From my perspective, the main goal is to share ideas and approaches all over the globe, trying to find new ways of how certain challenges can be approached. These types of events really help to bring together different people with different perspectives, which helps you look at challenges from a different angle.


Asier Gallastegi: For someone like me, who largely work on a daily basis in my local area and community, with grassroots initiatives, the great thing about an event like this, is that it connects you to a wider international network of individuals, it provides you with a global way of looking at things. It’s be great to absorb as much as possible whilst being here; to be able to see the possibility for collaboration between projects that are located in different places. This for me is a huge value of the Summer School model.


Diana Franco: Here in this space, we are joining together people from the public sector and people from the social sector. Of course it is an opportunity for people in this field of work to develop new ideas and collaborate. I think these types of encounters are very important, as they often lead to future working relationships and action. For all the participants here, we have been developing a shared understanding of what social innovation can look like in the context of the public sector.


Ainara Arostegi: I think first of all that the Summer School model helps us to locate ourselves and our work, in relation to other work that is going on around us. This helps to confirm to yourself that you are not isolated in your work, but that you are part of something wider, a global movement. The model offers a chance to listen and to learn about other initiatives that taking place across a number of different sectors.