Local development and transnational exchange: Representatives from Stockholm, Vienna and Berlin came together in the Swedish Embassy in Berlin on June 10th in order to discuss how social innovation and the integration of disadvantaged groups can be achieved on the local level – and promoted through the exchange of experience with other metropolitan areas.
On Tuesday, June 10th 2014, we gathered in the Nordic Embassies in Berlin to examine together with over 50 guests from Stockholm, Berlin and Vienna how social innovation can be created and promoted in metropolitan areas. Our event was opened by the Swedish ambassador, His Excellency Staffan Carlsson, and Boris Velter, State Secretary for Labour at the Berlin Senate Department for Labour, Integration and Women’s Affairs. After this welcome, our keynote speakers Peter Ramsden, Thematic Pole Manager Economic Development at URBACT and Managing Director of Freiss Ltd. and Aurelio Fernández-López, Policy Officer at the European Commission, DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Unit Social Policies Innovation and Governance provided some expert input for the subsequent discussion rounds and panel discussion.
Youth and long term unemployment, social inclusion, skills shortage, demographic change, migration and immigration: Europe today is facing societal challenges demanding new solutions and ways of cooperating. Innovation often happens when different ideas and perspectives come together. This is what we wanted to achieve with our transnational conference inviting projects, organisations and institutions from Stockholm, Vienna and Berlin which have tried something new, to present their work.
After these insights into the practice of the three regions, we discussed the creation and possibilities of supporting and scaling up innovative approaches in different discussion rounds.
The different projects from the field of (labour market) integration explained how – on a local grass root level – innovative approaches can be developed, implemented and scaled up in cooperations and networks. With our transnational exchange we aimed at spreading this good practice to other regions. For, as Boris Velter said in his welcoming speech: Big cities are always both: connected metropolises and a network of local communities.
We are grateful for the many inputs and food for thought that developed out of the exchange among the three regions but also the different actors from civil society, companies and administrations and hope that this exchange will continue in the future!
More information on and the results of the event will be summarized in a conference documentation shortly to be published here.