Educore helps organizations face future challenges through user-centered innovation.

Opportunity enrichment for sustainable futures is at the core of this work.

Societal Innovation

ACSI 2014: E-18 The Northern Bridge

Kotka in Finland will host 2014’s first ACSI. An international and multi-disciplinary group will spend three days working with diverse issues around the development of the E-18 Northern Bridge from St Petersburg to Stockholm during a three-day ACSI camp in February 2014. They will develop new perspectives on how to address these issues, take away promising ideas to prototype with important stakeholders, and think about how to move from prototypes to practice. Approximately 30 participants will take part.

This edition of ACSI – the Aalto Camp for Societal Innovation – is part of a process aimed at enhancing the cooperation between three cities in Southern Finland – Helsinki, Turku, and Kotka – along the Stockholm – St. Petersburg development corridor, the “Northern Bridge”, while involving Stockholm and St Petersburg more directly in the process of thinking through opportunities for cross-border cooperation. It is coordinated by Cursor Oy, the regional development company of the Kotka-Hamina Region in Finland.

ACSI is a new generation innovation instrument co-developed by the New Club of Paris. It is a global platform for societal innovation that brings together innovators, field practitioners, researchers, entrepreneurs and students from diverse backgrounds and countries to co-create and test new perspectives and promising ideas that address societal challenges.

This Camp’s challenges are each sponsored by a different city:

  • Kotka Challenge: How can the E-18 Northern Bridge become an environment for facilitating the flow of opportunities from St Petersburg to Stockholm?”
  • Helsinki Challenge: “How can the E-18 cooperation area become the most attractive investment zone in Northern Europe?”
  • Turku Challenge: “How can we discover, define and develop new markets for maritime companies (technologies, products and services that can be used in many other markets besides the maritime industry)?”

ACSI E-18 Northern Bridge is organized by Cursor Oy in collaboration with Aalto University and the New Club of Paris. The world´s first ACSI camp was initiated by New Club of Paris and Aalto University and prototyped in Finland (2010-2012). ACSI camps have been run in Sweden (2013) and South Africa (2012-13).

Information about ACSI 2013 hosted by Malmö University is available at

Information over ACSI 2010-12 hosted by Aalto University can be found at

For more information about ACSI E-18 Northern Bridge, please contact: , Telephone: +358 40 190 2511

CoR Conference on “Innovation Union”

On 27 November 2013, the Committee of the Regions organized a conference on “Innovation Union: The contribution of the Regions and cities“. It was the final in a series of seven conferences about the Europe 2020 flagship initiatives. The aim of the conference was to bring together key representatives of EU institutions, Member States and regions to take stock of the implementation of the flagship initiative at regional level. Accompanied by an exhibition of good practice from Europe’s regions and cities, the event focused on four aspects:

  • Smart specialization strategies;
  • Innovation, enterprise and jobs;
  • Networking across borders;
  • Open Innovation 2.0.

Based on a broad concept of innovation and over 30 activities, the Innovation Union flagship initiative commits the EU to increase investment in research to 3% of GDP by 2020. Studies indicate that such investment could create 3.7 million jobs by 2025. Today, only one in ten regions in the EU spends more than 3% of their GDP on research and these 27 regions together account already for over 40% of the total investment in innovation. Most of these leading regions have considerable expertise, capacities and budgets and follow a “smart specialization” approach to integrated regional development and the management of economic change and recovery. Moreover, between 2014 and 2020 “smart specialization strategies” will be a priority for all regions under the European Structural and Investment Funds, accompanied by the new “Horizon 2020” programme and other initiatives.

As part of the Innovation Union conference, a networking lunch was organized to allow participants to meet with experts and discuss issues with each other, together with facilitators from ERRIN, ENoLL, ELIG and the European Commission. The networking lunch provided input for the afternoon’s four thematic sessions

Diverse key messages and conclusions were formulated during the various plenary and parallel sessions, as well as the networking lunch. The final proceedings can be downloaded here:summary-proceedings-innovation-union

The conclusions of the conference will feed into the Committee of the Regions’ mid-term assessment of the Europe 2020 strategy, which will be presented on the occasion of the 6th European Summit of Regions and Cities on 7 and 8 March 2014 in Athens.

More information, including background material and the conference presentations, is available at:

The conference video can be seen at:

Borders to Cross – a working conference on democratic innovation and civic driven change

Borders to Cross – a working conference on democratic innovation and civic driven change – took place in Amsterdam on 29 – 31 October 2013. See:

Borders to Cross came into being out of a cross over of disciplines and generations and has evolved into an alliance of partners from various backgrounds. It was itself an experiment in co-creation between different sectors, professional backgrounds (government, society, academia).

The initiative for a learning conference on bottom up change by citizens and the necessary shift in responsibilities between government, society and market was taken by five Dutch professionals (Rense Bos, Hank Kune, Stefanie Schuddebeurs, Jan Schrijver and Ton van der Wiel) who recognized the need to learn from international practice and between sectors about democratic innovation and civic driven change. They saw that people throughout Europe are seeking a new balance between the responsibilities of government and an active society.

Government can no longer take sole responsibility for dealing with societal problems; citizens and NGO’s can no longer simply question or complain about what their governments do or don’t do. The role of social media and social entrepreneurship, the empowerment of stakeholders and the changing set of competencies for government professionals are vital issues. The idea of an intensive learning conference where social entrepreneurs, citizens, government professionals and market parties from all over Europe would gather and discuss innovative practice of democratic and social innovation was born.

The initiative was embraced by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations under the condition that it would be organized in partnership. Support was soon gained from a diverse group of organisations, leading to partnerships in the financial and/or content-related sense with the City of Amsterdam, Network Democracy, the University of Amsterdam and the University of Leuven, G1000, European Cultural Foundation, European Alternatives, Agentschap NL, the ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport (VWS), and the ministry of Infrastructure & Environment (I&M). European Civic Forum, the European Year of the Citizen Alliance, the Erasmus Prize and Kracht in NL were also supporters of the conference.

This timely alliance was able to realize Borders to Cross in the European Year of the Citizen.

Thirteen years ago in Maastricht (October 5-7th, 2000), policy-makers, practitioners and social scientists from all over Europe came together in order to share new insights and good practices about citizen participation. The event was also called Borders to Cross. In 2013, 13 years later, it was once again time to cross borders in order to learn with and from each other – citizens, policy-makers, public sector professionals and social scientists – about how to innovate both civic society and the the public sector.