A large number of projects seeking innovative solutions to social challenges find their natural habitat on the Internet. The British organisation Nesta, at the start of the Digital Social Innovation project, reviews the ten most important projects and the innovators behind them. The selection includes projects close to us, such as Goteo, Guifi and Smart Citizen.
While most organisations involved in social innovation projects use digital tools in their daily tasks, Digital Social innovation projects are built up from grassroots communities, use digital tools to achieve positive social impact and create a multiplier effect through network collaboration.
The Digital Social Innovation project is dedicated to mapping initiatives of this kind and strengthening connections between organisations and groups that use digital tools as a cornerstone for developing projects in the social innovation field in Europe. As a result of this work, Nesta organisation members Jon Kingsbury and Peter Baeck recently published an article in the British newspaper The Guardian in which they reviewed the key characters in digital social innovation. The list included initiatives close to us, such as Goteo.org, Smart Citizen and Guifi.net, as well as other outstanding projects like Arduino, Ushahidi or Fairphone.
In 2012, Olivier Schulbaum, Enric Senabre and Susana Noguero founded Goteo.org, a crowdfunding platform that stood out from other existing ones in that it was intended to help finance and support independent creative and innovative initiatives that contribute to the common good, through a philosophy that encourages knowledge transfer, free and open licences, making development and contents transferable and reusable.
The Smart Citizen project of Tomás Díez, aimed at measuring air quality, temperature and noise and humidity levels in real time, thanks to an open hardware Arduino-based kit, emerged precisely as a result of a micro-financing campaign through Goteo.org. Via the platform, anyone who owns a kit can share and visualise their data with other users.
Guifi.net was the response by Ramón Roca to the disinterest of telephone operators to provide broadband access to the rural populations of Catalonia over ten years ago. By using small radio transmitters that function like wireless routers to become a node in this free, open “mesh network”, the connection is shared wirelessly with all others in its vicinity, who again share the connection wirelessly with those closest to them. With its more than 23,000 nodes, Guifi has been described as the largest mesh network in the world.