Friday, December 9, 2005

Social innovation - a strong message from GEOSS

It was a cold and foggy night…So, driving was not the best thing to do ... Yet, something was pulling me to this meeting at the central point of Slovenia (Vače, GEOSS)… My 45 min drive was soon blessed with a spectacular view over the valleys on both sides of the hill... covered with milky mist... yet, at the top a clear blue sky and the smell of countryside coziness made the trip worth while. There was not an usual business crowd... they were mayors and other officials from the Counties of the central part of Slovenia... I wondered about the message I was about to get from them what could I pass on to them... it was cool.. their conversation was all about social innovation... they were trying to find new ways for self organization in order to stimulate a faster growth of their counties, to be more competitive for different forms of structural funding, and mostly, to be able to support the development of local business... it was an interesting message that they raised: foreign investors are not really the best choice, they are not willing to reinvest back in social environment (they do not sponsor local sport and cultural activities)... foreign owners do not pay attention to the social capital and local »ways of doing« business that is closely connected to the overall development of the society... they realized that only networking and close cooperation on different projects could facilitate new forms of internal development, help building a stronger base... Saša, you have started a really great process... keep going and feed tem with content driven projects based on networking and close cooperation ... you have a chance to build a firm social capital of the »central Slovenian region« and develop an innovative social model for sustainable development of local communities...

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