During my bachelor, I got involved in several student organizations and co-funded one myself, together with 5 other colleagues. I was fascinated by the power of youth collaboration and its outcomes. I later heard of Incubator 107, the place where “anyone can learn from anyone anything”. What a wonderful idea! And why aren’t there more?! Moving to Sweden, I soon came to realize they are indeed more. I lived for one year in Malmö, southern Sweden. I discovered there STPLN, ¨probably the coolest culture and innovation house there is¨, host to HUBn (a free work space for innovative and experimental projects), Factory (an open do-it-yourself workshop) the Bike Kitchen and many more. But there’s also Garaget, “the extra living room” and Underverket (Swedish for “the miracle”), one of Malmö’s innovative social venue hidden underground. These are the ones I discovered and interacted with but I’m sure that there are many more, only in Malmö, Sweden. My mind filled with questions: what are they? what do they do? how do they do it? who’s allowed there? and many more.
Together with Yatin Sethi who shared my wonder towards these spaces, I started researching how they organize themselves, how people interact there and how do the spaces strive. I learned about hubs, labs, factories, incubators and many more but I also learned they are different in different ways but they hold to some similarities that bound them together. We discussed these features and characteristics, as the lines between the spaces were thin and we wanted to address not only hub or labs but all spaces which aid social innovation. We eventually called them spaces for social innovation, with the promise that we will come back to it, ground it and describe it, from purpose to characteristics and examples, free to be used by future researchers but also by the spaces themselves, press or anyone interested in this subject. I slowly drifted aside from my promise after I graduated my masters, but I became interested in opening myself such a space: The Mingle Inn. I was trying to define my idea when I came by my previous work and realized I do not only want a general category to put it under, but I want to understand what its characteristics mean,how will they affect it, what work they imply, what is the best combination for my purposes and so on. I learned that I am no more satisfied by saying that these are spaces for social innovation, but I also want to know all the implications behind it.
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