Month: June 2009

Take a look at (You can also see it in french and German)

One of the reasons I like the site  is that it combines structured knowledge on migration presented in categories and tags.

I also like their use of the phrase good ideas  and the way that they have sought to have 100 of these in this field. Their good ideas index (see below for copy of this) shows that they have a real understanding of domain.

They have broken the subject into five sub domains (work, learn, live, connect, plan) and then in each of these they have half a dozen sub categories (or sub domains)  against which the number of articles is listed and you can click and look.  Or you can go in to the data by searching.  They also have a good explanation of what good practice is in the field which equates to our idea of capitalisation.

A good example describes the Generation project in Boba (Amadora) which was set up by Jorge Miranda.  When you go to the case study page there is a good account of what they have done including some results (under the title successes!).  On the right are some additional resources including the contact, the web page and then a second box on further reading (which might be titled further resources) which includes a short film, a case study on the project by the ministry (in English and located on the EUKN website).  This example begins to show us how we could work across platforms with EUKN and others but act as a central organising site that pulls the knowledge together according to the clouds.  At the bottom you can see the tags which apply to this case and by clicking visit other cases in the same tag family.  There is something strange about going to a Canadian site and finding a well organised, clear and clean description of an EU funded project!

In the E-library area you get short summaries of useful documents and links.  This is a major effort of capitalisation as you are taking knowledge from one source and adding value to it by giving it a description which allows the user to see the key documents in this sub domain.   They also have longer and more discursive articles – for example a piece by Tariq Ramadan the new Chair of Identity and Citizenship in Rotterdam.    Integration is a concept from the past. “Contribution” is the concept of the future.” – Dr. Tariq Ramadan

The learning exchange area  focuses mostly on events which are either webinars (web based lectures using a tool like webex) or face to face meetings.  About 90% are online events with a mostly North American and German focus.

I like this site because it allows the reader to make judgements about the complexity of issues and the extent of success.  It does no over simplify the message or claim to provide all of the answers. You leave the area feeling that you have had a good taste of what is possible. The site is fairly new as it is still marked Beta on the header so I am sure it will mature further.  In particular I would have thought that they could have had short introductions to the domains of their five areas in the same way as we are preparing for our clouds.  However, I like the way that they never dominate the page with too much text which we are likely to do in our intros.


Resilience in Recession

Cities all over Europe are beginning to plan how they can respond to the crisis and also use the opportunity (immortalised by Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff for President Obama, ‘you never want a good crisis to go to waste’)  because, as he argues, it is an opportunity to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do normally.

In the UK cities are facing rapidly growing unemployment which is hitting  young people especially hard.  Cities  are responding to the crisis by thinking of how they can use their available Working Neighbourhood Fund money and the new Future Jobs fund to create schemes to provide employment to this new generation.

OECD and Eurocities have already surveyed their members to find examples of emergent practice in this field.  So far it looks as though Seoul is breaking the mould by focusing 90% of its recovery package on smart green growth. Europe may be some way behind.

The key issues are going to be:

  • How to maximise the local impact of public procurement to reduce unemployment
  • How to develop sectors (such as green energy installation) that are agile and future proof
  • How to devise programmes that maximise the potential of the social economy and voluntary sector to add value and reach deep into communities
  • and how to managing all of this rapid change

BEPA social innovation meeting

EU president Jose Manuel Barroso hosted a meeting on January 27th to which Freiss were invited to speak about Social Innovation.

At the meeting Barroso promised to ‘find a home’ for social innovation in Brussels. He took away a proposal from Ana Vale of Portugal to encourage Member States to reprofile their ESF programmes to focus 3% of the vast €72 billion programmes on social innovation.

Vladimir Spidla and Danuta Hubner also supported the meeting which was convened by BEPA the Bureau of European Policy advisers. Geoff Mulgan gave a useful outline of how social innovation could serve the European project. Diogo Vasconcelos, former minister under Barroso gave the summing up.

Let us hope things move on from here to find new ways of innovating in public policy.

Click here to access the meeting’s press release.


MILE closes out

MILE, the pilot Urbact network focusing on managing migration at the local level (why wasn’t it called MILL?!) has finished its frenetic 20 months of activity with a closing meeting in Brussels on the 25th July.

Freiss worked with MILE on their first cycle reports on migrant entrepreneurship and also developed the action planning approach in collaboration with QEC ERAN.

The productivity of the network was demonstrated by the nine cities developing 25 action plans across the 3 themes – find out more here.

The meeting was followed by the second of the URBACT citylap open meetings at which MILE was joined by OECD, ECAS,  Open cities, Eurocities and QEC ERAN for a deep discussion on what cities can do at their level to improve the situation for migrants and develop more cohesive communities.

Full reports of the meeting are available on

Main Page – Wikipreneurship

Wikipreneurship is Europe’s leading site for interesting examples of practice and policy on widening entrepreneurship and supporting enterprise development in disadvantaged areas.  It includes many case studies, policy briefs and articles from the EQUAL and URBAN programmes.   You can add your own case studies or comment pieces.  

Interview with Etienne Wenger

Interview with Etienne Wenger.

Etienne Wenger is the founder of the concept of communities of practice, working as a coach with the EQUAL and ESF communities such as COPIE.

In this video, he speaks about participation in social innovation as something which should be the result of engagement rather than led by motivation.

Are we connected with people closely enough for conversation to happen?