12 case study teams covering European and Mediterranean regions participated in a training workshop, which kicked off the data collection phase of the H2020 project SIMRA. The workshop, organised by WP5, took place on 10– 11 January at the EURAC Research premises located in stunning Bolzano, Italy.
An important internal milestone for SIMRA, the workshop provided sound and uniform knowledge concerning the Social Innovation conceptual framework, related terms and the quantitative-qualitative framework for data collection developed by WP4 and WP6.
Alternating between theoretical and dynamic sessions, case study teams were immersed in all aspects of the data collection strategy. By the end of the training, participants had explored the procedures behind the identification of social innovation triggers, agents, activities to reconfigure social networks, and the outputs and outcomes of these activities. In-depth sessions were dedicated to the different SIMRA data collection tools, namely: focus groups; policy documents; semi-structured and structured interviews.
Case studies in SIMRA are purposively diverse, spanning the agriculture, forestry and rural development sectors. The rural social innovations that SIMRA partners will analyse include examples of forest fire volunteer groups in Catalonia (Spain), an innovative online platform for connecting young farmers (the Vazapp project in Apulia, Italy), grassroots cooperations for human and environmental wellbeing (the Noidanlukko case in Finland), social farming and community supported agriculture. The case studies constitute fundamental pieces of the wide puzzle that SIMRA is researching to understand the roots and developments of social innovation in rural Europe and beyond. “As the traditional human towers in Catalonia rely on the team work of each member, explained Elena Gorriz to the workshop participants, similarly SIMRA’s knowledge pool is built upon the data collected by each case study working together”.
The tools developed establishes the basis for an in-depth analysis of the social innovations as both process and project, including the effects they might have on the society. Following the workshop, each case study team will proceed with collecting data that will later be analysed both at individual and cross-country scale. During the next General Assembly of the project, CS teams will have the chance to update the whole SIMRA consortium on the progress done.
Photo credits: EURAC Research and Elena Gorriz.