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30 ideas to reboot equality in Europe

7th June 2017

Pippa Smith, Assistant Programme Manager at Nesta's Challenge Prize Centre, writes about the 30 semi-finalists who have been shortlisted as part of the European Social Innovation Competition. All of them have ideas to spread the benefits of technological change in Europe. 

In response to digitalisation’s transformative effect on the labour market, the 2017 Competition aims to ‘reboot’ equality and shape future society by inspiring fresh approaches to digital inclusion, collaborative economy, connectivity and skills development.

The 30 selected projects have been chosen from almost 800 entries by our judging panel. They come from all corners of Europe and Horizon 2020 participant countries, with 15 different nations represented including Greece, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey.

What are the themes?

There are a number of notable themes amongst this year’s semi-finalists. Many projects make use of technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence to spread the benefits of technological change, including applying them in different economic sectors.

Another trend is a number of ideas making digital technology accessible to people with disabilities, through apps, user-centred testing and the addition of physical interfaces to common hardware. Other semi-finalists use technology to facilitate access to the labour market for disabled people.

The Competition sought collaborative solutions to address inequality. Successful entries included platforms for resource sharing as well as collaborative approaches to rebalancing the economy between small businesses and large multinationals.

Other ideas are focussed on skills development, using offline and online methods to prepare young people and adults alike for the changing digital economy through education, training and coaching.

Full profiles of the 30 semi-finalists are available on the Competition’s website and are summarised below.

European Social Innovation Competition Semi-Finalists

“Aj Ty v IT” Women Tester Academy - Slovakia

Education in IT testing to women on maternity leave, female students from non-technical universities and young women wanting to change their professional path.  

Basic Income Currency - Bulgaria

A social financial system where inflation is transformed into basic income using Blockchain.

Blockchain for Good - Turkey

Building distributed and secure database with Blockchain for charity organisations to work in cooperation by sharing humanitarian aid information.

Buildx - UK

Buildx aims to democratise housing production; using digital design and distributed production to make it simple for individuals, communities and local businesses to design and build affordable housing.

Change Dyslexia - Spain

Using scientifically based technology (games and artificial intelligence) to screen and support dyslexia at large scale in sustainable way.

Crowdpact - Spain

A platform for grassroots crowdaction to enable platform cooperatives to enter markets previously cornered by multinational digital platforms.

Cultivate AI - Turkey

Using data analytics for efficient agricultural planning determining the best type of crop with past soil productivity and weather data.

Digital Job Board - Portugal

Digital Job Board places digital interactive job boards in supermarkets giving those without digital access greater job opportunities.  

Digital Skills to Age Well - Ireland

AgeWell is training and employing active older people in a proprietary health screening technology that then supports older peers to remain in their own homes.

Feelif - Slovenia

Feelif is a multimedia tool for blind and visually impaired people which enables them to feel shapes on a standard touchscreen.

Hackability - Italy

Hackability is a new way to co design and create products for people with disabilities.

Humanizing Future Intelligence - Netherlands

Coaching that helps people and organisations learn how to relate to artificial intelligence (AI) to achieve their goals.  

I am in Bed and I Work - Poland

We are the first marketing agency created with the aim to give jobs to paralysed people.  

Inclusight - UK

Inclusight is an online platform that helps build more accessible websites and mobile apps by getting feedback from real users with disabilities.

Mirrorable - Italy

Mirrorable is an interactive platform that enables a unique at home rehab therapy, simply learning while observing.

MODI - The Museum of Diversity and Inclusion - Germany

MODI provides experience-based learning through encounters with people who have to deal with stigma and exclusion.

Mouse4all - Spain

Mouse4all empowers people with motor disabilities by allowing them to use all the apps in their Android device without touching the screen.

Open BioMedical Initiative - Italy

Online collaboration for the development and distribution of health and accessibility aids: low-cost, 3D printable and open source.

Parkingspace Invaders - Hungary

An app to track the real-time availability of special needs parking places.  

Power of Language - Germany

An online tool that enables people with disabilities to successfully participate in the digital economy.  

Reconnect - The Cloud for the Homeless - France

An innovative tool to store homeless people’s personal information online, facilitating access to their rights.

Scribeasy - UK

A cloud based, co-creation teaching and learning solution that inspires children to become brilliant as creative thinkers and proficient as writers.

SEED - The Peer-to- Peer Learning Platform - Netherlands

SEED is a platform that reflects and compensates the true value of knowledge and skills exchanged between educators and learners.  

Síbox - Spain

Sibox is a multisector platform that boosts relations between customers and SMEs in order to balance the market shares.  

Signly - UK

Signly is an app which uses augmented reality to display pre-recorded sign language videos, enabling access to written content for deaf users.

Solomon - Greece

Solomon makes social inclusion happen through media and communication content production.

The Art of Sharing - Netherlands

A curriculum for the Art of Sharing in primary schools; combining theory and practice for children to familiarize with sharing economy platforms, and its possibilities.

The Rural Plaza - Spain

A digital solution to revitalise rural services enabling delocalised rural holdings and operations.

Wayfindr - UK

Wayfindr will enable visually impaired people across the world to navigate independently using audio instructions from their smart phones.

Worker-owned Apps - UK

A worker-owned platform app in UK cities with and for cleaners.

What’s next for the semi-finalists?

These 30 semi-finalists will attend a social innovation mentoring Academy in Madrid in July, where they will receive coaching to progress their ideas. Following the Academy, they will submit a detailed plan of their idea. From these plans, 10 finalists will be selected. Three winners will then be awarded a prize of €50,000 at the Awards Ceremony in Brussels in October 2017. To follow the progress of the Competition and receive the latest updates follow us on Twitter: @EUSocialInnov.

The European Social Innovation Competition, launched in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos, is a challenge prize run by the European Commission across all European countries, now in its fifth year. The competition is delivered by a consortium of partners including Nesta, Shipyard, Impact Hub, Kennisland and Matter&Co.

This blog was originally posted on the European Social Innovation Competition's website.

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