What do alternative sources of energy, cooking workshops and a virtual reality device to make people feel like refugees have in common? Cultural innovation and the will to change positively the world we live in. Last month, the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona hosted a round of conferences and a prize for social innovation, gathering specialists in such topics as sustainable cultural management and climate change in a two-day row of interesting debates about the challenges of our times.

Cultural Innovation International Prize
Cultural Innovation International Prize

The pannels started with Laura Pando, an experienced cultural manager who strives to help the cultural sector to adopt more sustainable practices. In the last 10 years, Laura helped museums, music festivals and governments to opt for clean energy solutions, calculate their carbon footprint and develop leadership in the industry. «In a recent poll, we discovered that 50% of people don’t remember ever having a conversation about climate change. Art and culture have a great responsibility on promoting this debate. If we don’t talk about it, it won’t exist in people’s minds», she said.

The following conference was presented by Laura Faye Tenembaum, science senior editor for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. In a passionate talk, she engaged the audience on the idea that climate change is a «fascinating challenge». «You can’t see countries’ political divisions or boundaries from the space. We’re all facing the climate change and have to work together», she said. Laura warned that the effects of carbon pollution might be invisible on earth but are becoming more visible from space. Climate change, she says, is not a topic of the future. It’s already been happening for decades now and affecting our daily lives. «We need to transform how we live. Society is resistent to change, and has a negative feeling about it. I dare you to face the challenges as exciting”, she concluded.

Laura Faye Tenembaum
Laura Faye Tenembaum

Laura Tenembaum was also a member of the jury for the Cultural Innovation International Prize. In its second edition, the competition gathered 228 projects from 59 countries, mainly developed by young researchers, artists and entrepreneurs. The 10 finalists presented their projects in Barcelona and the winner was The Newton Machine, a battery prototype that stores renewable energy using gravity. The prize also gave an audience award to Neighbourhood Upcycling, a locally based project for plastic recycling that can be replicated to promote circular economy worldwide.

The jury gave a special mention for the project Ode for the Future, which used art, installation, and performances to show the effects of climate change in six geographic spots from Catalonia, Spain. All the projects, though, had the opportunity to be presented to a broader audience and to create an impact – the finalists received feedback from the jury, as well as ideas to put into practice.

The projects were exposed at the Centre of Contemporary Culture in Barcelona
The projects were exposed at the Centre of Contemporary Culture in Barcelona

Click here to read more about the 10 finalists and the Cultural Innovation International Prize. (in Spanish)

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

From September 22-24, the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus will be the stage for the 2016 Grand Jury to share their expertise and experience and to select this year´s Winners of the European Youth Award (EYA)

European Youth Award selects innovative projects made by young entrepreneurs
European Youth Award selects innovative projects made by young entrepreneurs

On that occasion, 20 international experts will meet in Larnaca, Cyprus, to select one to three winners in each of the eight European Youth Awards Categories, from a shortlist of 49 digital projects out of 167 submissions from students and entrepreneurs.

“This year again, the European Youth Award offers an outstanding selection of innovative digital projects using digital communication and IT to improve society and tackle pressing challenges. The passion and willingness to drive positive change of these young people is remarkable. The international experts of the Grand Jury will provide their time and expertise to select the best projects in the eight categories for #EYA16“, says Peter Bruck, founder of EYA.

A highlight of the EYA Grand Jury meeting will be the Expert Forum, held on September 23rd and open to the general public. During the Forum, the EYA Grand Jury experts will discuss current challenges for digital entrepreneurship. The Grand Jury and Expert Forum in Cyprus are hosted by the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Digital Champion of the Republic of Cyprus and the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus.

The selected one to three best digital projects per category of 2016 will be invited to the winners event, the EYA Festival, which will take place in Graz from November 30 to December 3. During the event, they will present their projects and solutions on stage and have the opportunity to gain knowledge and prime contacts through a special mentorship program lasting from September till December. The dedicated mentors are business personalities like Anna Wypior (SAP, Germany), who will coach the winning teams and provide business know-how, entrepreneurial expertise and experience.

European Youth Award is a Horyou partner with SIGEF 2016.

Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum
Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum

It´s time to innovate! Horyou, the social network for social good, is receiving project applications for the next edition of the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF), a side event during COP 22 in Marrakesh, Morocco, from November 9-11. The call for the Project Awards is addressed to students, social entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations and startups with a deadline set at September 20th.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria, which include addressing at least one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and use their best efforts to raise awareness and gain online support for their project. They also need to sign in on the Horyou Platform; registration is free of charge.

SIGEF Horyou

During the SIGEF, an international jury will select 10 finalists who will present their projects on stage to a global audience of entrepreneurs, government officials and decision-makers, as well as the media and civil society. A monetary prize paid in Spotlights, the first social global currency for economic inclusion, will be awarded to the 3 best projects, during a high profile international award ceremony. Selected participants will get free access to the event to gain international visibility and the opportunity to expand their network.

For more information about the SIGEF 2016 Call for Projects, go to this link or send an email to projects@sigef2016.com


SIGEF 2016 is the leading side event during COP 22, in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 9-11 November. SIGEF 2016 is organized by Horyou to give visibility to initiatives that contribute to advancing social innovation, global ethics, and social good worldwide, along the lines of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. One of the key components of SIGEF 2016 is the Projects Hub, an area dedicated to socially innovative and ethical projects.

Plenary sessions, workshops, panels as well as cultural activities, networking events and interviews will take place during the 3 days of the event.

Have you thought of a world where nobody would have to be concerned about paying for their basic needs? The unconditional basic income (UBI) project, which will be submitted to a vote in Switzerland next month, addresses this controversial issue that has been the “talk of the country” for quite some time. And last week, hundreds of academics, executives, trade union representatives and the general public gathered in Zurich to discuss the UBI in connection to new technologies, disruptive work and a shrinking middle class, both in the developed and developing worlds. While attending for Horyou blog, I was very interested to see how the basic income discussion would fit with the concept of Spotlight, the global social currency created by Horyou. And I discovered that there are many people studying and working hard for more income equality all over the world.

Yanis Varoufakis - Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network
Yanis Varoufakis – Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network

Named “The Future of Work”, the conference discussed alternatives for the current crisis of capitalism, marked by income stagnation, deflationary process and decreasing interest rates on a global scale. Renowned specialists such as Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek Minister of Finance, and Robert Reich, former US Labour Secretary under Bill Clinton, were among the speakers.

First to speak was Robert Johnson, executive director of the Institute of New Economic Thinking, for whom the root cause of our society’s challenges is a mix of political pessimism, technological disruption and a political system whereby economic growth is powered and consumed by the wealthy few. “We are living under fear of social unrest caused by the increasingly precarious conditions for workers”, he said.

Robert Johnson - Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network
Robert Johnson – Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network

One of the signs of this precarity is the rise of sharing economy platforms like Uber and their impact on working conditions. A panel called Disruptive Work presented cases of companies like Uber and Zipcar, whereby members are proposed flexible conditions while not enjoying the same rights and income they would be in a “traditional” industry. “My father had one job in his life, I had six in mine, and my daughter will have six simultaneously”, said Robin Chase, co-founder of the car sharing platform Zipcar. She is optimistic about the new working model – according to her, 85% of people are not happy with their current jobs and the so-called “peer inc” companies can tap exponential learning and lead people to interesting jobs instead of automated ones.

A system where a basic income would guarantee people’s survival would give everyone freedom to chose a meaningful job without having to work hard to make ends meet. For the critics of the project, it would lead to a situation where many people would be discouraged to work at all. Some experiments made in Africa, India and Germany, however, show the opposite. Michael Faye, co-founder of the non profit GiveDirectly, shared his experience with cash transfers in extreme poor villages in Africa. “The only social group who stopped working were children”, he said. “There is no evidence that they become lazy and spend the money on drugs and alcohol. In fact, people go back to school and start working for the community”. The same phenomenon happened with the Mein Grundeinkommen experiment in Germany – from the 36 people who benefitted from a cash transfer which guaranteed their survival, only one spent it on luxuries. “Most people changed jobs and started spending more time with their children”, says the executive Amira Yahia.

Robert Reich, who worked as a US Labour Secretary and now is a professor at UCLA, is one of the biggest supporters of the project. “Even the Silicon Valley is starting to be interested in the basic income project. Companies are concerned about people not being able to afford the products that they manufacture, as the middle class is shrinking”, he said. In his opinion, a basic income would create an aggregated demand that would address such issues as inequality and social insecurity. “The central question is not economic but ethical. Who is the government working for, and who has the influence and power? How do we use the abundance and distribute the gains produced by society?”, he asked. Reich is not convinced about the effectiveness of a basic income, but believes it is “inevitable” to create a system which promotes the circulation of income.

Robert Reich - Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network
Robert Reich – Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network

The closing speech was Yanis Varoufakis’. Famous for his controversial statements about capitalism and the financial system, he stated that the social democracy tradition is dead and that capitalism has been agonizing since 2008. “The new system transfers the value of production towards the financial sector that remains insolvent. This created a deflationary process and today, half the global economy is on negative interest rates”. Varoufakis went on to explain that the working class can no longer ensure itself through social insurance, as youngsters find it very difficult to find full time jobs, and wages are stagnating. “This is aggravated by the fact that low wage routine jobs would be rapidly replaced by artificial intelligence”.

The basic income, according to him, is a necessary tool to stabilize society. “The struggle is ethical as we need to overturn the dominant paradigm of capitalism. The basic income is a dividend for the collective production market, it is about giving money to the underserving, to the rich, the surfers, people who are collectively producing wealth”, he advocated. At the same time, a redistribution of wealth would benefit central banks as well by working as a counter deflationary tool, and promote the creation of value at work, as people would have the right to turn down a job they don’t feel connected to. “We need to create a system which aggregates capital and creates a stream for everyone. It’s a trust fund for all our children”, he concluded.

Written by Vivian Soares

Special thanks to Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute and Neopolis Network for all the support and pictures.

World Government Summit in Dubai
World Government Summit in Dubai

From the 8th to the 10th of February, leaders from Government, industry and social enterprise gathered together in the gulf of Dubai. It was an interesting setting from more than one aspect.

The city was not so long ago a baron desert, it has literally been built from dreams of what could be and is now home to hundreds of industries and some of the most spectacular feats of engineering and architecture on the planet. One couldn’t think of a more suitable backdrop, considering the agenda of what was to be discussed at the World Government Summit.

It began with a very matter-of-fact address from CEO of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab who, referring to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, stated that “the future is here” and that it is time to mobilize and capture the opportunity that it brings.

The Forth Industrial Revolution covers a multitude of different paradigms, but the narrative of this event was one based firmly on Horyou values: sustainable business.

We have been part of a world up to now that has revolved around the principles of a money making market system whereby lives are sustained on the basis of trade, whether you are trading beans as a farmer in remote Africa or multi-millions in a global hedge fund.

Klaus Schwab, Director of World Economic Forum addressing the audience

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, principles have changed, from global industry down to citizen level.

We are now slowly adapting a more conscious way of living across the board. We are conscious of our impact on the environment, conscious that our patterns of consumption are keeping laborers working like machines and conscious that the payoffs that we deem important are driving policy decisions that feed inequality.

The need to address this balance of cause and effect regarding capitalism was highlighted. Former Prime Minister of France Dominique De Villepin stated that “We need to remember that business exists to enhance society, not create a division among have and have nots”. Alluded to his time in Government where he created a network in France to connect businesses with students and policy makers, he made his position clear on the importance of people connecting for social good.

This was echoed by World Bank president Jim Yong Kim who affirmed that “we all have a stake and the creativity and innovation of youth are our greatest strength.”

Cathy Kalvin, President of the UN Foundation

Then came a passionate speech by President and CEO of the UN Foundation Cathy Kalvin. The UN Foundation and Horyou are aligned on development goals and how to get there. They also share a special connection after spending two days contributing to discussions at Earth to Paris in December. Cathy made a plea for us to harness the potential of a purpose driven society serving the citizens of tomorrow. “We must place a special emphasis on youth. Moving from poverty to prosperity depends on us realizing what they have to offer,” she declared.

It was a stage where we realised the negative impact of our past behaviours, but also a place where real opportunities were highlighted.

Overall, the ethos and real need for Horyou as a platform for social good was reinforced. The success of the Sustainable Development Goals is multifaceted but connecting good hearts and minds is the starting point.

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

logo_SIGEF_Colors_5 copy

Le SIGEF 2014 a réuni 1800 participants, dont 50 organisations et associations à but non lucratif, autour de 30 intervenants internationaux dans six sessions plénières, 8 ateliers thématiques et 6 panels qui ont été autant d’occasions de riches échanges autour d’idées, projets et actions d’innovation sociale émanant de personnes venues de tous les coins du monde. A leur tour, ces échanges ont ouvert la voie à des collaborations transfrontières et des partenariats multiformes. Enfin, deux prix ont été décernés à deux projets proposant des solutions pertinentes à des défis cruciaux.


Mehdi Hadj-Abed, qui a remporté le prix du Meilleur projet avec sa création “Eaunergie”, un dispositif d’utilisation très simple, écologique et très peu coûteux qui permet d’assainir l’eau, d’où qu’elle provienne, évoque avec une joie non feinte la façon dont le SIGEF a changé sa vie : “ Ma participation au SIGEF et le prix que j’y ai gagné, explique-t-il, m’ont fait poussé des ailes et maintenant je m’envole! En ce moment, je suis en discussion avec le Conseil général de la région Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur en qualité d’expert en matière d’assainissement de l’eau. Et je suis, par ailleurs, en discussion avec une grande entreprise pour la distribution de mon dispositif dans les territoires d’Outremer. J’ai conscience que je dois toutes ces belles choses qui m’arrivent à mon expérience au SIGEF qui a reconnu le potentiel de mon projet.”


Hector Alvarez, de son côté, a gagné le prix du public pour son projet Beyond Beanie, une marque vestimentaire dont les profits vont directement à des femmes artisans en Bolivie. De son point de vue, le “SIGEF est un moteur parfait pour promouvoir et développer plein de projets sociaux, ou tout simplement les faire découvrir. Je conseillerai à toutes les personnes intéressées par l’action solidaire à travers le monde de découvrir la plateforme Horyou et de participer aux prochains SIGEF.”

Ces success stories, pour partie, sont la raison pour laquelle nous sommes heureux de récidiver cette année avec le SIGEF 2015 – dont le thème est : Construire de meilleures perspectives d’avenir -, et d’y accueillir encore plus de porteurs de projets. Cette nouvelle édition aura lieu du 23 au 25 octobre 2015, au Bâtiment des forces motrices, à Genève, en Suisse. L’appel à projets a été lancé en juillet 2015, aussi vous demandons-nous de vous hâter de nous soumettre vos projets innovants en les postant sur la plateforme Horyou.

Tous les projets seront examinés et ceux qui seront sélectionnés pourront être présentés par leurs porteurs au “Project Hub”, pendant la conférence. Il s’agit d’un espace dédié à l’exposition de projets socialement innovants et éthiques qui méritent d’être connus et promus.

Qu’est ce qu’un projet socialement innovant et éthique? C’est un projet qui répond à quatre critères spécifiques :

• Il doit être original et exemplaire d’une manipulation simple, nécessitant peu d’entretien et avec un faible coût initial, offrant une solution non industrielle à un problème crucial et récurrent (e.g. dispositif portable d’assainissement de l’eau ou de recyclage des restes de nourriture, équipement de premier secours multifonction et facile à transporter et utiliser, ou encore dispositif numérique de traduction multi-langues instantanée, etc.).
• Il doit être pertinent, i.e. vraiment utile là où d’autres solutions sont plus coûteuses ou plus contraignantes ou qu’elles ont tout simplement échoué.
• Le projet doit répondre à des paramètres écologiques et de développement durable clairs.
• Il doit être guidé par l’idée de proposer une solution et non par l’appât du profit.

Sur Horyou, nous croyons que vos projets et actions sont sources d’inspiration ; c’est pourquoi ils doivent être mis en lumière et soutenus.

Le monde a besoin de solutions socialement innovantes en phase avec l’éthique globale et ce qu’elle implique ; des solutions qui supposent une réflexion théorique et des idées mais qui se concrétisent dans des propositions pratiques et utiles, dans le cadre de stratégies et de méthodes qui répondent efficacement et durablement au besoin de solutions appropriées.

Dans cette perspective, le SIGEF 2015 se présente comme la plateforme idéale pour optimiser la coordination et le réseautage des stratégies et actions de toutes les parties prenantes, et promouvoir des partenariats public/privé afin de faciliter la mise en place de solutions durables et aider à identifier et proposer des moyens concrets destinés à faciliter et appuyer les opportunités d’investissement dans tous les domaines. Il ambitionne également d’aider à développer des méthodologies et critères communs d’évaluation du rendement social des solutions d’innovation sociale et d’éthique globale proposées.

Vous bénéficiez de trois dates butoir pour soumettre vos projets :

• Première date: 15 août
• Seconde date: 15 septembre
• Dernière date: 30 septembre

La cérémonie de remise de prix se fera le 25 octobre. Trois projets y recevront :

Un Prix du Jury : 5 000 CHF Un Second prix : 2 000 CHF Un Troisième prix : 1 000 CHF


Pour participer et soumettre votre projet, il faut vous inscrire sur la plateforme Horyou en tant que membre ; une fois fait, il ne vous reste plus qu’à poster votre projet dans l’onglet “Projets”.

Pour plus d’informations et contact, cliquez ici.

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