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Una red global para la innovación a través del aprendizaje y la colaboración, los Fab Labs son espacios de pura creatividad y tecnología. Ahí, uno puede fabricar casi cualquier cosa y generar impactos positivos ambientales, sociales o incluso ayudar a crear nuevas formas de pensar en nuestro mundo. Visitamos Fab Lab Barcelona, el primero de la Unión Europea, y entrevistamos a uno de sus creadores.

Working space Fab LAB Barcelona

Caminando entre mesas de trabajo, talleres de carpintería e impresoras 3D, tuve la impresión de estar en un hueco entre el pasado, un tiempo en que producíamos con nuestras manos todo lo que necesitábamos, y el futuro, el tiempo en que llegaríamos a transformar nuestros sueños e ideas en realidad palpable. En el Fab Lab Barcelona el idioma común es la curiosidad y la voluntad de repensar el mundo en que vivimos. En uno de los hubs disruptivos más importantes de Europa, el distrito de innovación de Poblenou, conversé con Tomas Diez, el director de Fab City Research Lab y uno de los creadores de Fab Lab Barcelona.

Cuál es la historia del Fab Lab?

El primer Fab Lab del mundo aparece el Boston en 2002, como resultado de cooperación entre MIT and National Science Foundation, y a partir de diferentes coincidencias se ha convertido en una red global. El Fab Lab Barcelona es el primero de la Unión Europea, abrimos en Marzo del 2017. Cuándo abrimos, habían diez Fab Labs en el mundo, hoy hay 1200.

Los Fab Labs son una franquicia?

No, es una red que se identifica con una serie de valores comunes, luego tiene cierto nivel de curadoría de lo que son los espacios, sobretodo en el tipo de tecnología que hay en ellos a través de un inventario común. En esta red hay también eventos comunes, cada año nos reunimos en una ciudad del mundo para hacer una conferencia mundial de Fab Labs, y luego una serie de proyectos para que los Fab Labs empiecen a tener impacto mucho más allá de lo que está relacionado con su existencia. Por lo tanto, los Fab Labs son espacios de aprendizaje y de producción cultural más que de producción fisica. Y ahora los veo como espacios que empiezan a crear proyectos que tienen la misión de generar cambios.

Puedes dar un ejemplo del tema de cambio de impacto social o ambiental?

Para mi la misión fundamental del Fab Lab es cambiar primero como funciona nuestro sistema productivo, como lo convertimos de un sistema extractivo a un sistema regenerativo a través de la economía circular o espiral, y por otro lado generar otro tipo de impacto social que vaya más allá de simplemente impacto económico puro y duro del PIB, que no sea un impacto de caridad sino que vaya dirigido al empoderamiento. Y eso a través del conocimiento, de la alfabetización digital, que ya no incluya solamente un ordenador, un móvil, una plataforma digital, sino también herramientas de fabricación digital para solucionar problemas y necesidades locales. En la trayectoria de una persona en un Fab Lab vemos que este nivel de empoderamiento ya empieza a cambiar el chip de las personas de esta idea de ‘aprender algo para que alguién me emplee’, a tener un trabajo para ser parte de las cosas como son, para empezar a crear el mundo que uno quiere. Es por eso que han salido de aqui estudiantes de todas partes del mundo que empiezan otros Fab Labs, porque creen poder generar proyectos que no tienen solamente impacto económico, sino también ambiental y social. Y sobre todo gente que sale con una filosofía de trabajo muy diferente, colaborativa y más abierta.

El Fab Lab Barcelona es también una escuela?

Si, el Fab Lab Barcelona esta dentro del Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluña, que tiene programas educativos principalmente a nivel de Másters, de Arquitectura, Diseño, Ciudades, que conectan la tecnología con diferentes disciplinas y hacen una investigación un poco más profunda. El Fab Lab, a parte de servir a estos Masters, tiene también su própia agenda complementaria para generar impacto social y también de albergar iniciativas y proyectos en esta dirección. Esto significa retar los sistemas de producción de alimentos, de energía, de datos, la distribución de bienes; nos interesa mucho el tema de criptomonedas, por ejemplo, de inteligencia artificial, biomateriales… Estamos abriendo muchas líneas de investigación a través de proyectos Europeos y multidisciplinarios.

[El Fab Lab Barcelona tiene un programa intensivo de aprendizaje que enseña a estudiantes de todo el mundo a diseñar, fabricar prototipos y a inventar casi cualquier cosa usando herramientas y tecnologías digitales. Las inscripciones están abiertas y el programa empieza en Enero de 2018!]


Fab Lab – Learning for Innovation and Social Impact

A global network for innovation through learning and collaboration, the Fab Labs are spaces of pure creativity and technology. There, one can make almost anything and generate positive environmental and social impact or even help create new ways of thinking about our world. We visited Fab Lab Barcelona, the first in the European Union, and interviewed one of its creators.

Walking between worktables, carpentry workshops and 3D printers, I had the impression that I was in a slit between the past, a time when we were producing with our hands everything we needed, and the future, the time when we would come to transform our dreams and ideas into a palpable reality. In Fab Lab Barcelona the common language is curiosity and the will to rethink the world in which we live. In one of the most important disruptive hubs in Europe, Poblenou’s innovation district, I spoke with Tomas Diez, director of Fab City Research Lab and one of the creators of Fab Lab Barcelona. . What is the story of Fab Lab?

The world’s first Fab Lab appeared in Boston in 2002, as a result of a cooperation between MIT and the National Science Foundation; diverse coincidences eventually turned the concept into a global network. Fab Lab Barcelona, which opened in March 2017, was first in the European Union. When we opened it there were ten Fab Labs in the world, today there are 1200.

Fab Labs are a franchise?

No, it is a network that identifies itself with a series of common values, then it has a certain level of curatorship of what those spaces stand for, especially in the type of technology that exists in them through a common inventory. In this network there are also joint events, each year we meet in a different city to hold a world conference of Fab Labs, and examine a series of projects with an impact far beyond what is related to their existence. So Fab Labs are areas of learning and cultural production rather than physical production. And now I see them as spaces that begin to create projects that have the mission of generating change.

Can you give an example of social change or environmental impact?

For me the first and fundamental mission of Fab Lab is to change how our productive system works, as we convert it from an extractive system to a regenerative system through the circular or spiral economy; secondly to generate another type of social impact that goes beyond the simple pure and hard economic impact of GDP, which is not an impact of charity but is aimed at empowerment. And that is through knowledge and digital literacy, which no longer are only comprised of a computer, a mobile phone and a digital platform but also manufactures digital tools to solve local problems and needs. In the trajectory of a person in a Fab Lab we see that this level of empowerment already begins to change people. They chip this idea of “learning something so that someone can employ me”, of having a job to be part of things as they are, to have an opening, or that “it can be a shock too”, to start creating the world they want. That’s why students from all over the world are starting Fab Labs because they believe they can generate projects that have not only economic but also environmental and social impact. And above all, they are people who come out with a very different collaborative, more open, work philosophy.

Fab Lab Barcelona is also a school?

Yes, Fab Lab Barcelona is part of the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, which has educational programs mainly at the level of Masters, Architecture, Design, Cities, which connect technology with different disciplines and do a little more in-depth research. Fab Lab, apart from serving these Masters, also has its own complementary agenda to generate social impact and also to host initiatives and projects in this direction. However, to challenge the systems of food production, energy, data, distribution of goods, we are very interested in the issue of cryptomonitoring, for example, artificial intelligence, biomaterials… we are overcoming many lines of research through the European and multidisciplinary project.

Fab Lab Barcelona has a six-month intensive learning program that teaches students from around the world to design, prototype and invent almost anything using digital tools and technologies. Registration is open and the program starts in January 2018!

A filosofia de trabalho da ONG Frutos do Amanhã é a solidariedade humana. Com atuação em comunidades em vulnerabilidade social, a organização usa a cultura, educação, respeito e cidadania para modificar as vidas de crianças e famílias em situação de risco. Membro ativo da nossa comunidade Horyou, a fundadora da ONG Heloisa Morais falou com o nosso blog sobre suas iniciativas e planos para o futuro.

Atividade promovida pela ONG Frutos do Amanhã

Quais são as principais inspirações para o trabalho da organização?

Temos um lema que vem inspirando e servindo de mantra para que possamos seguir em frente: Educação, Respeito e Disciplina.

Quais foram os projetos mais bem-sucedidos de 2017?

Executamos vários projetos como oficina de idiomas, capacitação escolar, danças culturais, capoeira, oficinas e ballet. Posso destacar dois como os mais bem-sucedidos, que foram as oficinas de Artesanato e Geração de Renda e o Ballet Sonho de Menina.

Ballet Sonho de Menina

Quais são os principais projetos da ONG Frutos do Amanhã para 2018?

Queremos ampliar nosso projeto educativo, melhorar e ampliar nosso espaço físico e buscar apoio para poder atender a famílias que se encontram na fila de espera para participar de nossas atividades.

Que tipo de impacto a organização deseja causar para o mundo?

Transformar crianças que vivem em situação de risco em cidadãos através da educação e cultura.

Oficina realizada pela ONG

Qual a importância de participar de uma rede social do bem social como a Horyou?

Fomos convidados em 2015 pela Horyou, que nos esclareceu sobre o funcionamento da rede, e desde então estamos ativos na plataforma buscando apoio para os projetos.

Vivemos em uma era de constante transformação. Quais são as mudanças positivas que você deseja para a sua comunidade e para as gerações futuras?

Estamos em uma região carente como muitas espalhadas pelo mundo, se com nossas ações conseguirmos livrar algumas crianças do tráfico de drogas, que hoje está sendo o primeiro emprego de crianças e adolescentes, será uma grande vitória.

The EU launched a report with the latest results on employment and social situation in the region, bringing hope to the youth and all workers

The EU reported that employment continues to grow at a consistent pace in almost all Member States
The EU reported that employment continues to grow at a consistent pace in almost all Member States

Good news for workers, young and old within the EU. The European Commission has just reported that employment continues to grow at a consistent pace in almost all Member States, with an overall increase of 1,5%. More particularly, the Quarterly Review of Employment and Social Developments in Europe highlights the improved situation for the younger generation as for the first time, the Youth Unemployment Rate reached a pre-2008 crisis level. Despite being still very high, 16,9%, the rate decreased steadily and faster that overall unemployment, which reached 7,6% in the EU and 9,1% in the euro zone.

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, commented: “The results are encouraging. More people than ever before in Europe have a job and unemployment has reached a nine-year low. And we see 2.2 million more employees with permanent contracts compared to last year. We need to continue on this path and improve the economic and social conditions for all. With the European Pillar of Social Rights, we have our roadmap towards well-functioning and fair labour markets that are fit for purpose in the 21st century. We would like to see it proclaimed together by Parliament, Council and Commission at the Social Summit in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017.”

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility

The income of households has also shown improvement with a greater income coming from work, while the increase in social benefits came to a halt.

On 26 April 2017, the European Commission presented the European Pillar of Social Rights, which sets out 20 key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems. By this time, the Commission presented a legislative proposal to improve work-life balance of working parents and carers, and launched social partner consultations to modernise the rules on labour contracts and on access to social protection.

“If we want to avoid social fragmentation and social dumping in Europe, then Member States should agree on the European Pillar of Social Rights as soon as possible and at the latest at the Gothenburg summit in November.”, said Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Commission President.

During the week of September 18 to 24, New York City hosted an annual Climate Week, which has been taking place since 2009. This year it happened simultaneously with the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly. This event is devoted to debate the scale of global climate action and how to ensure jobs and prosperity for all segments of the society. It attracts attention of the most influential leaders from United States, cities, businesses and non-governmental organizations from all over the world. Various activities have been taking place in the course of the week. One of the most notable events is the Media for Social Impact Conference, which took place at United Nations Headquarters, on 14 September 2017.

The Media for Social Impact Summit took place in New York
The Media for Social Impact Summit took place in New York

The Media for Social Impact Conference 2017 gathered a diverse group of speakers, artists, celebrities and even astronauts. The speakers were, among others, Dan Thomas, Media for Social Impact 2017 Master of the Ceremony, Liba Rubenstein, Social Impact at 21st Century Fox, Christie Marchese, CEO of Picture Motion, Ahmed Musiol, Executive Producer at Wayfarer Entertainment, Jill Cress, CMO at National Geographic Partners and Ariana Stolarz, Global Chief Strategy Officer at MRM/McCann. They took the podium to discuss how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals could be achieved by 2030. Indeed, with 169 targets, the SDGs may be seen as an ambitious agenda. However, most speakers noted that some progress had already been made in the world for reaching these goals.

The Conference focused on ways to move forward in implementing SDGs by encouraging various stakeholders, such as NGOs, Corporations and Media Companies to adopt social good campaigns incorporating the SDGs. Many speakers believed that with sustainable development goals we could re-frame the larger context of our future, the image of which we always have to keep in mind. Many expressed optimism that by 2030 there would be notable improvements in health metrics and innovation in technology, among other fields.

However, the progress achieved so far is uneven. There is a dire need to lift people out of poverty. According to statistics from DoSomething.org, over 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty and subsist on less than $1.25 a day. Furthermore, UNICEF determined that almost 1 billion children worldwide are in poverty and 22,000 children are dying every day due to poverty’s acute negative effects. Providing everyone with sanitary and safe water, clean and affordable energy sources will contribute to attenuating poverty. As Dan Thomas, spokesperson of the UN General Assembly indicated, the resources are available, but we have to be mindful of the planetary limitations that we have while encouraging sustainable consumption. Echoing the main theme of the climate week, many speakers voiced strong concerns about climate change and urged world leaders, states, businesses and private individuals to be actively involved in addressing this major problem.

Perspectives of businesses with regard to SDGs were also discussed. Some participants noted progress that certain businesses have made in contributing to the sustainable development agenda. For example, progress could be seen in relation to industry, innovation, and infrastructure (SDG 9), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), as well as responsible consumption and production (SDG 12). Businesses were urged to inspire customers to engage in social good causes with a view to contributing to sustainable consumption. This could be done through call-to-action in social good campaigns and investments in advertisements focused on social good. The close alignment between business and consumer preferences may be more tangible for the youth subcategory of consumers. The youth segment was noted as particularly influential for the sustainable development agenda. The causes that the brands support, many thought, are important for consumption of the brand’s products by youth.

The conference is devoted to debate global climate action and how to ensure jobs and prosperity for all segments of the society.
The conference is devoted to debate global climate action and how to ensure jobs and prosperity for all segments of the society.

In this context, Jill Cress, CMO of National Geographic, stressed the importance of constantly reinventing and reinvigorating brands. The panel “Documentaries Impacting the World” discussed National Geographic as an example of a brand that has been present for many decades and is most followed in social media. Indeed, more than 60 million people worldwide viewed the documentaries created by National Geographic. These films reinvigorate the brand by telling smart and compellingly bold stories that have strong impact on people. Thus, National Geographic has been able to establish a diverse group of devoted viewers.

Brands are seeking to launch social good campaigns of their own to engage with the world more thoughtfully and more strategically. They do so for the purpose of building up not only larger audiences, but also more receptive and influential ones. The participants of the conference encouraged the audience to speak up to SDGs and connect closer with consumers that increasingly demand social justice. Targeted marketing campaigns, surveys, and polls could be several of the many ways of achieving this improved connection between the consumer and the brand.

Several speakers were of the view that some business models could be re-oriented around health-related qualities of products, as health appears to be one of the themes that resonate with certain audiences in relation to sustainable development goals.

In the panel on digital transformation of social impact, it was noted that a social good campaign should be moving “in the right direction” rather than “in some direction.” Such campaigns could be beyond impressions count and should incorporate concrete decision making based on data analytics. In addition, communication is important in not only achieving commercial success, but also in terms of helping people understand the social good causes that the brand is supporting. This is why comprehensive examining of consumer behavior becomes crucial. Accountability and measurability are both significant for companies to have an influence on their clients.

Partnerships in general are crucial for reaching target audiences to more effectively communicate the stories and see a much larger impact. They help a social media campaign reach a much larger audience than it would have reached independently. Creativity in delivering global issues and creating action around such issues was also stressed at the conference. In this respect, Horyou, the social network for social good, could be seen as a good example for a platform to channel creativity within its members.

Using the platform to amplify musicians’ works was also highlighted. Music can inspire a large and diverse audience to take action for social good. Moreover, art plays a vital role in the story and thus has the capacity to change and shift perspectives. For example, well known singers Aria and Miou along with other famous artists, regularly post about their art pieces for social good on the Horyou website.

Immediate and concrete action on the SDGs was called for. Bringing people together and motivating them around the SDGs is a very important step. For instance, presenting the SDGs in unique and captivating manner was considered useful. The example of using comic books for this purpose was highlighted by Sean Southey, co-founder of Comics Uniting Nations who pointed out that “comics play a significant role because we can reach people in a very engaging way.”

The ultimate goal of the modern society is to prepare the world for the next generation. Dan Thomas in his opening speech said: “It’s all about the future.” Many participants of the Conference explored ways and means to inspire the next generation to adopt the causes that we feel strongly about. All agreed that driving next generation to play an active role in supporting social good was crucial at this time. Leadership is important, both in the family, as well as in the community. Certainly the Media for Social Impact Conference was a very interesting event, and it was worth attending.

Written by Elena Tarrassenko

On 17 of September, I attended the Social Good Summit 2017, which took place at 92 Street Y Club in New York. A diverse group of speakers and performers got together and vividly presented in nearly 40 panels what social good means to society. All of the panels were thought provoking and inspiring. Some put forward incredible performances for a diverse audience, which consisted of acting, singing, cooking and displaying innovative medical devices.

Social Good Summit 2017
Social Good Summit 2017

I particularly enjoyed Erika Ender’s panel called “A Conversation with Erika Ender.” Erika Ender, a famous singer and songwriter is from Panama. She performed several songs in an inspirational show. One of the strong messages of her truly moving songs was about young people growing up in modern society and needing more support and better opportunities to become productive members of society.

Madame Gandhi, a singer, activist from Los Angeles, as well as graduate from Harvard Business School, put on a video aimed at inspiring various segments of the society, especially young people, to work for social good, to which she dedicated her entire career. Madame Gandhi expressed the strong belief that social media is one of the most powerful tools to be used to motivate people to work towards achieving the U.N. sustainable development goals.

Benj Pasek, an American songwriter and composer pointed out that music can be a tremendously influential force in the society. He is a strong believer that music helps people of all ages, and the youth in particular is strongly influenced by music. Similarly, art can be very powerful in leading the young generation. Aaron Huey, National Geographic photographer stated that art is more than beauty and decoration. According to him, art can be a weapon and a shield, and it can be used as a compass for children, guiding them into the future.

The importance of the focus of the society on youth resonated throughout this incredibly moving and artistic gathering. Notably, according to the UN studies the youth group of age 15-24 was portrayed as key in terms of their potential to make a difference for the world and its future and help the world achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It is interesting to note that the Social Good Summit in New York was echoing concerns that were expressed at the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum organized by Horyou, the social network for social good, in Astana, Kazakhstan on 5-7 September 2017. At SIGEF 2017, Yonathan Parienti, CEO of Horyou pointed out: “we live in a world of exacerbated consumption at all levels that is seriously hindering the implementation of critical sustainable development goals. SIGEF 2017, is set to explore, define and share new ideas that advance social innovation and social good for a sustainable growth for all. It is clear that the involvement of the younger generation, that everywhere is acting for change, alongside stakeholders of all ages, is a positive indication that we are moving forward in the right direction of shaping better times to come.”

Many speakers at the Summit in New York echoed this positive message. No doubt, the youth can become truly productive members of the society if society invests in their education. Education for youth was one of the key themes in the Summit.

The statistics in relation to education worldwide demand urgent action. Statistics are one of the important indicators of progress highlighted in SDG 4, Education. According to statistics shared at Social Good Summit, half of the young people in the primary school age group regrettably are not in primary school, and nearly ¾ of youth in the secondary school age group are not in secondary school. In order to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030, there is an acute need for urgent action. At the Summit, youth was portrayed as being key innovators to drive forward new products and designs. This age group is often receptive to and friendly with new technologies and trends. Hence, youth can influence United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

Certainly, young people are significant in terms of influencing businesses. They look to companies for the latest trends, and companies, in turn, look to influence youth. Many speakers noted progress in achieving the sustainable development goals for businesses. The great majority of youth seem to care about the causes the business is supporting. Young people are also key drivers of innovation.

Youth may even be able to influence economic growth by becoming loyalty customers, long-term customers to the various brands. This will help shape the formation of businesses in terms of their demand patterns and various preferences in product selection. Customers who value the brand for the causes it stands for are likely to be both early adopters of new products, as well as loyalty customers, as they feel connection with the brand. As such, they will be a driving force behind the brands and thus contribute to both industry and economic growth, foreseen by SDG 9 and SDG 8, respectively.

Many speakers expressed strong views that to achieve the sustainable development goals youth and other sectors of society need proper housing, food, and affordable health care services. In regards to proper housing, SDG 11, it was pointed out that nearly 15 million children are currently on the move and lack permanent housing means. Being often on the move makes it difficult for them to complete school.

Poverty concerns figured highly on the agenda at the Summit. According to statistics shared at the meeting, while overall poverty levels have declined since 1990, a substantial part of the world still lives on less than 1 dollar per day. In this connection, many participants stressed substantial ongoing hunger in the world, while there is also a lot of food waste. This food could potentially be distributed among those who are in need in inexpensive and effective ways. One speaker expressed a particular view that billions of dollars can be made by alleviating hunger and providing other sustainability resources to people in acute poverty.

In regards to inadequate access to sustainable energy sources, it was stressed that twenty percent of people worldwide do not have access to electricity at all.

There is no affordable healthcare in many parts of the world. More than 400 million people still lack access to healthcare worldwide. This problem is substantial. Whoopi Goldberg eloquently stressed the particular problem of having people turned away from hospitals when they are ill. Some were in favor of universal healthcare coverage, as is the case in many countries, and argued that it would allow for more affordable healthcare.

Global warming was also stressed. Many urged to take proactive action on this important issue. While some highlighted that solutions have been constantly put off, others were alarmed that even one degree of warming is significant.

All agreed that it is important to give people a sense of worth through education, jobs, poverty reduction and access to various energy sources, pursuant to relevant Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The Social Good Summit is an event that happens annually, and it is worthwhile attending it.

Written by Elena Tarrassenko

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. Horyou is also the host of SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, taking place in Astana, Kazakhstan during the EXPO 2017, from 5-7 September. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

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