In order to tackle challenges that are increasingly complex, interrelated, and unpredictable, social innovation can be used to solve today’s most pressing human rights and social issues. Also, social innovation address challenges and opportunities within communities and, in many ways, favor inclusion of the most vulnerable and marginalized as well as providing a platform for voice and economic participation for those who left behind.
Shifting from single-point solutions and linear projects to an open innovation platform (variety of actors, methodologies, and interconnected actions) that is holistically framed by the principle of SDGs integration, UNDP in Thailand and Asia and Pacific Regional Hub in collaboration with Agirre Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies is promoting a platform focused on transforming local food systems through a portfolio approach, with multi-stakeholders partnerships in and around local food systems in the southern border provinces including local authorities, local academic institutions, young creative groups, local incubators, schools, farmers, food entrepreneurs, consumers, local business associations, and market managers.
This portfolio of innovative solutions is developed under a process of “Social Innovation Platform (SIP)” which emphasizes deep listening, co-creation, and inter-linkages as essential steps in the journey of breaking the silos, building the partnerships, and leveraging collective impacts. The interconnected nature of food systems offers an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of integration for systemic changes that also contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Active listening or deep listening is a pivotal skill that all ethnographic researchers and design thinkers use to comprehend people, their context and people in their context. It is a set of qualitative tools that, complemented with quantitative data, allows to unveil the narratives of a community and reveal in-depth needs, challenges and opportunities existing in it:
It involves an open attitude.
It allows the emergence of a true understanding of the community’s reality.
It is in connection with co-creation and prototyping: the needs and opportunities of the community are known, and these discoveries are connected to co-creation and prototyping. “The goal of this listening methodology is, not only to collect data and perform analysis to obtain a set of results (…), but also to contribute to change through the application of the methods in question.” (Jayne Engle, 2018.)
For a social transformation, it is essential to know the narratives and take them into account for the design and implementation of actions. Knowing and working with these narratives helps us to build common narratives that favor collective action.
These are the perceptions that people and the community have about their own lives.
They are subjective.
They do not necessarily coincide or correspond to the ideas that people have about reality.
They have a determining influence on actions aimed at change.
We are ultimately aiming at covering all the existing complex narratives, segmenting their unified patterns to visualize a portfolio of actions at different scales that is connected to the real needs of the communities.