Hypotheses that clicked !

by | Jan 31, 2018 | Event, Paris Lab |

First 5 nuggets from our experiments

We called the first Season of PLACE ‘the Paris pilot’ for good reasons – its very purpose was to test things in situ, so we could all learn what works and what doesn’t in trying to create enabling environments for newcomers. Walking the talk of learning-by-doing which we put at the core of our Labs, we bring you some of these learnings, in our winter series that focusses on migrant-led innovation in cities. These are some of the things we tried which got a big thumbs-up from PLACE community and we hope that some of these might become standard practices by a wide number of actors in the future.

(You might have read in one of our earlier snippets about the dynamic and successful collaboration that exists between PLACE members and the students of Ecole de Ponts business school. In November 2017, 6 interviews were conducted by the MBA students with different PLACEmakers and PLACE Innovators. This served as an excellent opportunity for PLACE to gauge and analyse the extent to which we have been able to make impact and test our hypotheses.)

Top 5 nuggets that we digested and are gung-ho to bring to the next level!

Hypothesis 1  ⟾  PEOPLE make projects

In Season 2 as in our pilot, we remain driven by the same question, “how can we create the best conditions for newcomers to be innovators, in a position to act and create value?” With the help of design-thinking methods that focus on the user, PLACE labs’ experiments have shown that successful projects are always people-centered. During each Lab, the PLACE Innovators were challenged to explore the needs and lives of the people they were developing their project for. This resulted in the development of 9 projects that are designed to address real problems and meet the needs of real people. The human-centered design approach was also applied while matching PLACE Innovators with opportunities with PLACEmakers. All matching was based on the needs of the PLACE Innovator to advance their project, and their personal fit with the PLACEmaker.

The best part for me is to interact directly and to have the feeling that there is a big level of respect between everyone.

Clara, PLACEmaker in Berlin

Every time I come to PLACE (Labs), my project improves thanks to the personal support : it helps me to get new ideas, arrange my thinking, look at the next steps in a way that really suits me.

Asmaa, PLACE Innovator

Hypothesis 2  ⟾  Build flexibility into project design

Building flexibility in the DNA of the program design was of the most important aspects of the PLACE pilot. Each PLACE Lab is an experiment and the innovation tools employed are based on the needs of PLACE Innovators and demands of the ecosystem. To demonstrate, we are setting up different tracks within the Innovator fellowship in Season 2. This will allow our offerings and proposed timeline to really adapt to the demanding schedules of newcomer entrepreneurs and the organic development of their projects.

“As I am starting my business and learning French at the same time,, I am very busy. […] But I know that PLACE adapts to my needs, they know my situation and are supportive.”

Nitharshini, PLACE Innovator

“Of all the partnerships we have, PLACE is the one which has allowed the greater flexibility for my colleagues to become involved.”

Erwan, PLACEmaker Archery

Hypothesis 3  ⟾  Diversity boosts innovation

PLACE Labs create safe enabling spaces that empower newcomers to build from scratch new services and projects that are missing in host countries. Diversity is used as a leverage here to strengthen projects, allowing each stakeholder to harness their potential. In Season 2, we look forward to continuing working with city-level actors such as incubators, accelerators and major cultural institutions to turn them into more inclusive spaces.

I think what resonates is bringing people together – it is not only a refugee group but also people like me who come together in the labs. […] it’s really putting people on an equal plane, and that really resonates.

Clara, PLACEmaker in Berlin 

“I love that PLACE brings me to people like me! It feels like it is open to everybody, it is a space that doesn’t have any restrictions, it is open to every nation, race, colour, personality. Meeting other people from such wide horizons is really energizing for me..”

Dorji, PLACE Innovator

Hypothesis 4   ⟾    Less is more

At PLACE, the term ‘frugal’ is not synonymous with cheap; we consider frugal innovation the mindset of using ingenuity to make more with less. Our experience has proved that newcomers, especially when trained in agile innovation methods, have an inspiring capacity to create value with little resources – a skillset set which would be useful for host societies to integrate! In Season 2, we are designing new tools and methods to harness this crucial capacity into spurring entrepreneurship.

“How little it takes for a group of people to create so much! There is no huge investment or energy required (..) you provide so little in terms of space or material resources, and in such a rich and curated environment, the innovations just happen!”

Osama, PLACEmaker BMW Foundation

“The methods used by PLACE were surprising: sometimes the activities looked like childplay and every lab felt very different from the other. My own result always surprised me!”

Nitharshini, PLACE Innovator

Hypothesis 5   ⟾    Make way for new leaders!

You had a look at the “ZOOM on the first Pilot” and you might have noticed that leadership development is part of our theory of change. For us at PLACE, new leadership means solutions emerging from non-mainstream actors, leading to more resilient economies. Check out our snippet on the Catalyst fellowship, our newly rolled-out professional development opportunity and exclusively part of Season 2!

“I will soon become a Catalyst for PLACE and help them run the Labs like the ones I had the opportunity to participate in. In the long term, I want to form my own organization to partner with PLACE.”

Dorji, PLACE Innovator

“We didn’t just help future potential entrepreneurs, but also future leaders emerging in these communities. It has a ripple effect.”

 Erwan, PLACEmaker Archery

Want an insight into next time’s nuggets? “Don’t invite tech into the labs” and “start before you’re ready” … now that should keep you holding your breath until the next story! Hope you enjoy discovering some of the learnings from our experiments as much as we enjoy sharing them with you. PLACE only makes sense as an open book. Do you have nuggets of your own which might accelerate Europe becoming an enabling environment for migrant-led innovation? Please share them with us! We’ll be sure to publish them in our next story. welcome@place.network Subject: “nuggets for migrant-led innovation

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