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Designing future propositions for rural social innovation

Investigate and design future propositions that would revitalize social and economic fabric of the Odemira region affected by rural exodus.

Project Brief

This was the social innovation challenge at the interdisciplinary summer school by Weareholis in 2019. CLARA, a center for the rural future in the interior of Odemira, Southern Portugal was starting its operations and it wanted us to investigate future scenarios that would revitalize the economic and social fabric of the region.

Nomad camp at CLARA. Image credit: Holis/ Clara

My contribution

As a part of the team, I contributed in the entire design process - contextual and exploratory research, sense-making and insights, systems mapping, idea generation and presentation to name a few.

Sketchnoting about collective intelligence design. Image credit: Krstan Petrucz

Systems mapping during the process​. Image credit: Henryk Stawicki

As we had rotating team roles, I was able to take roles of team leadership, chaos pilot and well being officer. This helped in building capabilities for such diverse roles, as well as sharing of responsibilities.

I also wrote an article capturing my reflections about this immersive experience.

The process

Interviews with different local stakeholders

Clustering ideas using MoSCoW

Assessing concepts on a Health Checklist and a triple bottom line criteria

The concept

After an intensive week of research, data-synthesis and ideation, the concept we proposed is called

Co-demira, a co-working space inside the old brick factory near Saboia, in the Odemira region. Co-demira wants to bring digital nomads and people allowed to do remote work into peaceful surroundings of rural Portugal and offers them a co-working space and accommodation.

Coworking at CLARA:

CLARA provides accommodation and working space with internet and amenities to remote workers, away from the crowded urban environments, to do deep and dedicated work in a natural and quiet environment. CLARA will promote this service through its diverse channels to reach out to digital nomads and remote workers. This will provide a sustained income stream to CLARA as well as an influx of talent that may be helpful to revitalise the area.

Connecting through the local currency Co-in:

A crucial aspect of this idea is the exchange of a local social currency called “Co-in”, to promote getting involved with locals and foster social bonds.

CLARA will create a local network where the locals list their current challenges (with which they would be happy to be helped) and the kind of experiences they can offer to remote-workers. Several Co-ins will also be offered to locals as an induction token to this network. This way locals will be able to give Co-ins to the remote-workers who helped them out with their challenges. The local challenges will be shared with the remote-workers, who will be able to choose to help out in any of them, according to their skills and availability, and get Co-ins from locals, in exchange. After receiving these Co-ins by helping the locals, the remote workers will be able to exchange the Co-ins for a local experience of their choice offered by the locals.

The Co-in doesn’t represent a business transaction, but an incentive to get involved and socialise with locals, as well as to discover rural life and resources of the Odemira region.

The social currency : Co-in. A prototype and concept flow for the presentation.

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