Key learnings from this year’s Social Innovation Summit

NFGL Local Network Halmstad's Eduardo Acosta Llano recalls his trip to the Social Innovation Summit in Malmö.

Key learnings from this year's Social Innovation Summit

On November 12, thanks to an invitation from the Swedish Institute, I had the opportunity to be present at one of the most important sustainability summits in the country. The Social Innovation Summit is organized in Malmö every year and brings together entrepreneurs, leaders, business people and government representatives during two days and where sustainable development issues are discussed in order to know how we all can contribute to achieving the 17 sustainable development goals proposed by the UN by 2030.

Among the most important lessons the event has taught me was being able to hear how companies in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries increasingly give priority to the issue of environmental and social sustainability.

Social entrepreneurship

New entrepreneurs are getting more and more aware of the role that companies play in the social and environmental fields. The inspiring stories of the entrepreneurs who shared their ventures with the attendees allowed us to see that business can be conceived in a responsible way and each process can generate value to the consumer, companies and society.

Currently, businesses are developed from a circular and efficient principle that is not only financially sustainable but also includes innovative practical processes that generate the least possible negative impact for the actors and environment.

Innovative Government

Without a doubt, innovation and social entrepreneurship would not make sense without the co-design of norms and laws between companies and the government. It's why the Malmö government is constantly willing to work and experiment in new ways of generating business ideas in order to support entrepreneurs through appropriate facilities and ecosystems that allow them to design, test, experiment and refine their sustainable business ideas. These ideas can later be launched to the market and thus generate spaces for new entrepreneurs to join and commit to achieving the sustainable development agenda for 2030.

Key learnings

As an international SI student I constantly try to take advantage of each of the opportunities to learn and gain knowledge outside the classroom. These types of activities and events have allowed me to see how the theoretical world is put into practice in real scenarios.

This summit was a confirmation of my previous knowledge about Sweden, a leading country in sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship, so I could not have made a better decision to first choose Sweden as the country to develop my studies, and second, to be proactive and curious enough about the extracurricular activities you can attend.



Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.