Skip to content

Scale up market links: Conceptualisation of a Mediterranean Open Innovation Platform

Find out ideas we developed during the session to set up an Open Innovation Platform for the Mediterranean 


Shall we set up a SwitchMed’s Open Eco and Social Innovation Platform?

After the interest created in the previous “Meet the actors? session we propose a co-creation session as the starting point for the establishment of the main ideas and concepts for the SwitchMed’s Open Eco and Social Innovation Platform.

What did we aim at?

Taking in consideration the learnings of the Open Innovation Platforms session on day 1, at that session we co-created the first potential concepts/approaches for the SwitchMed Eco and Social Open Innovation Platform. The idea was to start a new project with SwitchMed after SwitchMed Connect, in order to explore the possibilities of an Eco & Social Open Innovation Platform for the Mediterranean Areas.


What are the main elements we need to take into account to build a open innovation platform?

Moderator: Sandra Pina, Head of Innovation & Research and Partner of Quiero Salvar Elm Mundo Haciendo Marketing


  • Mr. Patricio Guzman, Head For Europe, Socialab
  • Ms. Ursula Tischner, Owner of Econcept, Manager of the European Sustainability Maker Project and Part of the Team of Innonatives
  • Mr. Tamer Taha, Founder & CEO, (Made in Egypt) Platform

The aim of the workshop is to help us to co-create the first concepts for an open innovation platform in the region, with an eco and social focus. As a starting point, the moderator Ms. Sandra Pina mentioned that ¨we can all take the learnings from the previous session Open Innovation Platforms in the Mediterranean that took place on the 29th. For those attendees that weren’t at the previous session, she provided a briefly insights on the understanding of open innovation platforms.



Ms. Sandra Pina introduced the three panelists Mr. Guzman mentioned one of the stories that he liked most on the open innovation he is managing, Socialab. The Chilean-based social open innovation platform launched a challenge in order to eradicate poverty. ¨As if poverty would not be already a punishment per se, on the top, not having money means that you have to pay even more for things. For instance, small food packages are more expensive than the larger ones¨ he said. Ms. Guzman explained that the winner to this challenge was ¨Algramo¨ a company that distributes vending machines full of bulk staples such as rice, beans, lentils, and sugar. Algramo fills the machines, installs them for free in small neighborhood stores, and splits the profit evenly with shopkeepers. 300 machines have been installed so far around Santiago (Chile), reaching an estimated 15,000 people, and will soon expand to Colombia. This is the solution to the fact at the impoverished outskirts of Santiago, Chile, there are few supermarkets, and the food at small, local stores is often up to 40% more expensive. Mr. Taha, founder and CEO of Yomken, the Cairobased platform, added that open innovation platforms are excellent as they can provide more than just one idea, and this is what a ¨a solution seeker¨ needs.

The moderator and the three panellists prepared a co-creation experience of open innovation on three different topics: agriculture, food and fisheries. First of all, they prepared a long board with 3 many quick facts related to sustainability in those three main topics, such as ¨the importation and consumption of manufactured food and beverages has increased the amount of plastics and nonbiodegradable types of municipal waste¨. Participants had to provide potential solutions to solve those challenges.




Fisheries, food and agriculture 
After providing comments in post-it notes, delegates were asked to split in groups. In total 5 groups of 10/15 participants each were created. Now as a crowd, Ms. Sandra Pina asked delegates to conceptualise and design an open innovation platform around agriculture, food or fisheries.
  1. Main challenges – how would we organise that?
  2. Community of solvers – which profile of people do you want to have in your platform? In order words, who is it going to provide solutions?
  3. Community of Seekers and other actors - Who do we need to involve as a seekers?
  4. Which is the main innovation processes taking place? 5. Where do you get the funding from



Each group presented at the end the outcomes to all the participants. For instance, one group addressed the issue of food waste.
1) Challenge: how to reduce the food waste?
2) Community of solvers: "food wasters", policy makers, Government bodies, NGOs, Research bodies
3) Community of Seekers: entrepreneurs and start-ups.
4) Innovation process: develop an award, prizing the best and more effective idea to tackle the main challenge
5) Funding: principal food "wasters": Big supermarket chains and suppliers, restaurants and Food shops; Government bodies Another group, led by Arnauld Pinier of Happy Smala, explained that one of the main challenges their group addressed was how to slow down the production of food in order to preserve environment with the fact that there is an urgent need for feeding a growing population. Moreover, how to build a sustainable market where retailers do not drop out prices of producers in order to maximize their benefits and enforce them to lower the standards and quality of production. At their level, they each have solutions to provide. In that case, there are probably all as well some seekers. The financing of education, mediation, legislation, and improvement of puck infrastructure must taken by public institutions. The financing of day to day quality production must be handled by customers, producers, retailers, and food industry. Innovation of consumption process is probably one of the main issue: how to educate people reducing their consumption of food. Innovation of risk policy endorsement between all the stakeholders of the value chain. In the short cut market, customers buy directly their stock of legume for a whole year, to the producer, with the promise to get fresh and bio seasons fruits each week. In that case there is a kind of risk sharing policy between customers and producers.


Let's continue the discussion

You can join and contribute the discussion on Conceptualisation on Open Innovation Platforms  in the session community here. In that community we encourage you to post your own reflections, experiences and questions. Keep engaging and shaping the content of SwitchMed Connect 2016.