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Hivos – Social Innovation Award - Hivos


Hivos is an international organisation looking for new solutions to intractable global problems. It uses smart projects in the right places to work against discrimination, inequality, abuse of power and environmental overload. Hivos strives for structural change, but it is not enough to just offer counterbalance. That is why Hivos works with innovative companies, citizens and their organisations. With them, it shares a dream in which economies are sustainable and societies are inclusive for everyone.

For more information about Hivos see www.hivos.org

Hivos and Social Innovation

Hivos uses social innovation as a framework to strive towards open and green societies. An open society structurally enables people to live in freedom and dignity, and is engaged in a continuous search for appropriate institutions towards this end. A green society stands for a sustainable society in which people can flourish without compromising planetary boundaries and where future generations are able to meet their own needs.

By ‘social innovation’ we mean new approaches (products, services and models) that resolve existing social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges for the benefit of people and the planet. They match a social need and equip citizens to engage with one another, often bridging boundaries between public, private and development sectors. For Hivos, social innovation is about creating new institutions, arrangements, relationships and practices. These social changes may be driven by technological change – from the internet to the anti-conception pill – but Hivos always endeavours to relate concrete solutions to system-wide changes.

Example Open Society: Mobile phones and the internet can be powerful tools in improving democracy. The ICT Election Watch project aims at improving democratic processes in Africa by allowing citizens to monitor elections. This contributes to more transparent elections and holds authorities to account for irregularities, intimidation, hate speech and misinformation. Building on a joint platform of technology developers and activists in Kenya, Hivos has facilitated the practice of such citizen-led election monitoring platforms in other countries as well.


Sandberg instituut

The Sandberg Instituut is the masters in art design of the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. It was established in 1990 and named after Willem Sandberg, designer, former director of Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum and charismatic champion for all new and distinctive developments in the arts. The institute believes it is increasingly important to connect education in art and design with urgent issues in society. It’s for that reason that Hivos invited the design department (also known as ‘Think tank for visual strategies’) to design and produce the award and related design elements with regard to the award ceremony on 5 February 2015. For more information about the Sandberg Institute visit their website: www.sandberg.nl


Volatile, complex and unique challenges in society require new forms of innovation. In order to tackle these issues, knowledge of the people directly involved is necessary. The challenge is to mobilise and utilise that knowledge in order to achieve sustainable renewal. That’s what Kennisland does.
Hivos invited Kennisland to develop the online coaching trajectory for the twenty semi-finalists. This Hivos Learning Community  is crafted to suit the individual needs and connects fellow innovators from across the globe. The two-week programme will be offered online, and will include webinars, open interactive discussions with peers and experts and guidance for improving the submission. A unique programme tailor made for the semi-finalists of the Hivos Social Innovation Award. For more information about the Hivos Learning Community see FAQs.
Website: www.kennisland.nl