Despite the fact that the mountainous areas of Switzerland are often considered to be lacking in innovation compared to their city counterparts, in reality innovative ideas abound in these regions, especially for solving specific problems in business and society. These “social innovations” differ from innovations in products or technologies and promise positive effects for regional development.

Supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), a research team identified 68 social innovations through a comprehensive analysis of more than 970 innovative projects that have arisen in the Bernese Oberland in recent years.

These innovations are now published online as a database with the intention of not only informing the community but also changing the perception of Switzerland's mountain regions by creating awareness of the innovation potential stored there. On this platform, social innovations can be searched according to sector, location, and thematic characteristics, for example. This new tool aims to provide a foundation for decision-making in regional policy and serve science as a basis for research. 

The inventory was developed as a joint collaboration between the Unit Economic Geography of the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern, the Tourism Research Unit at the Centre for Regional Development (CRED) of the University of Bern and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), under the supervision of Heike Mayer, Irmi Seidl and Monika Bandi-Tanner, by the three doctoral students Pascal Tschumi, Andrea Winiger and Samuel Wirth. In a next step, social innovations are examined according to their history and innovation biographies are created.

Visit the Social Innovations Website

Photo by Pixabay user Heidelbergerin


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