The end of the year is approaching, everyone is gathering to draw the line on 2012 and strategize for the year to come. The HUB Global Advisory Board makes no exception, meeting in HUB Vienna last week to lay the ground for the network in 2013. We met for a chat with Simon Ulvund, Managing Director – Strategic Growth and IT in the HUB Global Team, which is created to serve as lean management unit to particularly support the growth, expansion and performance of local HUBs and HUB Initiatives and to strengthen the global HUB Network, and Henrique Conca Bussacos, Chairman in The HUB Association, in which directors ensure supervisory governance of HUB GmbH and coordinate the General Assembly of HUBs.
HUB Blog: What’s your “super-power” in the HUB network and what’s your favorite thing about it?
Simon Ulvund: My super power is an ability to absorb like a sponge – the sponge can hold more water than you think but when it’s full, it needs to be squeezed to be able to absorb water again. My biggest challenge is to “squeeze” more often. My favorite thing about the HUB is the feeling of being at home. It’s a special place, which offers a unique experience. It feels good from the first moment you walk in the space.
Henrique Conca Bussacos: I perceive myself as a mediator in the HUB network. I think it’s my talent that I’ve managed to develop while cooperating with the HUB Association Board this year. Being part of a board means that you play the role of a bridge between global management and the association members, who are the co-founders/ members of particular HUBs in the world. During global meetings like this particular one in Vienna, I’m representing the board and I’m a mediator that connects and translates the needs of the HUB. What I enjoy the most about the HUB is the members, and their boldness to collaborate. I think this boldness in one of the key elements in the network.
HUB Blog: What do you think is the highlight of the social innovation scene in 2012?
Simon Ulvund: It’s a good question. Personally, I don’t see one specific highlight. It’s more about an innovation movement that’s shaping itself and getting certain traction. The HUB, virtual spaces and resources are one of many elements in this movement. Nowadays, the more important thing is that if you have an idea and if you truly want to do something, you can go for it. Moreover, the network of investors and grants is growing. A similar change is happening within governments, they start perceiving social innovation as the sector worth encouraging and supporting. The best examples are countries like Great Britain where social enterprises enter a really high level and are blooming. On the other hand, we can observe the situation in Greece, where social and innovation movements can be used to accelerate and rebuild economy with the added benefit of making a truly needed change. The best part about this movement is that it reaches very different generations everywhere in the world.
Henrique Conca Bussacos: From my perspective and experience the highlight of 2012 is the First Global Social Business Gathering that took place in Brazil. It was lead by NESST (Nonprofit Enterprise and Self-Sustainability Team), who develops sustainable social enterprises that solve critical social problems in emerging market economies. However, the biggest challenge of 2012 and of the upcoming new year will be to match investor expectations and potential offers with needs and opportunities of social entrepreneurs. The biggest challenge of the social movement sector is to find a way for ‘ecosystem players’ to implement their ideas. For this, we have to deal with a mismatch of different projects, investors and entrepreneurs.
As co-founder of HUB Sao Paulo, Henrique would like to invite all HUBbers to visit. They are proud of the second space they just launched, which is playing the role of a HUB School. By applying a collaborative business model focused on education, they are providing workshops that cover a wide spectrum of topics. Members vote to select events that get organized and hosted.
To be continued with more insights from Charly Kleissner, Hinnerk Hansen and Gabriela Gandel.