How might we establish the social impact platform of the 21st century?

imece is a social innovation platform bringing together an interdisciplinary community for creating a sustainable and innovative impact on social and environmental challenges while enhancing collective capacity and providing incubation services for impact entrepreneurs.

Project Team
Ahmet Alpat, Atılım Şahin, Aylin Durmaz, Ayşesu Çelik, Bala Gürcan, Ceylan Uşaki Erali, Dara Kılıçoğlu, Ebru Boyacı, Emre Erbirer, Engin Ayaz, Mert Çetinkaya, Mertcan Avcı, Murathan Sırakaya, Nazlı Cangönül, Nesile Yalçın, Özge Aytan, Serdar Paktin, Şevval Ceylan, Tolga Dizmen, Ufuk Barış Mutlu

Project Lead
Kerem Alper

Community
Bigumigu (Content Provider), Erdinç Akkaya (Software), Gülin Ölçen (Coach), Ömer Hacıömeroğlu (Presentation Flow Design)

imece Team
Buğra Çelik, Duygu Kambur, Fırat Okucu, Öykü Attila, Seda Karaca, Tuğçe Akbulut, Uğur Orak, Zeynep Çelik

Globally, concepts of social innovation or social entrepreneurship are increasingly becoming more and more paramount for tackling the ecological, economic and social challenges that face the globe. It is now clear that governments, the public sector, academia, or NGOs are not equipped to solve these challenges within their domains. They are in need of a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach. At the same time, expectations from for-profit corporations are rapidly shifting. Just recently, in January 2018, Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, world’s largest asset management fund declared that “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

Turkey and the surrounding region have challenges such as access to relevant education, gender equality, accessibility, environmental sustainability, displaced populations and mobility, etc. These grand challenges offer opportunities for social entrepreneurs – people who are passionate about social, environmental and economic challenges and view entrepreneurship as a way to scale their impact potential.

However, what was missing was a holistic ecosystem approach bringing together a community around social impact, enabling collaborations across sectors and stakeholder groups, generating locally relevant content, building talent capacity and enables social impact entrepreneurs to flourish.

imece is a social innovation platform that was founded based on these pillars.

We collaborated with Zorlu Holding – one of Turkey’s leading conglomerates and S360 – one of Turkey’s leading strategic sustainability consultancy firm- to build imece, Turkey’s leading social innovation platform. imece was and still is a perfect fit for ATÖLYE’s values and multidisciplinary DNA. Since imece’s design and development kick-off back in March 2016 until today, the team and community members contributed to the successful inception of the platform. Scopes that were essential for this journey are so far: strategy, design research, branding, service design, UX, UI, coding, communications, community building, learning design, operations, spatial design, startup incubation, business development, product design, hardware design, manufacturing, rapid prototyping and team formation.

The process for designing, developing and implementing imece was conducted as a co-design process with multiple stakeholders from various fields, including academia, NGOs, public and private sectors, as well as international collaborators such as OpenIDEO, Stanford d.school, B Lab and frogDesign.

We asked ourselves the question: “How do we repurpose this the word in today’s context of social entrepreneurship, newly emerging problem-solving methods, and the need for multidisciplinary collaboration?.” As the answer for this question emerged imece, a social innovation platform that brings together a multidisciplinary community for creating sustainable, innovative and impact-focused projects and startups on social, environmental and economic challenges in sync with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. imece’s efforts are centred around the topics: Incubation, Community Building, and Capacity Building.

The word imece means “a community of people pulling together their resources towards collaboratively solving a challenge.”

imece’s Social Entrepreneur Support Program is a 7-month Pre-incubation and Incubation Program that guides ten teams through a pre-incubation process in which teams learn and practice human-centred design and lean business canvas. Three winning teams receive 120.000 Turkish Liras of grant and ongoing incubation support consisting of over 300 hours of mentorship, workspace, training, access to the ecosystem and investor relations.

imece’s Community Building activities include: ‘imece Talks’, a monthly event series about social innovation; ‘imece Roundtables’ , a quarterly event series of corporate social intrapreneurship; ‘University Innovation Fellows Program’ in partnership with Stanford University and various events born from being the global partner of  Social Innovation Exchange (SIX).imece aims to create sustainable social initiatives with scalable income models, raise awareness within the community, ensure capacity development and to become a platform that combines social entrepreneurship and innovation.

imece’s Capacity Building activities revolve around becoming a local partner of Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), an award-winning magazine and website that focalize cross-sector solutions to global problems.

imece’s brand identity is designed by ATÖLYE to symbolize sensitivity, humility and warmth. The font was chosen to diligently to reflect the memorable yet straightforward meaning of the world ‘imece’ itself, to encompass the values imece has to genuinely offer. The rounded right corner of the letter ‘i’ is design decision intentionally taken to connotate to a human, what ‘imece’ always to put in the centre.

imece’s website, is website is designed to not only act as a information source but also a website for the intended audience to follow and interact. The color palette is chosen to complement the typography meanwhile staying loyal to the brand identities values. Additionally, a design system is implemented to the website for all the new content to automatically poster also to its social media websites to ensure all media channels of imece to be fully synchronized and up for efficiently creating a ‘community’.


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