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Innovate Dublin Ezine no 2

Innovate Dublin, Social Innovation Hub, 1st Floor, Civic Centre, 
Main St, Ballymun, Dublin 9

Tel: 01 891 61 00


Welcome to our second Ezine! We have had a productive few months, progressing with our organisational development and local projects under our first programme, Innovate Ballymun. Here is a quick summary of what we have been up to, we:-
  • Welcomed a new Director, Ed Flanagan onto our Board, a highly experienced change management consultant - welcome Ed!
  • Finalized our Digital Marketing Strategy.
  • Are completing the Design4Growth training, where communication is our focus, supported by the Local Enterprise Office - thank you LEO.
  • Progressed our key Innovate Ballymun projects; the Social Innovation Hub, the Book Reserve Cafe and the Map My Community initiative, more details below.
  • Compiled our first thought leadership paper, Design Thinking as a Strategy for Social Innovation in Communities - the link to the paper is below, so grab a coffee and delve in!
  • Were shortlisted for the Ulster Bank Skills and Opportunity Fund for our Social Innovation Training Programme for unemployed youth, thank you to all of you who took the time to vote for us.
Team Innovate Dublin.
OUR PROJECTS - updates

In our last Ezine we informed you on how we arrived at our themes and projects for Innovate Ballymun, you can follow the progress made on some of our projects below.

We greeted 9 new hubbers into our first project, the Social Innovation Hub; 3 entrepreneurs and 1 social enterprise with 6 staff.  Our meet and greet pizza lunch introduced them to our existing hubbers and was a great success, thanks to Firehouse Pizza!  We also welcomed some new hot-deskers to the Hub.  Welcome all!

Our Social Innovation Training Programme for unemployed youth has been shortlisted for Ulster Bank’s Skills and Opportunities Fund.  This project will be run in our Social Innovation Hub and will focus on the provision of a 15 weeks long entrepreneurship and skills development programme, designed to develop the capacity of unemployed marginalised youth in a highly innovative way. Participants will be 18-24 year olds and each will apply the techniques learnt to take further steps along the road towards employment, further education or training.  The aim is to empower them to discover their potentials and better equip them for further training or employment.
We facilitated several meetings for local organisations including Ballymun4Business, a local network set up by local businesses to support and promote the development of new and existing businesses in the area. We also provided the use of our Hub for breakout sessions at an innovative public voting experiment workshop held in the Civic Centre in Ballymun and hosted by The Irish Times, in association with The de Borda Institute, DCU and CiviQ.  This was a unique voting experiment demonstrating how a power sharing government could be elected in Ireland.

Under the Activating Vacant Space theme the need for a local social space and cafe has been identified. Strengthening this, the 2016 Ballymun Retail Study prepared on behalf of Dublin City Council recommends more coffee shop/restaurant space in any proposed retail development and/or elsewhere on Main Street Ballymun. 

One model being considered is
The Book Reserve Cafe, a Northern Irish Community Interest Company. The Company is supported by Barnardos and Atlantic Philanthropies, with the Department of Justice (NI) as the lead department on the project. The cafe employs young at risk parents who have been involved with the justice system.
Innovate Ballymun is conducting a feasibility study to determine the most appropriate economic and financial model for a local commercial cafe/space.

The feasibility study will determine the viability of scaling the existing ‘Book Reserve Café’ business model and will:
  • Develop, cost, assess funding options and stress test a number of operational models for the three chosen communities.
  • Produce forecasted financial models for each operational model proposed, to include profit and loss, cash flow & break-even over a 5 year period.
  • Identify the most financial and economically viable model for implementation.
We aim to have the feasibility study completed by the end of July, we will update you on our next steps following this.
Under the Service Design theme, a workshop was held with local organisations, councillors and residents around increasing participation in the design and delivery of local services. In the workshop participants stated that they were not overly familiar with the services available to them within their community, and community organisations pointed to a need for more joined up services and better co-ordination and management of shared resources, to enable them to provide a more holistic offering to the community and their clients.

Possible Solutions:
Based upon the workshop, we are currently scoping a project using a service design approach where we are looking to:
  • Build a service directory for the local community and;
  • Develop the directory to map a service user’s journey across a set of local services. This will enable users to track their own progress towards their end goal. In addition, it will allow them the opportunity to provide this information to community organisations to help them improve their targeting of supports and resources for their users.
 Our ambition is to have a simple, yet robust and testable (Minimum Value Product) prototype ready to test with a small cohort of agencies, led by a local champion organisation. This will be then evaluated, and a decision made as to whether the project is developed further and scaled wider than the Ballymun pilot area.
To progress this, we held a round table discussion with a group of stakeholders and critical friends to get a good understanding upfront of the challenges involved in multi-stakeholder projects of this nature.
In attendance were: Future Gov,  Smart Dublin,  Dublinked,  TURAS Community, DCU Insight,  Citizen’s Information Service,  MyConnemara Portal, Ballymun Job Centre
Round-table Outcomes:
  • The establishment of a community of practice made up of genuinely interested parties who understand and support the value of  taking a multi-agency place-based approach to service provision.
  • A clear understanding of the immediate challenges we face around the project, allowing us to respond to these barriers during the design process.
  • Awareness of the complexities involved in developing a common platform, in particular around the behaviours of organisations, when working in a multi-agency context.
  • Identification of data protection concerns and individual duty of care requirements faced by separate public sector agencies.
Next, we will be following-up with key stakeholders and critical friends to assess what role they can play and their desired level of involvement going forward, and to assess the resources available to us for this project.
The SOCIAL INNOVATION HUB offers members access to 350 square metres of creative space to work, meet, learn and collaborate. We combine the best of a cafe, innovation lab, business accelerator, serviced office and community centre to create a place for meaningful encounters, productive work sessions and inspiration.

You can rent a hot desk for only €10 per day or a dedicated desk for only €175 per month.

Membership gives you a professional office right in the centre of Ballymun, only 7 kilometres from Dublin city centre and close to Dublin airport. Benefits include free use of our conference room, free one to one business mentoring and free attendance at all our networking events and training sessions. 

You can avail of all the member benefits or just make our space yours, for more information contact Annabelle Conway on 01 891 6116 / 891 6110 or see our Hubber`s pack.


Paper 1 – Design Thinking as a Strategy for Social Innovation in Communities

At Innovate Dublin we are testing the use of Design Thinking within our Innovate Programmes to solve local problems and issues, however, more importantly, to illustrate how associated Design Thinking tools can be applied to produce solutions for Dublin communities.

Innovate Dublin will be compiling a series of Thought Leadership papers to document our process and use of design thinking in the application of new solutions for communities.

Click here to link to our first paper.


We will introduce you to a new member (hubber) in each Ezine
Bread & Circus is a Ballymun based film production company founded in 2008. Engaging in highly sophisticated co-productions and complex subject matter, encouraging creative use of new technologies and platforms, they strive to present an unrivalled portfolio of cutting edge work that is engaging, provocative, thoughtful, financially sound and profitable.

Their current project, The 4th Act, is a feature documentary examining the lengthy urban regeneration process which has been on-going in Ballymun since the end of the last millennium. Utilising a rich local archive, as well as a wealth of contemporary material, the film explores the effects of this drastic reconfiguration of a community’s physical and psychological landscape.

As part of the project, a vast scale model of pre-regeneration Ballymun (below) was briefly opened to the public earlier in the year in the former Tesco unit facilitated by Dublin City Council, within the largely detenanted shopping centre. Bread & Circus intended the model to function as a touchstone for collective memory in a community that they believe to be increasingly divorced from its sense of past and place.
The 4th Act is funded by the Irish Film Board, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Dublin City Council, and is scheduled for release in the spring of 2016. Further details can be found on the 
4th Act Facebook page
For further information on Bread & Circus visit their website:
On the 11th March, Innovate Dublin gave a presentation on our Social Innovation Hub at the LEO event Enterprise Space & the City.  With a thriving start up community in Dublin there is a continual demand for accessible and affordable enterprise space in the city.
This event provided information on the different types of enterprise space available and hosted a lively discussion on what needed to happen to ensure an adequate supply of suitable working space for the city’s entrepreneurs.

The CEO of Innovate Dublin, Fiona Descoteaux, was invited to present a leadership challenge to members of the Meridian Leadership Programme on 9th March, which is run by Common Purpose (Ireland) Ltd.  60+ senior leaders from across the public, private & non-profit sectors participated in this programme and attended the leadership challenge, where CEOs and senior members of non participating organisations were invited to present a challenge to programme participants regarding a particular aspect of their business. 

Innovate Dublin attended “FEARLESS” The Entrepreneur’s Journey, a showcase event which featured six of Fingal’s best up and coming entrepreneurs who revealed the fascinating stories of the successes of their recently established businesses. The winning business, InvizBox Ltd, received a cheque for €5,000, sponsored by AIB Bank. It was an exciting evening and a great opportunity to network.

MAKING DUBLIN SMARTER – Smart Dublin Launch Event                                    
Innovate Dublin attended the launch of a Smart Dublin engagement and collaboration framework and a re-launch of Dublin’s open data platform, in City Hall on 8th March. The purpose was to promote new opportunities for innovation through emerging technologies and open data.

On 21st April, Innovate Dublin and other members of the North Dublin Chamber were invited to Keelings in North County Dublin to view their produce and get a fascinating overview of their business model.

Keelings is a 100% Irish-owned family business, focused on growing and selling fresh salads and fruit produce. In 2009 they took the innovative decision to build a 50.508 sq metres glasshouse, resulting in the ability to produce over 100 million Irish strawberries for the Irish market and extend the season into December.

StartUp Ballymun - Innovate Dublin had a stand at this event which took place on 14th April in the Civic Centre in Ballymun.  StartUp Ballymun was organised by the City Council and aimed to promote entrepreneurship and business in the Ballymun area. Four entrepreneurs -  iCabbi, Obeo, Hairweavon and Oishii Foods - spoke about the development of their businesses and shared their stories and what they had learned. Attendees were invited to tour our Social Innovation Hub which is located next door in the Civic Centre.
To stay up to date on our activties, follow us on Twitter @innovate_dublin
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Innovate Dublin · 1st Floor Ballymun Civic Building · Ballymun Main Street · Dublin, Ballymun D9 · Ireland

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