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HUB’s as social innovation enablers

Algemeen, Beleid, Organisatie
What is crucial for the success of any social activity is the total resource of the community network within which it interacts. Every business agent would confirm that without the support of a community social network, sustainable efficiency is going to come and go at the whim of chance. Chambers of Commerce, Business Improvement Districts, Rotarians, Lions, etcetera are all long established interactive network efforts among business people to connect and create new avenues for profitable emergence. Today, on the verve of change, where everything becomes connected, people start searching for integrity, joint evolution processes and inspiration. Thus they discover the meaningful drive for belonging to the “unique ecosystem of resources to grow impact” – the HUB’s.

What began as HUB in a single location in London 2005 has evolved
into a global network of people taking action towards a single purpose:
impact. The Global HUB Network has been developed with the general
objective of transforming power of innovation through collaboration.
Today there are already more than forty functioning HUBs and above
sixty in the process of development with more than seven thousand
members on five continents, comprising one global network.
The main reason behind the HUB concept lies within the theory that
“there is no shortage of good ideas to solve the issues of the 21st century
but there is an acute lack of collaboration and support structures to help
make them happen” (The Global Hub Network General Assembly, 2012).
The HUB was founded to address this need, thus integrating spaces,
people and ideas. At the HUB, people from every profession, background
and culture are being united by the imagination and drive to pursue
enterprising ideas for creating a better future with sustainable impact.
The latter was the reason that two months ago the HUB’s changed their
name to Impact HUB’s in order to emphasize, clarify and differentiate
their goal.
Impact HUB’s – being part of it
There are several ways and levels of interacting with/in the HUB
concept, namely by becoming a member, a partner, a founder or just part
of the team. By interacting with an Impact HUB, people set an example of
how to collaborate towards a better world and become social innovators.
The Impact HUB is a distributed global network of independent local
spaces that share the same brand and core-identity. Impact HUB’s co-own
the assets of the network and make global decisions on the principle of
“one vote per Impact HUB”. In return for getting access to the benefits
of being a global network, each Impact HUB contributes financially to
maintain global operations and invest in the further development of the
network. To ensure shared quality standards across the network, each
new Impact HUB is approved and voted into the HUB Association following
a peer review process. The idea is to encourage the creation of clusters of
people who are willing to work across the network on common projects
such as the HUB Practice Academy: a distributed learning structure
aimed at disseminating knowledge and talent across our network and our
EU-cluster, coordinating multi-HUB initiatives within Europe and seeking
to participate in the shaping of the EU social innovation agenda.
A key role within the Impact HUB environment is played by the host,
who, as Miranda Willems, host of Impact HUB Amsterdam (where 40%
of the members are international) shares, “are constantly thinking about
what people need, how they interact with each other and how the impact
of the interaction becomes efficient starting from the local and emerging
to the global scale”.
By asking the simple question “What is happening here?”, people
expect to share ideas, knowledge, expertise and identities. This is where
the Host steps in with hospitality, ability to listen and a sense of curiosity,
transforming the conversations towards stimulating social innovation and
enhancing collaboration.
Impact HUB’s host a variety of events, workshops and innovation labs
to foster collaborative learning and thought leadership around topics that
help people take their initiative to the next level. Such an event is the HUB
Express at Impact HUB Amsterdam, where people share their projects and
passion towards empowering social innovation through leading by example.
The HUB concept is more than just ambition and persistence, tackling
major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change not only
for the pure economic growth but mainly for the long-term benefit of
the society. In other words, leading social innovation via such a network
proves that people who channel their passion into action can create
sustainable solutions to real-world problems.
Liliya Terzieva is a lecturer and researcher at the
Academy for Leisure of NHTV Breda University of
Applied Science (
Miranda Willems is host of the Impact HUB
Amsterdam and is an independent process
consultant (

Auteur: Tekst: Liliya Terzieva & Miranda Willems Liliya Terzieva is a lecturer and researcher at the Academy for Leisure of NHTV Breda University of Applied Science ( Miranda Willems is host of the Impact HUB Amsterdam and is an independent process consultant (


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