Out of The Box expert pool has once again gathered to follow up on the Novi Sad meeting, where the preparation for the 2021-2025 strategic plan was launched.
Four working groups covered the topics of Alternative Democracies, Social Cohesion and Solidarity Policies, Economy with Social Mission and Sustainability Incubator.
The possibility to initiate change is recognized as the main motivator for the civil society sector. However the question that the sector faces right now is how to translate what people really want into priorities that would ensure direct democracy, especially with the added complication presented by shrinking civic spaces caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Are local level actions for boosting participation the solution? How can we promote critical thinking and empathy in policy level with democracy models? The first two Working Groups considered the implications and put a solid base for future strategic planning.
Meanwhile, the Economy with Social Mission Working group considered the development and continuation of more entrepreneurial approach. Social entrepreneurship emerged as a good model for reviving slowly dying rural areas; disappointingly, the term itself is still unknown or insufficiently clarified outside the area-specific circles. The inclusion of social entrepreneurship in school curricula and education systems needs act as a step forward within society. Local, community-based initiatives should act as role models for social cohesion development, boosting solidarity and inclusiveness.
The final, Sustainability Working Group considered more abstract yet needed steps for the close future. Sustainability is a term that unites and represents a vast range of ideas and initiatives, from personal footprint to global level impact on the climate and the world. The Working Group fully recognizes the youth-led initiatives for a more sustainable, greener Earth and a diverse range of approaches to be adopted in order to ensure the set goals are being met. From ancient olive tree trimmers to applications that monitor personal footprint and the implementation of SMART cities, the working group has gathered their vast expertise in order to define their idea of sustainability strategy of 2021-2025.
The Working Group meetings serve as an important milestone in the work-in-progress, which is the OTB strategy planning. The resolutions of the working groups will be adapted into separate policy documents that will define the direction of the organisation for years to come.