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National Social Projects Contest INNOSOTSIUM Starts

17 September 2018
Старт Всероссийского конкурса социальных проектов «ИННОСОЦИУМ»

The Eastern Economic Forum saw the announcement of the start of the National Social Projects Contest INNOSOTSIUM, a joint project by the Roscongress Foundation and the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation. Contest applications will be accepted starting from 1 October 2018.

University students majoring in communication, media, and design are encouraged to apply. The contest aims to draw the youth’s attention to current public issues and their potential solutions, as well as to spread knowledge of effective social design. Participants must focus their projects on one of the following areas: healthcare, environmental protection, education, active longevity, inclusiveness, women’s leadership, territory development, and culture. Finalists will be announced at the Russian Investment Forum in February and receive monetary rewards to implement their projects, which they will then be able to present at SPIEF 2019.

Artem Malgin, Vice-Rector of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia explained why students are the right target audience and why they will be interested in participating. «This contest makes sense to students, because nowadays their lives and education are project based. They are accustomed to taking interim tests, writing final papers in groups, as projects. Even funding comes in the form of grants for academic and social projects. Right now, the primary requirement for projects is feasibility; otherwise, the students do not come. Universities can serve as a platform that teaches students the basics of making their projects implementable and cost-effective.»

Solving social issues is also impossible without corporate participation. «The Russian Copper Company has positive experience with holding a contest for upperclassmen. It demonstrated that local communities will enthusiastically get involved in social design, solving pressing issues, and achieving objectives, if their ideas get support. Moreover, the issues and objectives they focus on are usually not overly global and are quite actionable. Once these projects are implemented, they initiate a chain of positive changes in the region. Together with the Roscongress Foundation, we want to scale these ideas for the whole country», added Anna Shabarova, Vice President for Human Resources and Corporate Social Responsibility at RCC.

The Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation supports the Roscongress Foundation initiative. «The contest announced by INNOSOTSIUM, the Centre for Social Communications Development, aims to identify the best mechanisms for promoting various social topics. One of the announced categories, Osobiy Vzglyad (Special View), is an extension of the Osobiy Vzglyad programme for supporting visually impaired people. It is a great way to draw the attention of young people to pressing issues such as the isolation of people with disabilities. Students also get the opportunity to learn about the most effective methods of communication from digital generation professionals,» said Maria Melnichenko, Programme Director of the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation.

«MEMORY OF GENERATIONS Charitable Foundation deems participation in such socially significant contests vital and welcomes the opportunity to support the organisers, the Roscongress Foundation. They, just like us, are engaged in an important matter: cultivating proactive attitudes within the populace, encouraging people to get involved in solving public issues. We are confident that this contest will heighten the youth’s interest in public affairs and, through fresh, original ideas, create new, effective technologies for social communication, including those related to active longevity,» says Marina Pavlenko, Deputy Executive Director of the MEMORY OF GENERATIONS Charitable Foundation.

Elena Marinina, Deputy Director of the Roscongress Foundation Directorate for the Socio-Economic Agenda, commented on the significance of the contest. «A culture of social responsibility, involvement in achieving the common good arises in society through high-quality social communication. We are developing the INNOSOTSIUM project in Russia to support the development and scaling of modern and effective technologies of social communication, to take them to the next level. Therefore, an important component of the contest is the educational programme, aimed at developing skills and competencies for creating social communication for the younger generation as the future depends on them.»

Alexandra Boldyreva, Executive Director of the Donors’ Forum Association also supports the Roscongress Foundation’s initiative. «Public affairs should be attractive to the youth. Much of public affairs touches on complicated subjects, so it is crucial that social issues and their solutions do not deter young people. The philanthropy sector has very high hopes for the young generation, so it is necessary to involve them, present them information in an accessible way. We realised this seven years ago. Since then, every year, we have been holding a contest for the best, most vivid, sincere, and fascinating photo stories about philanthropy called ‘OBJECTIVE charity’. It is our answer to the question of what effective social communication should look like.»

In the interest of supporting the idea of the INNOSOTSIUM contest and the identification of issues and trends in the development of social communication in Russia and the world, EEF included a panel discussion called ‘The Forces Driving Change in Society: How to Create Effective Social Communication’. It featured commentary from media and communication experts, representatives of socially oriented businesses, the state, and institutions for supporting the social sector.

The discussion participants concluded that social communication helps create the necessary trust for interactions between the state, business, and society and helps reach comprehensive solutions for social issues. Anton Dolgov, Executive Director of the Presidential Grants Foundation, which has supported social projects in various regions of Russia for a year and a half, noted that, today, NGOs are either embarrassed to talk about themselves and their projects or they do not know how to do it professionally. At the same time, «projects that have a ripple effect can be considered the most successful. Sustainability requires communication. Without it, even thousands of acts of kindness would not turn into processes that change society for the better.»

Social communication is also an essential tool for fostering trust between the government and society. It not only helps inform citizens about the state’s social initiatives, it also allows the state to get feedback about initiatives’ effectiveness and maybe even involve the population in their implementation. The mayor of the city of Magadan Yury Grishan agreed: «through communication, we make the government more accessible, more transparent, allowing people to understand that they play a significant role in the management of the city.»

In turn, Ekaterina Son, CEO of Effie Awards Russia, the most prestigious marketing award in the world, noted that transparency is one of the factors determining the role of businesses in the system of social communications, on par with the globalization of social and environmental issues and the emergence of a generation Z, consumers with an entirely new, socially responsible motivation. Today, companies that do not participate in solving social issues or do not know how to communicate about it are losing. The new generation of consumers chooses brands «that resonate with their inner being and values. This is why social responsibility for business is not just charity imposed by necessity or not a way to cut costs. It is becoming a business growth factor.» In these conditions, business does not exist without adequate social communication.

For more information about the contest, visit