Henrike Schlottmann is managing director of ProjectTogether, a non-profit innovation platform based in Germany that helps young people to develop solutions to future challenges facing society, ranging from circular economy projects to climate-positive agriculture and support for refugees. It has already supported more than 1,000 social pioneers and built a network of over 500 volunteer coaches and 400 experts. She previously worked in management consulting at the Boston Consulting Group and gained her first start-up experience as part of an entrepreneurship programme before joining ProjectTogether.
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ProjectTogether acts as an enabler and driving force for social transformation through impactful collective action. New instruments, methods, and processes such as Open Social Innovation (OSI) provide validated operating models, significantly expanding the existing toolbox of methods for collective and coordinated action.
On a broader level, we create an ecosystem for coordinated cross-sectoral collaboration between civil society, state, corporate/business partners and science where solutions are quickly tested and implemented. ProjectTogether was initiated in 2012 as a project by Philipp von der Wippel, who was 16 at the time, and a school friend. Officially founded in 2015, ProjectTogether focused first on coaching offers for young social changemakers and developed from an acceleration platform into the driving force for OSI - most recently by modelling new forms of public-citzen-partnerships in platforms such as #WirVsVirus, UpdateDeutschland and Alliance4Ukraine. What has remained from the founding phase is still the core of ProjectTogether's activities: a fundamental openness, a strong doing-mentality and the belief in a common social mission as well as in the change making potential of each and everyone.
While many relevant actors concentrate on individual solutions in one or some field of action, the core of the activities of ProjectTogether is to build the necessary ecosystem in which collective and coordinated action can develop and thrive in any field of action: whether the challenges of climate change, the circular transformation of our economy and society, or social cohesion in challenged democratic societies. With #WirVsVirus and UpdateDeutschland, we have successfully tested large-scale open social innovation processes in recent years. Most recently, ProjectTogether has created the Alliance4Ukraine: a coordinating alliance of organizations of civil society, foundations, governmental institutions, and private businesses with the aim to create a network of coordinated solutions for displaced persons and refugees from Ukraine
The Alliance4Ukraine exemplifies the potential of collective action in public-citizen-partnerships:
- Cross-sectoral and multistakeholder alliance: 400+ actively involved organizations and stakeholders that collaborate in a process mostly enabled through digital technology
- Established trust by German government: The Alliance4Ukraine is under the shared patronage of the German Federal Minister of the Interior and Communication, and the Minister of State to the Federal Chancellor and Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration.
- Combination of coordination and funding: The quickly built Alliance4Ukraine fund allocates financial resources donated by foundations, businesses, and individuals to meet the financial needs of acutely-strained refugee organizations in a quick and flexible manner.