The conditions under which most civil society organisations (CSOs) operate are changing fast: persistent poverty requires new approaches; rising inequality generates conflict; climate change progresses unabatedly, and biodiversity is under threat.

The Centre is working with innovators from civil society and beyond to overcome these obstacles, and secure a future in which we can all work cooperatively, innovatively, and sustainably.


Innovators Forum

Instinctively CSOs often perceive disruptions as threats, and indeed, if they don’t change fundamentally, many CSOs may find it difficult to survive. However, disruptions can also offer exciting opportunities to organisations ready and willing to embrace them. As innovation can carry risk, sharing experiences among innovators is a critical success factor.

Therefore, March 2017 saw the Centre host our first Innovators' Forum, bringing together more than a dozen civil society innovators to learn from each other, and to conceptualise the overcoming of both abstract and concrete sectorial issues.

During the 1.5-day meeting, the participants identified challenges and opportunities that go hand-in-hand with innovation in the civil society sector.

The participants, keen to keep the momentum from this first meeting alive, have committed to a follow up meeting in order to work in more depth on the ideas generated, which will then be pitched to the leadership of child-focused CSOs.

Building on the success and impact of the 2017 Innovators' Forum the International Civil Society Centre invites for its second gathering of civil society innovators February 2018 in Berlin. Under the title Digital Futures the Forum will explore how CSOs can benefit from digital innovation and how they can navigate the pitfalls and disruptions of digitalisation.

For further inquiries please contact Mathias Henriksen,



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Disrupt&Innovate is a discussion platform for the civil society sector that takes its starting point in the book The Hedgehog and the Beetle – Disruption & Innovation in the Civil Society Sector, written by the Centre’s former Executive Director Burkhard Gnärig.

The project fosters a culture for learning, promotes good practices, and builds a community for change committed to driving the sector’s transformation. The discussion platform:

1. features a weekly blog, written by the Centre’s Executive Director or CSO leaders and changemakers;

2. features the entire The Hedgehog and the Beetle book online, with the ability for readers to comment on and discuss each section;

3. provides an overview of the key topics discussed in the blog and book, allowing users to find other materials on each key topic.

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