The social sciences focus on the study of aspects of social life and the relationships among individuals within a society. But what is the importance of the social sciences for social innovation and how can social scientists help in solving many of the world’s biggest issues, including cybersecurity, crime or even human wealth? Education again plays a huge role here. The Hub Events, in collaboration with Nicholas Protonotarios, have been hosting the Hub Science Events for seven consecutive years; a series of free-of-charge scientific lectures aiming to present the natural and social sciences in an exciting and understandable way and to initiate and engage the audience in their magical but possibly misunderstood world. So, is ‘science for everyone’ just another motto? Let’s read about Nicholas’s initiative in collaboration with ‘The Hub Events’.  


The Hub Events 


Intro question: What is the social innovation Hub Science all about? 

‘Hub Science’ aims to present the natural as well as social sciences in an exciting fashion and to guide the general public through the magical and possibly misunderstood world of science. Our popular science lectures are held at the Hub Events, Athens. Our free-of-charge series offers popular and easy-to-grasp university-level lectures by speakers from all over the world with outstanding research in their fields. Our motto is ‘science for everyone’. Lately, Hub Science has managed to attract more than 400 enthusiastic attendants per lecture.  


Why did you (or your partners) start this social innovation? 

The Hub Science initiative began out of sheer interest. We wanted to have access to great lecturers in Athens.  


How did you come up with the idea? Was a creative or collaborative process involved? 

Nicholas Protonotarios and Konstantinos Politis came up with the initial concept of Hub Science by simply wondering how to invite world-class scientists to share their research in Athens. A few years later (we are now ready to launch the 8th year), Eleni Grammatikopoulou joined our team.  


What were you afraid of at the beginning and how (if at all) did you overcome your fear? 

Naturally, we were a little afraid to begin with! Our main concern was the attendance. However, Athenians seemed to love Hub Science from its very beginning.  


What were the beginnings of the social innovation? (i.e. how did you build your initiative, business, NGO from zero?). 

We formed our team quite effortlessly. All of our team members were extremely passionate right from the start.  


How did you attract public attention to the issue you wanted to tackle and make others believe in your purpose and potential? 

Mainly through social media, by which almost 100% of our public was engaged. However, we also created a mailing list and posted press releases to all mainstream and non-mainstream Greek media. 


How did you make sure that your idea actually fits the needs of the users? 

The immediate engagement of the people made us believe in our initiative right from the start.  


How did you raise the money for your idea and what is your advice for others considering DIY fundraising? 

Through collaborations and sponsorships, although it became increasingly difficult after 2012, for obvious reasons.  


How did you scale your social innovation and what tips for scaling could you share? 

Apart from the fact that the main secret is that there is no secret, the team must always believe in its main goal. Our main goal, especially since we are science and technology enthusiasts, was to promote science education and communication. We strongly believe that motivating people to experience and understand science can benefit – or even change – our society and make it stronger and able to cope with the difficulties that the financial crisis has imposed on a global scale. Hence, the main tip is to contribute.  


How do you change the whole system? 

It would be so arrogant of us to claim that we had changed the whole system. However, we believe we have contributed to the improvement of science lectures in Athens, through our initiative, over the past decade. We also aim to encourage members of the society to think in a scientific manner.  


What would be the one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social innovator, a member of the Social Innovation Academy, who has only two things at the moment: a big heart and a willingness to do something? 

A big heart and an endless willingness to do something are the main ingredients to contribute! Therefore, always show solidarity and CONTRIBUTE unstoppably! Always do the right thing, no matter what. It’s not a matter of ethics, it’s a way of life.  

Interviewed by Kostas Sotiropoulos

Nicholas Protonotarios (https://www.linkedin.com/in/protost/) is a science and technology enthusiast. His aim is to actively contribute to the community through the Hub Science Lecture series, through the promotion of science education and communication. He strongly believes that motivating people to experience and understand science can benefit – or even change – our society and make it stronger and able to cope with the difficulties that the financial crisis has imposed on a global scale. 

Would you like to learn more from other inspiring social innovators?  

Check out the  Social Innovation Academy  – the first fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation.  

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