Research project

Open Social Innovation

The aim of this project, which has been endorsed by the German Federal Chancellery, is to deepen our understanding about Open Social Innovation (OSI) as a process and method to tackle societal challenges. OSI is an approach that opens the social innovation process and encourages a variety of stakeholders to be part of the generating ideas and scaling solutions. We adopt a real-time and in-situ research design and have we have followed the experiments of #WirvsVirus and UpdateDeutschland as independent learning partners. Our objective is to develop knowledge that advances scholarship and informs policy makers. Our principles are rigor and practical adequacy. 


#WirvsVirus is a social innovation experiment in Germany initiated at the beginning of the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 by seven civil society organizations and supported by the German government. Through an open call to action, #WirVsVirus identified pressing challenges related to COVID-19, such as how to quickly digitalize health-care services, how to help citizens of all ages to cope with lockdown-induced isolation, and how to respond to increasing instances of domestic violence. Read more...



UpdateDeutschland is the follow-up Open Social Innovation project of #WirvsVirus in 2021, initiated by ProjectTogether and endorsed by the German Chancellery. The call addressed broad challenges from almost all areas of society e.g., climate change, government tasks, or mental health. Read more... 


Who we are

  • Johanna Mair, Professor for Organization, Strategy and Leadership

  • Thomas GegenhuberProfessor of management of sociotechnical transitions at the Johannes Kepler University Linz and visiting researcher at the Leuphana University Lüneburg

  • René Lührsen, Research Associate

  • Laura Thäter, Research Associate

  • Anna-Lena Schröder, Student Research Assistant

  • Lukas Schmid, Student Research Assistant