Social Innovation Lab

The Social Innovation Lab at SPH offers students an opportunity to learn and experience how new products, processes or partnerships can tackle unsolved problems in society. You will get inspired with solutions to climate change, deep poverty, inequalities, alienation, and many more as well as you will have the opportunity to experience how to tackle specific societal problems on your own (or within a team). 

Possible project ideas are listed below, but they are not limited to:

  • new technologies and/or processes to fight deep poverty
  • new technologies and/or processes to promote equality and inclusion
  • new technologies and/or processes to reduce global warming
  • new technologies and/or processes to produce value from waste
  • new technologies and/or processes to create awareness and engage communities about societal problems
  • new technologies and/or processes to make supply-chain transparent and ethical


To summarize, our goal is to guide you through three main steps:

1. Get inspired about social innovation:

  • Social Hackathons: Early-stage social entrepreneurs from the Capacity Zurich community solve their technical challenges together with students.
  • Social Talks: Experts from academia and/or industry share insights on societal problems and new solutions to them.

2. Get started with your impact-driven project:

  • Student project support: Mentorship, coaching, seed funding and access to SPH network and facilities for student projects on social innovation.
  • Social Innovation Journey: A 3-month program based on Human-Centered Design techniques to help you identify a societal need and try-out possible solutions to address it. Offered at two levels: beginners (from ideation to prototype) and intermediate (refined prototype). For teams with at least a student enrolled at ETHZ.

3. Get visible in the social innovation ecosystem:

  • Social2 Event: Meet the Swiss social innovation ecosystem and get ready to take your idea to the next level.
  • Young Social Innovator Award: A prize for student-driven social innovations in Switzerland. (coming soon)



Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Social Innovation Expert: Dr.Barbara La Cara

If you have an idea in this area, want support or just want to have a chat over a cup of coffee, then contact Barbara our «Social Innovation Lab» Lead.