Heritage and Social Innovation Observatory

An open space to research, learn and share socially innovative ideas


We are looking for cultural initiatives that include social innovation

Participe in our questionnaire!

What’s Hesiod?

The Heritage and Social Innovation Observatory (HESIOD) is a platform aiming to identify, analyse, give visibility and disseminate socially innovative experiences in the field of cultural heritage: museums, collaborative projects, innovation labs, community centres, shared workspaces, co-creation, co-production, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding processes, etc. Hesiod is part of a non-profit research project developed at Oxford and UCL universities.

Social innovation are new ideas or processes (products, services and models) that meet various social needs and contribute as well to the creation of new relationships and/or collaborations. In other words, these are good innovations for society and at the same time they improve its capacity to act.

Social Innovation + Cultural Heritage

In the field of cultural heritage, we use the term Social Innovation when the following factors meet:

  • New solutions -products, services, models, processes- are created complying best with the objectives of conservation, management, dissemination, defence or enhancement of cultural heritage.
  • Social needs are met, such as the access to: education, science and knowledge, culture, quality and non-offshoring employment, new technologies, participation and democracy, environmental conservation, sustainable development, social inclusion, integration and gender equality.
  • New types of relationships are created, improving the society’s capacity to act. It incorporates itself to the citizenship as an active agent in innovation processes.

What is (or is not) social innovation in the field of cultural heritage?
Here are some examples


Obtain data

Conduct a basic research through questionnaires, fieldwork and case studies in order to know where, how and who innovates socially in the field of cultural heritage

Build a community of innovators

Create an online platform through which socially innovative initiatives are more visible, they can be interconnected, cooperate, create networking and share experiences

Mapping and analysis

Move to an online map this information to have a geographical analysis tool. Carry out comparative studies between different cases, regions or countries


Enter the debate on cultural heritage and social innovation in the society and academic world, by means of organizing and participating in conferences and scientific meetings


Design and implementation of a general survey on the state of social innovation in organisations dedicated to management, conservation, protection and dissemination of heritage. In this phase the information will be obtained through a closed questionnaire

Data processing and analysis of results and selection of specific socially innovative cases for a  more detailed study via qualitative strategies and fieldwork. Creation of an online platform to share the information obtained

Organisation of workshops and conferences, as an open meeting space for administrations, organisations, social entrepreneurs and experts to analyse, discuss and share the issues object of research. Participation in international events

Create an international network of researchers and social innovators in the field of cultural heritage. Evaluate the usefulness of the results, consider new challenges. Schedule a future phase of consolidation, extension and improvement of HESIOD

Leading the project

Dr. Jesús Fernández received his PhD at the University of Oviedo (Spain). Since 2008 he is director of different archaeological fieldworks and member of several research projects in various universities. From 2012 onwards, he is a social entrepreneur and director of an archaeological-museological community project in Asturias (Spain): La Ponte-Ecomuseum.

Currently he is a postdoctoral researcher (Marie Curie Cofund) in Oxford University for the period 2015-2016, and Honorary Research Associate in the Institute of Archaeology (University College London). His work is centred in social innovation in cultural heritage and cultural landscapes.

more about


The main goal of the Heritage & SociaI Innovation Questionnaire is to assess the state of social innovation in cultural heritage through the organisations, institutions and projects related to its management, conservation and dissemination.

Estimated  time to complete the questionnaire is approximately 15 minutes. The data provided will be published in this map (link) under a Creative Commons license. The aim is to expand both knowledge and information about socially innovative projects, give visibility to the participating initiatives, facilitate their interconnection and build a community of social innovators in the field of cultural heritage.

Thank you for your collaboration.


    Heritage and Social Innovation Observatory (HESIOD).
    Villa Tecnológica El Sabil, s/n
    33115 Villanueva de Santo Adriano
    Asturias (Spain)
    Mail: projecthesiod@gmail.com