The experimentation phase of the Bulgarian SocKETs lab kicked off in October with the Design Workshop held in Sofia Tech Park, gathering actors of the Bulgarian e-health innovation ecosystem. Acceptance towards technologies development, innovation ecosystem and societal issues related to KETs were discussed to set up the base of the Bulgarian SocKETs lab activities.

As stated in the SocKETs co-creation methodology, the kick off meeting of a SocKETs lab – also referred as Design Workshop – aims to explore the socio-ethical issues related to KETs development as well as to suggest working practices for public engagement. And this is, with no surprise, how it started in Bulgaria.

The 11 attendees, actors of the Bulgarian e-health innovative sector, gathered for a one-day workshop organised by CRA and hosted by the Sofia Tech Park. They were carefully selected to represent the current landscape of eHealth innovation in Bulgarian and came from various organizations: SMEs, start-ups, universities, health institution, social engagement expert, etc.

The challenges identified during the preliminary work (analysis of the local and cultural context) served as a starting point for the discussion. Several topics were debated: some related to administrative or legacy components of the development of eHealth devices, others related to the societal acceptance of innovations or the mistrust in the health system.

The participants agreed that the principal challenge that they wanted to see tackled in Bulgaria would be to strengthen the innovation and technological culture among citizens and medical professionals. Therefore, this issue will be at the centre of the next workshop – the Maturation Workshop – where participants will collaborate, using co-creation and citizen engagement tools, to prototype ideas and suggestions for innovation. Citizens and members of various civil or professional associations will join the process. Some of them have already shown concern and wish for engagement with industry. This augurs for a very enriching and dynamic Maturation Workshop!

Want to be involved in SocKETs?

If you want to join this societal engagement movement in Bulgaria, reach Tzetza, our Bulgarian SocKETs lab leader!