1 day

30+ speakers

250+ attendees

Health issues and social protection

Building an economy of well-being



The ‘Digital Road to Mannheim’ consists of 8 fully digitized online events. Each roadmap event focusses on a specific topic and aims to connect different Social Economy actors in Europe in a highly interactive format, present best practices and use cases as well as provide first-hand insights in interactive sessions from changemakers all around Europe. The ‘Digital Road to Mannheim’ strengthen the social economy in Europe and harness its contribution to economic development, social inclusion as well as green and digital transitions. 


The 17th of December was dedicated to the topic “Health and social protection – Building an economy of well-being”. To capture the complexities around modern societies, the European Commission aims to measure progress, true wealth and well-being by indicators that complement GDP figures but are more inclusive of environmental and social aspects of progress. Subjective well-being refers to an individual’s own assessment of their quality of life and their situation. Promoting the well-being of its citizens is a key goal for the EU and has gained prominence in the social policy agenda in the last decade. This includes differences or inequalities in health. A very important topic, not just since COVID-19.

Social Economy workers in service of others often work under intense pressure and as they seek to address the needs of others, tend to overlook their own wellbeing. The result: high incidences of burn-out, serious mental health issues and personal relationship breakdowns, which have a severe impact on organisations and the whole social sector. François Bonnici, Head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship at the World Economic Forum, believes “wellbeing inspires welldoing”. In his keynote he presented the “wellbeing initiative” and how the Schwab Foundation always prioritizes the wellbeing of social entrepreneurs.

Sessions included an insight from Paula Schwarz, Fondatrice of The Cloud Nation on “Forming The New Path To Wellbeing In European Healthcare” and an interactive workshop on “New Health & New Work – the dramatic changes due to Covid-19 and the opportunities for the European society” with Dr. Björn Pospiech from the Strong People Institute. The second keynote after the lunch break was from Greta Rossi, Co-Foundress of Recipes for Wellbeing, where she works towards a culture shift for a holistic understanding of wellbeing to enable anyone to contribute more effectively to creating positive change in the world. Her keynote focused on “Digital Well-being in times of COVID-19”. 

The final panel included representatives from the European Commission taking questions from the audience and discussing the topics of the day and their relevance on EU policies. 



10.15 am

Welcome – Live from Mannheim
Björn Pospiech, General Manager & Mindful Entrepreneurship Coach – Strong People Institute
Manuel Kreitmeir, Host and Chairman – Social Entrepreneurship BW
Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit Advanced Technologies, Clusters and Social Economy, DG GROW – European Commission

10.30 am

Francois Bonnici, Director and Head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

10.45 am

Parallel Sessions & Insights (60 minutes)

Paula Schwarz, Fondatrice – The Cloud Nation

Abel Archundia-Pineda, Global Life Sciences & Industrials – ISTARI 
Hendrik von Siemens – Siemens Energy Services
Brittany Kaiser, Co-Founder – Own Your Data Foundation
Bryan Talebi, CEO – Ahura A.I.

Participants and workshop organizers will look into products together that are being supported both by politicians and the private pharmaceutical industry in/of Europe. We will look into natural alternatives for chemical products and depict study results that suggest the usefulness of new medical alternatives deriving from nature and innovation. We will select 1-3 use cases of examples that are being looked into by Bayer Pharma and UCB to cure the pain of suffering persons. The aim here is to consider how the patients could be healed/treated well with new methods in comparison to old methods. We will explore how risks and chances are being evaluated by the pharmaceutical industry and by politicians today. We will look into the funding ecosystem that enables certain products to go to market in Europe. We will conclude the session with a negotiation and communication exercise so as to help innovators in the healthcare realm with their funding and investment aspirations in the long run.

Lise Pape, Founder – Walk with Path
Alyssa Jade McDonald-Bärtl, Board Member – CGIAR System & UnternehmensGrün
Oskar Blakstad, Founder – Explorable AS/Assisted Self-Help
René Wegner, Inventor & Founder – Headis
Frédéric Letzner, Speaker & Author – Letz-Go

Björn Pospiech, General Manager & Mindful Entrepreneurship Coach – Strong People Institute

As early as 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) wrote in its constitution: “Health is the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. In the meantime, there are also many studies and evidence that the topic of health must be viewed holistically.
For example, if someone is not satisfied with their work environment, this is transferred to their mental-psychic condition, which in turn has an essential negative influence on our body language. We get back pain and take measures, such as physiotherapy, to eliminate this pain. Such programs could improve the working environment (e.g. New Work) and at the same time strengthen the employees physically, mentally and socially. Together with our experts from various fields, we discuss the reasons for such one-sided approaches and show possible solutions for Europe through social enterprises.

11.45 am

Main Panel: Presenting results from the sessions

12.00 pm

Lunch break & Parallel Programme

12.00 pm

Joshua Haynes, Founder and Managing Partner – Masawa

Mental illness is set to cost the global economy $16 trillion by 2030 if it’s not addressed. If that weren’t enough, COVID-19 has made the matter significantly worse. There are several ways how the economy would benefit from more investment into mental health: – Problems like social injustice, economic inequality, radicalization and polarization of the society, and even climate change could be approached more successfully in a society that’s more mentally well – The start-up market, which plays a significant role in economic growth, currently prioritizes financial returns over mental health. Supporting founders would dramatically improve the potential of success and positive social impact they could achieve – A shift of focus towards wellbeing, social transformation, and impact in every economic sector is needed to end the practice of sacrificing wellbeing for profit – Investing in workplace wellbeing leads to more engagement and, in turn, more revenue.

01.00 pm

Björn Pospiech, Mindfulness Coach – Strong People Institute

01.15 pm

Greta Rossi, Co-founder of Recipes for Wellbeing

01.30 pm

Parallel Interactive Workshops (90 minutes)

Björn Pospiech, Mindfulness Coach – Strong People Institute
Lorina Brugger, Health Enthusiast, Strong People Institute

Covid-19 has dramatically changed how we work and life. During the past month, a fast development has taken place (e.g. digitization). In this workshop we discuss the impact on health, live and work for our society. We start with a short impulse with examples of what has changed in the past months and what influence this may have had on our way of thinking and acting. After this impulse we will take stock of the personal, corporate and social situation. Guiding questions should be: How has health (physical, mental and social) changed in recent months? What new working methods have become necessary? How has the transition process been shaped (also in terms of health)? In the third step we will then work out possible solutions. The starting point for the discussion will be the thoughts of Dr. Björn Pospiech on the topics of oneness and mindfulness. We want to critically question these and, together with all participants, look for solutions for a healthier and more satisfied future.

Carina Veeckman – Researcher, IMEC (Research Center)

Agostino Cortesi, Full professor of Computer Science – Unibversità Ca’ Foscari Venezia
Chiara Leonardi – Researcher, FBK (Research Center)
Marzia Cescon – Researcher, SmartVenice
Eefje Cottenier – Entrepreneur, De Stuyverij
Lilla Balla, Researcher – House of Parents Foundation
Charalampos Chatzimallis – Researcher, VILABS

In this session the main results of the Families_Share H2020-ICT project will be presented and discussed. Families_Share developed a bottom-up solution and a co-designed digital-welfare platform supporting families with sharing time and tasks related to childcare, parenting, after-school and leisure activities and other household tasks by a self-help approach. Families_Share developed a bottom-up solution and a co-designed digital-welfare platform supporting families with sharing time and tasks related to childcare, parenting, after-school and leisure activities and other household tasks—with a particular focus on low-income families. The results obtained by several CityLabs in different European countries will be discussed. In particular we will focus on issues related to: – the co-design of a digital platform for social innovation – the trust and risk management when dealing with minors and their personal data – the impact evaluation of a social innovation action.

Peter Vandor, Senior Researcher – Social Entrepreneurship Center, Vienna University of Economics and Business
Susi Hillebrand, CEO – HIL Foundation
Jakob Detering, Managing Director – Social Impact Award
Raluca Bacinschi-Stratulat, CEO – iziBac
Hannah Lux, Co-Founder & CEO – Vollpension

Especially in time of crisis, the public searches for heroes as they offer hope and inspiration. Social Innovators are very often presented as such heroes: They work towards the common good, they support disadvantaged individuals, they offer crisis relief, and even though there is a pandemic going on, they don’t give up, but become even more innovative and immediately act. What does this actually mean for the social innovators themselves however and what does such an enormous external pressure causes? This workshop will first present insights into the wellbeing of social innovators, based on several surveys conducted by the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Then there will be an interactive panel discussion delivering insights into the topic from the perspectives of different stakeholders. After the panel discussion there will be an open debate with the audience.

Loek Caubo, President – Association Internationale de la Mutualité
Sibylle Reichert, Executive Director – Association Internationale de la Mutualité

Kadri Haller-Kikkatalo, Head of Department of Analytics – Estonian Health Insurance Fund
Veronika Kräftner, Social Insurance Institution of the self-employed
Luis Vale Flores of the health mutual Montepio Rainha D. Leonor
João Gomes of the health mutual Montepio Rainha D. Leonor

Artificial intelligence technologies are already being used in healthcare today – and this will increase in the future. Because highly sensitive data are involved here and in many other areas, the link between ethics and AI is absolutely necessary. But what advantages do exist in using AI in the healthcare system? Whether in diagnostics, therapy or prevention: in almost all areas, efficient learning from data promises great progress. In this respect, AI promises to help us to stay healthy longer and, if necessary, to become healthy again. Four panelists discuss how health mutuals aready use AI in their daily work and how it benefits the patient. At the same time, they discuss the requirements of what a framework should look like, so that it supports mutuals 

03.00 pm

Panel: Workshop Hosts presenting results / Discussion with EU officials
Dana-Carmen Bachmann, Head of Unit Modernisation of Social Protection Systems – DG EMPL, European Commission
Patrick Klein, Head of sector – Social Economy and social enterprise, DG GROW – European Commission

03.20 pm

Recap of the day: Poetic recording
Reza Solhi, Co-Founder & Managing Partner – Heartbeat Edutainment

03.30 pm

Conclusion & The End