Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

The main beneficiaries of Esélykör are: people with disabilities living in Székesfehérvár, non-governmental organizations dealing with disability issues, non-governmental development organizations, Székesfehérvár City (local government). The member organizations of Esélykör have significant expertise among deaf and hard of hearing people, people with reduced mobility, people with visual impairments and citizens with mental disabilities.

Co-creation process

Esélykör’s main activities are:
  • Sensitizing society to the problems of their disabled peers.
  • Providing services to citizens with disabilities in Székesfehérvár.
  • Contributing to the employment opportunities of the disabled people in Székesfehérvár through organizing joint programs and operating information channels.
  • The members of the network work together to promote their interests through Esélykör.
The main innovation of Esélykör is that it has orchestrated strong cooperation among NGOs supporting people with disabilities in Székesfehérvár, and because of this bond it is able to facilitate a prosperous collaboration with the local government, to represent and act for the interests of the citizens it represents. Esélykör has an effect on the involved non-governmental organizations as well through the Civil Centre Foundation’s (CiCE’s) development activities. The municipality, although being an informal network, mentions Esélykör in its strategic documents and its funding has a separate line in the city budget. Esélykör is a bottom-up, voluntary and spontaneous innovation network, operating as an informal network at the moment. Esélykör can be interpreted as a centralized network with CiCE at its core as a NAO (Νetwork Αdministration Οrganization).

Digital Transformation Process

This case study is not about a digital transformation process, but about social innovation.

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

As a result of the activities of Esélykör, disabled citizens of Szekesfehervar are able to defend their interests more effectively, and organizations working for people with different disabilities have a cooperative attitude instead of their previous competitive approach. Not only can their services deliver greater coverage, but also the organizations’ tasks and operations become more efficient and transparent. Communication with non-professional organizations (municipalities, companies, the general public) has improved as well. The network is able to use municipal resources more efficiently along the designated goals (e.g. social sensitization). NGOs are able to respond more flexibly to social needs by working in a network. The network can utilize the capacities of all organizations in a synergic way, so it can respond better to unexpected situations. The network has greater social embeddedness than the individual organizations themselves, so they can act more effectively to assert their interests.

Challenges & Bottlenecks

The general management knowledge and the legal knowledge of small NGOs are insufficient, their objectives are not coherent and consistent. Their internal communication is ineffective, it is often full of conflict. Due to lack of management knowledge and internal conflicts, the civil sector is not credible to other actors of the economy. If they are not able to articulate their goals (social impact), then it is not worth working with them. There is no consensus-based social vision, this way there is no strategy. While NGOs compete for scarce resources, which may be good in certain cases, they do not develop a culture of cooperation. The barrier to municipal and civil cooperation is that the municipality can only cooperate with a non-governmental organization that is legally registered. However, this entails significant costs and time, meaning that the transaction costs of cooperation for many civilians outweigh the benefits. These self-organized civil groups are not enter collaboration with the municipality in a network system.

Transferability & Replicability

Based on the effective operation of Esélykör, the municipality would like to initiate similar processes among NGOs of other professional areas to establish networks and to take over complex social services from the municipality. It also shows that the Municipality wants to launch a planned, top-down innovation process, based on the experiences with the bottom-up innovation process of Esélykör.

Success Factors

The city (local government) saw the value of working with NGOs in the delivery of public services, but also realized that communicating with them separately would create an inefficient system and therefore supported the establishment of the network. The city administration visits Esélykör’s event regularly. They also support the communication of the network, which is beneficial to both actors, as of course this also serves political purposes. The administration listens to Esélykör’s suggestions, integrates them into its strategies in so far it is possible, and contributes to their implementation as well. European Union grants and funds also support network based operation models, as these organizations alone do not have the capacity to prepare, submit and implement large and complex projects. Non-governmental organizations cannot take over complex public services from the local government, while a network of NGOs is able to do so. Everyone can put their best knowledge, experience and resources into this network, and build a comprehensive, complex service portfolio.

Lessons learned

The success of the network is largely due to the activity and coordination capabilities of the network administration organization (NAO), the CiCE. The structure of the network, the presence of a NAO, contributes significantly to the efficient and effective functioning of the network, which is why we consider innovation primarily as structural innovation. The professional work of neither the local government nor the individual NGOs has changed radically, but they have become more efficient and effective.