Want to hangout? A talk with Severin von Hünerbein

Some students from team SUI 4 are organising another CHANGER Hangout BERN. The event was born in Berlin, and it’s concept is simple: foster inspiring conversations and connections. It’s a cozy meet-up for all people interested in social entrepreneurship, social change, and just in general, DOING GOOD! The night also celebrates individuals and organisations who work out social issues. Introducing Severin von Hünerbein, who is a core team member of the Euforia team in Bern. We had a chat with the inspiring co-director about the upcoming hangout, Euforia’s global movement and what it means to be solution focused…


How does Euforia foster change-making potential in youth?
euforia uses viral peer-to-peer marketing and non-formal education in order to mobilize the untapped potential of our generation. We offer young people a platform to explore, develop and connect their changemaking skills. We train and mobilize committed youth to show cynical and passive youth that our involvement is not just possible but also important, fun and effective in addressing global challenges. We connect initiatives that offer concrete opportunities to make a difference with youth and train youth to design and launch their own initiatives to take up global challenges locally. We help youth to rebrand youth commitment: We use provocative youth language, videos, social media and fun activities to promote and valorize the voluntary commitment of youth as “the cool thing to do!”

What is unique about your methodology?
We offer highly intense and practical learning experience for all those who are ready to take responsibility and contribute to creating a more sustainable future. We give youth and young adults full ownership over the project, right from the start combined with the opportunity for real learning by doing, with an oops-culture that allows you to truly learn through failure as well as success. To live the experience with others we have a fun and passionate community that is dedicated towards learning and never forget to enjoy the ride. To ensure we support our participants to continuously build on their professionalism we mix the qualities of youth with the skills of experienced professionals and by doing so create a unique learning experience for young adults and senior professionals who engage in the process.

What makes your movement global?
We are open to sharing our methodology and theories with everybody who shares our values and is committed to create impact locally through organizing the imp!act event. We have had imp!act events all over Switzerland, in France, Austria, Colombia, Peru, Rwanda, and soon also in London (19.-22. March), Berlin (13.-16. of April) and many other places (if you want to sign up for an imp!act, go here). In addition, we organize events in cooperation with universities, NGOs, international organizations and companies. This shows that our approach of (youth) empowerment is working across national, cultural and organizational borders.


Tell us about your style of collaboration, what makes it radical?
Radical collaboration is one of our five core values:

“We collaborate radically: we give everyone the opportunity to reach his/her full potential within a context of inclusion, competence and openness.”

In short, we seek potential across existing boundaries and silos to co-create unlikely platforms to brainstorm and implement solutions for a (more) sustainable future, e.g. through connecting top-managers from major Swiss companies with young idealists where both can learn from each other and develop leadership projects.


What global challenges is Euforia aiming to address this year? How do you test the need for these ideas?

Our approach is to empower young (& older) people to tackle global challenges on a local level, by turning their personal ideas into real life projects or actions. We do not specifically focus on particular challenges such as immigration or global warming. What is important for us is that our participants identify their values, passions and strengths and learn how to use them to solve the issues they care about most. In other words, we believe in untapping the potential of changemaking in both young and old. We are using surveys, reports, and our events a s a way to test the need for it. So far, we have been rather successful.

What does it mean to be solution-focused?
In my view, the most important about being solution focused is to have a strong vision that responds to real challenges and is based on your values. Then it’s about translating this strong vision into smart objectives. Equally or even more important is to align a team you trust on the vision so it is shared by everyone.
I have seen many people trying to be efficient but are not creating value because they are doing more of the same instead of really questioning why and what they are actually doing. What also is important about solution focus – is that you go into the solution right away, rather than trying to solve a problem.

What makes you The Changer?
At euforia, our aim is to create jobs that we love and where we can live our values, passions and strengths and generate impact. We are investing into our wellbeing, into our personal and professional development, into our team and into our community to create the most fruitful environment we can imagine ourselves. In addition, we believe everybody should find their Changer job as well for doing good to themselves and to society. And if they can’t find that job, we try and support them to create it as part of a project or in an existing context.

What is the social entrepreneurship field like in Switzerland?
I see motivated and engaged people, projects, organizations in many different places in Switzerland. There is a significant movement of changemakers who are unhappy with the current state of the world and take their (our) destiny in their own hands. However, where I see a challenge is in connecting the different ideas and initiatives with each other, i.e. creating platforms and radical collaboration in the Social Entrepreneurship field in Switzerland.

Why should people come to The Hangout in Bern?
Because it’s going to be fun and before all inspiring … and who knows maybe you will find your next Changer job. You are not going to regret it.


Want to meet (other) people working in the social impact sector and find out how you can get your foot in the door? Thinking of starting your own social project or business and want some tips? Then come join us for some informal drinks, inspiring conversations and connections.

17 March 2016

Facebook event here

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