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SYNERGASIA – Platform for Matching CSR Resources with Local Needs

The innovation refers to a structured platform for cooperation between the Municipality of Amaroussion and the private sector for the public benefit. Corporate Social Responsibility resources are used to cover identified local needs in synergy with public interventions/services. Following a minor organisational reform, a team of officials has been trained to implement an innovative customised methodology that allows visibility and accountability and promotes the extroversion of public sector.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

The city of Amaroussion hosts the largest number of enterprises in Greece (mainly service providers) with some thousands of employees commuting on a daily basis. The impact on the quality of life of local population is considerable, while, on the other hand, there hasn’t been any type of interaction between those companies and the local community apart from a few random cases.

The Municipal Authority has acknowledged the situation and established the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Office to develop synergies with private sector, however the staff lacked the methodology, procedures and tools, since that type of service was not a typical local authority one.

To that end, an external organisation (ACTION PLUS Social Coop) highly experienced in social innovation projects, were assigned to customise their methods and tools to our needs and conditions. Thus, the Municipality of Amaroussion developed the innovatory ‘SYNERGASIA’ Platform Project and proceeded to the necessary organisational reforms and staff training.

The ‘SYNERGASIA’ Platform matches CSR resources with identified local needs in a mutually beneficiary way. Most importantly, it mobilises resources towards identified needs that cannot be covered by the City’s regular budget lines.

The Platform was piloted for eighteen months with remarkable and measurable results and today it has been mainstreamed into the routine operations of the Municipality.

Private sector on the other hand, welcomed the Innovation, since it ensures that the allocated CSR funds are used in an accountable, sustainable and measurable way, and may gain high visibility via the dissemination channels of the City of Amaroussion.

The main procedures and tools used are:

  • Job descriptions / allocation of tasks
  • Identification of needs
  • Criteria-based prioritisation
  • Drafting of Action Plan
  • Communication / Dissemination Plan
  • Monitoring, Reporting and Feedback

Regarding outcomes, the ‘Cooperation’ Platform was piloted during the pandemic, and it proved a valuable tool to attract necessary resources to cover urgent local needs. Apart from that though, in many cases our first contact with companies has resulted in relations of trust over the last two years.

The range of activities funded via the Cooperation Platform is wide: accessibility infrastructure in school buildings, provision of IT infrastructure to school staff, meals and medicines provided via the City’s social service, seminars, art exhibitions, environmental projects, etc.

So far, the population benefited are estimated to 25.000.

It should also be noted that from an initial emergency-type of support, today we run joint projects that can be also characterised as innovative, such as the establishment of the Amaroussion Digital Academy, supported by the University of Piraeus and large IT companies. The process of negotiating with companies about their potential contribution to identified priorities, has proven an extremely fruitful ground for generating new ideas about areas of cooperation often related to companies’ field of expertise.

The SYNERGASIA Platform Project can be scaled up from the local to the regional level with the proper customisation of procedures. It can also be transferred to other cities with the necessary adaptations to local conditions and priorities.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

The ‘SYNERGASIA’ Platform Project has brought into the Municipality of Amaroussion a new mentality about the benefits of working together with the business community. So far, cooperation was random, isolated from the City’s priorities and, usually, it had the form of in-kind contribution to vulnerable groups.

Through the Platform, the CSR Office of the Municipality has acquired the know-how to operate in an extrovert, structured and effective manner in order to create lasting and trustworthy relations with the private sector, on the basis of specific criteria and code of cooperation.

Thus, in the context of the ‘SYNERGASIA’ Platform, we managed to develop a structured approach to our relations with the private sector, by addressing their CSR departments. We present them our Action Plan and vision and ask them to assist us in a list of identified priority areas, from social services to construction projects that, at the end of the day, will benefit local population.

What is the current status of your innovation?

The ‘SYNERGASIA’ Platform Project completed the piloting phase and has been mainstreamed in the operational framework of the Municipality of Amaroussion, after a positive evaluation of the results achieved. A trained team of staff members of the Amaroussion CSR Office have been working for the last two years bringing in significant results.

Our pursuit for the future is the expansion of the Municipality's networking with more companies and the widespread dissemination of a cooperation culture between the Local Authority and the Business Community, in the context of a partnership for the sustainable development of the city.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

The project was based on a concept and methodology developed by ACTION PLUS Social Coop, a team experienced in developing social innovation projects.

Amarousion was the first city in Greece that embraced Action Plus’ vision of matching local needs and CSR resources in a structured way. ACTION PLUS worked together with the Municipal Authority to customise methodology and tools, design the Action Plan and pilot it. They also provided training and developed the communication and branding strategy.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

Users are the municipal authority and the private sector via their CSR departments.

Main stakeholders are the companies, and especially those based at Amaroussion, local communities and the Municipal Council and Authority.

The beneficiaries of the project are the local communities. The project has brought in resources that have covered identified needs, such as the provision of free-of-charge health services, the accessibility to school buildings, etc.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

The main objective of the Municipality of Amaroussion, was the design of procedures and tools that would enable the staff of the Municipal CSR Office to work with efficiency and efficacy. That objective was achieved, through the adoption of the innovatory practices introduced in the context of the ‘SYNERGASIA’ Platform Project.

Apart from that, no other quantitative targets were set.

However, the piloting of the Platform brought in considerable results and most importantly provided the ground of approaching and working together with large companies mainly from the IT, energy and health sectors.

The pilot phase coincided with the Covid 19 pandemic, so significant part of the funding was channeled in the health and welfare services. The beneficiaries are, per year of implementation, approximately 25,000 individuals.

Challenges and Failures

During the implementation of the innovation some problems were encountered, but were successfully addressed without affecting the process.

They mainly concern the synchronization of the Municipality's services with the schedules of the private sector. In most cases, sponsorships require coordinated actions by the municipal services in tight time frames.

In order to avoid problems of that type, the ‘SYNERGASIA’ Platform design foresees specific procedures so as to select project proposals that are ready to be implemented, once the funding is secured. Also the drafting of the Action Plan of the Municipal CSR Office is based on collective and bottom-up decision making processes that involve officials from all competent departments of the Municipal Authority.

Conditions for Success

The prerequisites for the success of the innovation are:

  • An effective work team that is committed to goals, share a common vision, has communication skills and knowledge of private sector practices and mentality, in terms of time management and outcome-oriented processes.
  • A capable team leader who apart from the usual leadership capacities, can manage resistances, which is always an issue when an innovation is introduced. Dominant stereotypes, negative perceptions and resistance to change can be dealt with proper communication, consistency and adherence to procedures.
  • Effective Communication Plan. The publicity of the sponsored activities, on terms agreed with the sponsor, and proper reporting on results achieved and impact of the sponsorship are crucial for the establishment of a reliable relation.


The innovation hasn’t been replicated yet.

It should be noted that our innovation project has been selected by the Innovation and Best Practice Unit of the Greek Ministry of Interior to be incorporated in the National Depository of Public Sector Innovation Projects. That will enable the visibility and replication of the innovation in other areas.

The SYNERGASIA Platform Project can be scaled up from the local to the regional level with the proper customisation of procedures. It can also be transferred to other municipalities with the necessary adaptations to local conditions and priorities,

Lessons Learned

The experience gained from the implementation of the SYNERGASIA Platform Project has been highly positive.

It has been widely accepted by the companies we approached, bridges of cooperation have been established and new and innovatory projects are coming up.

In that context, the Innovation acts as a catalyst for the development of a mutually beneficiary stable cooperation network, with companies supporting the effective implementation of municipal planning and objectives.

Moreover, the extrovert character of the Innovation was a new challenge for public sector officials and opened up new fields of action.

Anything Else?

The cooperation with an external organisation with expertise in co-design, fundraising, networking and communication strategies, among others, offered a significant benefit to the Municipality of Amaroussion. It enabled the acquisition of technical know-how and familiarisation with private and third sector practices, necessary for the effective implementation of the SYNERGASIA Platform project.

Year: 2021
Level of Government: Local government


  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

Innovation provided by:

Date Published:

27 January 2023

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