Reflections on the Social Innovation Summit 2018

Reflections on the Social Innovation Summit 2018
Photo: Joeri van den Steenhoven and Jaya Lal Neupane (right)
SI Scholars Jaya Lal Neupane and Ha Do Thuy share their insights from the Social Innovation Summit in Malmö.
Global crises and the role of social Innovation by Jaya Lal Neupane
 
The two-day conference started on November 13th with the theme 'Making It Big' in Malmö, gathering hundreds of students, educators, engineers, businessman, social entrepreneurs, government officials, and lawmakers. 
 
Everyone agreed that the refugee crisis, climate crisis, and poverty are some of the challenges faced by societies right now. It is impossible to tackle these issues without a clear picture and willingness to change on a societal level. Every keynote speaker agreed that people should act as transformative forces and drive change to solve complex global issues. 
 
Joeri van den Steenhoven, Director of MaRS Solution Lab, said that people have to be at the centre of our business when we prioritise innovation, as people with intense passion and clear understanding make innovation possible and drive change. He further said it is transparency, participation, and collaboration that helps build trust among people and thus, a platform for innovation is created. 
 
Photo: Panel discussion on 'How to build an arena for social innovation'
 
Prof. Robin Teigland, co-leader of the Peniche Ocean Watch Initiative (POW), expressed her belief that through networking and knowledge sharing social impact can be created. She said by integrating local knowledge, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship a considerable value can be created in the community. Thus, her key message was “build your network before you need it”. 
 
Jeroo Billimoria, the founder of Aflatoun, stated that social innovation has to be part of a global movement.  And social entrepreneurs have to dream big, but the dream has to be practical. It is necessary to validate its practicality by carrying out research personally. So, only 10% of enterprises succeed because they do research. Organisations flourish when they have a clear plan and empower employees.
 
Finally, I conclude saying that social innovations, when they tend to utilise the transformative capacity of people fully, can become keys to solve the world’s existing complex problems.  
 
Social innovation helps to solve social challenges in new ways by Ha Do Thuy
 
Photo: SI scholarship holders and NFGL network: Ha Do Thuy (left) and Elena Bogdanova
 
The summit opened in a very innovative manner with a Latin melody. I wondered why Latin music when Swedish music could have been played!
 
I quickly understood that the music performed by a Latin school band conveyed the freedom and inclusion required for social innovation. We all clapped and danced during the performance.
 
With this unusual start of a summit, one thing that stuck is that there are no boundaries, no age, and no limitations for us to innovate and engage with social innovations. It is not a single mission carried out by an individual but a joint effort. This was precisely the topic of the summit called “Making it big”. 
 
Indy Johar, founder of Zero Zero and Senior Innovation Associate at Young Foundation, emphasised that human rights and democracy are at the centre of a social transformation in his presentation on ‘From grassroots to system change’. 
 
Photo: Malmö Latinskolans storband
 
Sweden puts social inclusion and equality at the heart of development policy. The summit has opened my eyes to look further and deeper into the nature of these issues. Then this helps me reflect on what I have learnt from my personal life in Sweden. 
 
The summit has deepened my insights regarding what I came to study and so much more. The most significant insight I have to share from the summit is that ‘being innovative with social inclusion and equality in thinking and action like the Swedes already do, we can develop ourselves as change agents and leaders.'
 

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