SIKE has been spreading the word about how universities can support social innovation, in particular at three international events where we managed to make quite an impact.
At the 8th University-Business Forum in Brussels on 24 and 25 October 2019 we had the opportunity to engage with other Knowledge Alliance projects as well as key participants from University and Business, including Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport!
Mark Majewsky Anderson from GCU and Javier Finez from BIB explaining to European Commissioner, Tibor Navracsics, how the SIKE project is changing the paradigm of knowledge exchange between business, communities and universities.
The Forum brought together policymakers, representatives from higher education, business and other stakeholders to discuss and debate the role of university-business cooperation for innovation and sustainable development. It provided a unique opportunity for SIKE to share good practice, network and exchange ideas. The project featured in an exhibition alongside other initiatives demonstrating how cooperation between higher education and business works in practice. We also presented a workshop specifically on social innovation and received a lot of interest from participants about how universities can engage more proactively in the area.
The following week at the European School of Social Innovation 5th Global research conference in Dortmund, ‘Future of Innovation Policy in Times of Socio-Digital Transformation’, SIKE curated a workshop on ‘Social Innovation as a Challenge for Higher Education Institutions’. The event brought together some of the best researchers and practitioners in the field of social innovation, including Geoff Mulgan, Lars Hulgård, Flor Avelino as well as SIKE partners, Louise Pulford from SIX, Jürgen Howaldt from TUDO, and Gustavo Freitas from SCML and Mark Majewsky Anderson from GCU. As part of the SIKE workshop, GCU and TUDO invited Ken Aoo from Okayama University, Japan, and Anne de Bruin, from Massey University, New Zealand, to talk about their institutions’ experience within the social innovation ecosystem, whilst also presenting the concept and results of our own project.
It was interesting how the project was seen as highly relevant to both conferences tackling societal challenges from very different perspectives, but how in both cases, SIKE led debate on how universities can become directly and effectively involved in driving social change. Furthermore, through the promotion of our knowledge exchange platform – https://theglocal.network/company/sike – we were able to offer a practical means to meet the challenges face on.
The platform was also presented at the 2nd Southeast Asian Social Innovation Network conference on 8th-9th October in Bangkok which saw SIKE partners from GCU, UAV, SIX as well as Associated Partners from the Challenges Group exchange best practice with institutions from over 15 different countries including Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand. Already several Asian participants from the conference have signed up to the glocal network as a result of the presentation and regional policymakers and representatives from international organisations such as the European Commission, British Council and UNDP all contributed to a lively debate on how to tackle the societal challenges we face now and in the future.