We believe in the transformative power of people working together. Through exchange of knowledge, expertise, innovation and inspiration, we connect, empower and drive social change.
Work with us
Everyone benefits when knowledge and practice are shared, so our two interconnected strands of activity work together to expand the collective intelligence of the global social innovation community and help organisations prepare for the challenges ahead.
A programme of activities mobilising our expansive network of social innovation practitioners to connect, share, support and create shared visions for a better future.
Expertise and knowledge of pan-global innovative thinking and practice leveraged to build capacity, knowledge and skills within organisations to tackle complex challenges successfully and effectively,
Our global reach
We worked worked with dozens of partners from governments, companies, foundations and NGOs, across 6 continents over the last 15 years. We’ve hosted hundreds of events, fed into policy agendas and developed programmes to advance new agendas. Learn about some of our work on the map below.
Our North American work focuses on connecting philanthropy and social innovation through initiatives like our Funders Node programme that brought philanthropic leaders from around the world to Ontario. We foster our close relationship with the Canadian ecosystem by collaborating to organise events, study tours, and influence policy to support social innovation.
We’ve hosted workshops in Colombia to build a community that can promote social innovation as a key issue in the country’s public agenda. Our Summer School with Somos Más explored social innovation’s potential to transform divided societies. We also built a Latin American network of social innovation universities across Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Panama.
We’ve enjoyed a close relationship with the Australian social innovation movement since 2008. Our Adelaide Summer School connected Australia to the rest of the world to explore the ‘growing pains’ of the social innovation movement. More recently, we’ve worked closely with regional philanthropic organisations to explore their role in systems change, power and legacy.
Community building activities, including transnational exchange, and research, practice and policy networking, expanded our work across the EU. Our social innovation field-building work responded to the challenges faced by the region, with a focus on influencing EU-level policy, and formalising social innovation’s place in recovery pathways following the 2008 financial crisis.
Our work in Africa explores how social innovation practitioners’ tools and methods can better support teams running social innovation initiatives in INGOs. Our events in partnership with Hivos in Nairobi, Harare and Johannesburg, explored the relationship between the worlds of social innovation and international development. More recently, wee’ve been working with AgaKhan Foundation on the education ecosystem.
Turkey & MENA
Turkey & MENA
In 2018, we hosted a global Wayfinder event in Istanbul with Zorlu Holdings and imece, to explore the unique role the private sector can play in supporting people and the planet. Since then we’ve worked in collaboration with imece, focussing on building social innovation ecosystems in the MENA region.
Our work across the Asia region focuses on building local ecosystems within cities or specific sectors. We’ve worked in Seoul for over a decade with lots of different parts of the ecosystem, most recently with the Seoul Metropolitan Government as social innovation advisor, fostered a social lab movement with MaD in Hong Kong, and our network of social innovation universities spans Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.
Why and how social innovation?
In the face of some of the world’s biggest challenges, fresh approaches and new ways of doing things are needed more than ever. As a result, the concept of social innovation has gained momentum. But it isn’t a new concept – people have always sought new and better ways of tackling social challenges.
Using innovation to address our biggest challenges is not a job for social sector organisations alone. Sometimes civil society provides the impetus for local, bottom-up, grassroots solutions. Governments can also take the lead, by including citizens in policy making, or working across departments to redesign processes and remove red tape. In other cases, finance and private enterprise lead the change.
At SIX, social innovation means taking a pluralist approach to solving society’s most complex challenges, using the best every sector has to offer. It often happens in between places and sectors. It involves people working together, bringing diverse experiences and perspectives.
What matters most, whether the innovation is coming from the public, private or third sector, or from a formal or informal institution, is that social innovation delivers new power relationships, disrupts the status quo, and delivers solutions that make a genuine and positive difference to people’s lives. We must empower people and equip them with the capabilities to play more active roles in their own lives, and in the decisions that affect them.
Post-pandemic, the new business landscape is complex and uncertain. In 2020, in partnership with MaD, Innofoco and other partners in Hong Kong, we released a study mapping what might motivate businesses to create shared value in Hong Kong. Read the report and learn more about our other work in this area.
In conversation with key social innovation leaders, Louise Pulford and So Jung Rim explore the interaction of social innovators and the environments they function in.
Since 2011, Seoul has exemplified a new breed of city that is hungry to learn from and share with others. Our collection of essays and case studies, written by leading social innovation thinkers from across the globe, features some of Seoul’s unique experiments alongside cases from other international cities. It draws together more than a decade of work with organisations across Seoul to inspire other cities around the world.
Join our network and work with us