SIX events have connected me to interesting people and organizations all over the world. Many of these thought leaders have become friends and collaborators. SIX is also an amazing platform for the Make A Difference team and recently, through the Global Council, MaD team members were introduced to relevant UK organizations on their study visits to broaden their vision of social innovation.
- Ada Wong, Founder and Convenor, MaD
Introducing Make a Difference Institute
Founded in 2009, the Make a Difference Institute (MaD) is a collaborative platform for changemakers that inspires and empowers young people all over Asia to come up with creative responses to our time's challenges. Make a Difference Institute works at the intersection of creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation and discovery to bring about positive changes in Asia. Connected to Make a Difference Institute are several other organisations, including the Good Lab, Hong Kong’s first social innovation co-working space which supports tri-sector leaders through a series of programmes.
Why the Make a Difference Institute joined the Global Council
Whilst Hong-Kong has an increasingly vibrant social innovation scene, it is not connected to global debates. Make a Difference Institute seeks to feed Hong Kong and Asia with new insights from thought leaders and other organisations from across the globe.
Collaborating on several events: SIX has participated in 6 MaD Forums, a celebrated regional event for over 1500 young Asian changemakers from more than 100 cities, by designing and delivering innovation studios and design workshops to support young people to develop and grow new ideas.
Encouraging regional connectivity: Together, SIX and MaD launched SIX Asia in 2012 with the Mayor of Seoul. We have hosted annual meetings for innovators across the region, connecting regional actors to global trends.
- Exposing Hong Kong civil service to global social innovation examples and trends: SIX regularly gives workshops and presents global trends for civil servants in the Hong Kong government Efficiency Unit.
- Bringing global experts and new inspiration to Hong Kong to influence government policy and funding from foundations: MaD regularly leverages the SIX network to bring new inspiration to East Asia and several speakers at MaD forums. A programme is always designed for speakers to ensure interaction with key local decision makers to expose them to innovative global ideas - most recently, Mexico City’s Lab for the City.
As a result of being on the Global Council, support for social innovation in Hong Kong has significantly increased.
- The creation of a dedicated fund for social innovation in Hong Kong: Inspired by SIX Asia meetings and being connected to SIX Global Council members, the Hong Kong government Efficiency Unit created the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship fund of $HK 50 million in 2015.
- Local adaptation of the Kennisland Social Lab model in Hong Kong: A key relationship developed between Chris Sigaloff (the former CEO of Kennisland, Netherlands) and Ada Wong of MaD, after inviting Chris to speak at a Make a Difference Institute forum.
- The development of regional cooperation: Particularly between Seoul and Hong Kong. Several cooperative models from South Korea have been replicated in Hong Kong.