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Jungwon Kim

SIX has taught me the value of going deep and remaining diverse.


Who are you? What do you do? Where are you based?

I am Jungwon Kim, I am the Founding Director for Spread-i, an organisation in which we try to connect social innovators, mainly on Korea and Europe. This includes the UK, because I am based in Manchester. What we do is actually not that dissimilar from what SIX does, but with a smaller, local based focus. We identify lots of different social innovators, and social innovation cases in the UK and Europe and then try to introduce these cases to Korean colleagues and partners. Some of our outputs are case studies, exchange training programmes, and recently we have created some digital content and an online storytelling platform.

What was your first encounter with SIX?

Back in 2010. I was working in South Korea for the Hope Institute, and I got to know SIX through the Hope Institute’s work. There were lots of connections at the time between SIX and the Hope Institute. We ran a Social Innovation Summit, that Louise came to, and that was my real first encounter.

What drives you? What are you passionate about?

I’m a very curious person, so I always like learning something new, and getting to know new people. There are fascinating ways that people are trying to solve social challenges around the world. I want to help share these ideas and solutions with more people and a wider audience. I think that by sharing these stories it helps people to open up their thinking and be more collaborative.

What has been a memorable event or encounter that you have been involved in with SIX?

The Unusual Suspects Festival. Through coming to the event, I really have come across people who I would never usually come across. I started picking up and listening to stories and perspectives that I had never heard before. I like the fact that the Festival itself gives the space and opportunity to have very intimate conversations, rather than just the exchange of knowledge, or reading through another report. It’s a different type of event. Being involved in the Festival gave me space to reflect on myself and the way that I work.

Who is a memorable connection that you have made through SIX?

The people that I met through being involved in the Unusual Suspects Storytelling project, particularly from Northern Ireland,the organisations UV Arts, Nerve Centre and Building Change Trust. They gave me great background knowledge on the environment that are working in. I see a lot of similarities between some of the divisions in Northern Ireland and in Korea. I was touched by their constant efforts to work towards improving their communities.

How has SIX influenced or changed that way that you work?

SIX has given me more opportunity to meet and exchange with a much wider range of people. Also in terms of quality of conversation, SIX has taught me the value of going deep and remaining diverse.

How do you think the influence of SIX has helped shape social innovation in Korea?

Social innovation can often be interpreted as simply as buzz words, simply advocated by powerful politicians and policymakers. It can just be fashionable because of available public sector funds to work on that area. But when there are connections made through SIX, both locally and internationally, there is a better understanding of how to achieve deep systems change through social innovation. It helps people to work through the problems and the barriers that they have, and connects them to a wider international community of social innovators.

What is something that you’d like to work on with SIX in the future?

I’ve now been working in this field for the last 7 or 8 years, and my thinking has started to converge on one particular word: collaboration. Collaborative governance in particular. That is something that I’d like to work more on with SIX in the future.