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Designing a Social Innovation Exchange for India

Author: Ipsita Mitra
Published Date: 17 March 2014

by Ipsita Mitra from Design Public

Design Public is a series of conversations about design and innovation in the public interest.

The Social Innovation Exchange is a global organization with several regional hubs, such as SIX Asian in Hong Kong. What if there were to be a SIX India? What would be its mandate? What activities and goals should it pursue? The following account gives snapshot of exciting conversation that was convened in the garden.

The Working Group begins a vibrant conversation trying to define the several challenges around the concept of social innovation initiated by Dr. Aditya Dev Sood, CEO and Founder, CKS. There is a great deal of excitement around the two tables where social entrepreneurs and thought leaders are collaboratively talking about social innovation. One of the panel members, believes that India is a powerhouse of energy and must be included in this wave of social innovation that is slowly enveloping the world. Louise Pulford, CEO, SIX, UK brings in critical insights into the discussion by defining social innovation as a method to bring about effective social change. She questions the missing link between the innovators and their goals, urging social innovators to include the people’s perspective and experiences into the model of social innovation. According to her, it is critical to have an open and inclusive model of social innovation. Taking this point further, one of the participants states that empathy in itself cannot ensure participation of the people; they must be included in the process of design innovation.

The role of the other institutions of the society, specifically the private sector and the Government is also being debated in the Working Group. While most participants agreed that a social innovation platform in the form of SIX, India will decentralise the problem solving process, the degree and scope of decentralisation remained unanswered.

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