In 2012, SIX went down under to host the 5th annual gathering in Adelaide, Australia, partnering with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI).
What we mean by ‘growing pains’?
The first cluster of issues centred around what we called ‘growing pains for our organisations’. At the time of the Adelaide summer school, we saw ‘growing pains’ as the increasing number of challenges the field of social innovation faced, as it began to generate more financial backing, support and attention.
Participants explored business model innovation, better value communication, how talent could be attracted in order to help grow and sustain innovations, the borader context of the social innovation field and how the field of incubators, funds and accelerators was evolving at the time.
The second cluster of issues centred around ‘systemic innovation’. Most people involved in social innovation at the time wanted to do more than just innovate new services and products. We also aspired to transform whole systems – from food and care to education and welfare. But how could we make systemic change more than just words? How could we influence change at many levels – from technologies and markets to public policies and everyday behaviour? What were the best examples from around the world – and what practical lessons could be learned?
About the event
Over the previous five years, the annual SIX summer schools brought together leading social innovation thinkers and practitioners from across the world to explore some of the key issues facing the field – such as scaling, innovation in a time of crisis, and social innovations in specific contexts, such as cities.
With a deeper understanding of the process of social innovation, and the methods and tools that were being used all over the world, it was time to step back and reflect on how we could move forward into the next phase of growth and development, and avoid some of the problems and pitfalls that happen to fields as they gain momentum.