What’s the role of young people in social innovation?

The power of young people, activism and the role of government have been the focus of our team discussions at SIX over the last month. This month, the team have been to Cape Town and Bangkok for our work challenging universities to experiment and co-create social innovation, Canada and Australia for our work encouraging the transformation of the philanthropic sector, and Seoul as part of the Mayor’s Social Innovation Advisory Committee. In all these countries, there is barely a newspaper that isn’t covering the climate demonstrations, or more specifically the role of Greta Thunberg. The other major story with young people as the protagonists is the increasingly violent demonstrations in Hong Kong. Whilst Greta is a young hero for many, her every action is now being scrutinised. In comparison, what is happening in Hong Kong is being described as a leaderless movement.

Whether it is one, or thousands, these young people are disrupting the status quo. They are challenging governments to find new ways to work with civil society, young people, and activists. This is why the visit to Seoul was so inspiring. Mayor Won Soon Park was an activist before he was a Mayor, which is why he has spent his last three terms trying to make Seoul into a truly people-powered city.

Over the coming months, we will be working with the global advisors to tell the ‘Seoul Story’, in the hope of inspiring other governments to collaborate with citizens in new ways. We are also developing a global innovation academy to support the next generation of social innovation leaders, from civil society, government and foundations. Watch this space for more…