1) One of the side benefits of working at SSE is that you get invited to be involved in some interesting projects, discussions and (potentially) partnerships. A lot of recent chatter has been around innovation, as we’ve tracked over some time in various posts (see the Social Innovation post archives), and SSE finds itself in the unusual position of being involved in two ‘innovation exchanges’; one, the Social Innovation Exchange, is a global initiative powered by the Young Foundation (website currently under re-construction, but sign up here in the interim) which aims to collect, connect, network and disseminate social innovations, innovators and innovating organisations.
The other, on which I’m also a guest blogger, is a government-funded Innovation Exchange, run by the Innovation Unit, Headshift and ACEVO. Its approach involves offline and online networks (involving the supply and demand side, and the investors…) and a programme to support fledgling innovative projects on particular themes. [Read a much more coherent explanation on the site]. One of these is ‘Excluded Young People’ and I’ve been blogging a bit about that (see my posts here; log in required; excuse dreadful photo) and drawing on the work of SSE students and Fellows. The site is starting to get going, and is worth checking out.
2) At a slight tangent, SSE was also judging the CAF Companies and Communities Awards the other week, in the Innovation category (there’s the link). The discussions with my fellow judges were interesting, particularly as we wrestled with ‘innovation’ in this context (not novelty, as is sometimes the case) and how much emphasis should be placed on track record and impact measurement in comparison. What is certain is that there is much significant activity going on in this area, where private meets non-profit, and that it goes far beyond ‘charity of the year’ or ‘greenwash‘ CSR. The shortlist demonstrated that genuine, long-term partnerships can make a big difference to both parties.
3) Finally, I stumbled across a post today about the seven habits of highly innovative people, and was struck how many of them apply equally to (social) entrepreneurs….So, if you’re persistent, uninhibited, risk-taking, like to escape, write things down, find patterns (and create combinations), and curious, you tick all the boxes. Or think outside them.