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University of Northampton - Social Innovation in Practice: A University Perspective


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Social Innovation in Practice: A University Perspective
Professor Simon Denny, Director of Enterprise, Development and Social Impact, The
University of Northampton

Published in: Education, Technology
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University of Northampton - Social Innovation in Practice: A University Perspective

  1. 1. Social Innovation in Practice: A University Perspective Professor Simon Denny Director of Enterprise, Development and Social Impact The University of Northampton
  2. 2. Quasi-concept? • Little agreement about definition, about cause and effect relationships, about how to make it happen • Important to policy communities • Provide an analytical focus for identifying policy challenges • Shape directions of policy interventions Social innovation
  3. 3. • New solutions that meet a social need (e.g. reduce re-offending) • Lead to new capabilities and new relationships • Lead to better use of assets and resources • Involve new or significantly improved product/process/method/model • Succeeds if it ensures social cohesion for the excluded or disadvantaged
  4. 4. Horizon 2020 • Social innovation one of six key themes in the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy • Horizon 2020 = c. EUR 80 bn • Main research opportunities identified in: • • • • • Social innovation to overcome health inequalities Social innovation in rural areas and societies Social innovation in the financial sector Social innovation and the private sector Social innovation for managing diversity
  5. 5. Reputation • Research impact • Disadvantaged people making good • Thought and Action Leadership • PR and Publicity (we ain’t elitist) “Local boy makes good”
  6. 6. What are universities for anyway? • OFFA agreements and WP strategies • Education a social innovation? • Research can result in social innovation
  7. 7. Guiding principles • Not the same as social enterprise, social enterprise just one way of delivering social innovation • Social enterprise strategy key element in social innovation for Northampton • Key UN value: Strive to deliver a fairer and more inclusive society • Key question to ask: “how can we do ‘good stuff’ when we…..?” • Examples of social innovation in practice: Investment, construction, procurement
  8. 8. Key strategic initiatives – innovation in practice • All students have opportunity to work in a social enterprise, as part of their degree • Integration of social enterprise with learning and research (Changemaker ethos) • Inspire2Enterprise • Investment in social enterprises • Evolution of UN functions to social enterprise operations • Delivering social change initiatives • Influencing policy and practice
  9. 9. Goodwill Solutions 2011-12 savings to tax payer £3.5M • Logistics firm that reduces disadvantage • 2014 Logistics Academy and Employment Agency – 125 clients p.a. Customers = Asda, Sainsbury, Shop Direct • UN owns 20%, provides operational support • Research, placement and PR opportunities • Opportunities for LEP EU funds (match) 2016 Goodwill in Manchester?
  10. 10. Building for good? • New social enterprise innovation centre opening Feb 2015, £7M project • New campus planned to open Sep 2018, c £300M project • Who are partners? • What good can be done in construction and operation of new buildings? • Opportunities for LEP EU funds (match)
  11. 11. “We work within a national procurement framework” • Can HEIs buy all their goods and services from social enterprises? • Can HEIs insist suppliers build social enterprises into their supply chain? • Can HEIs set targets for the amount of external expenditure that delivers social innovation? • Learning from Northampton: start small, integrate with research projects • Opportunities for LEP EU funds (match)
  12. 12. Challenges and trying to overcome them • Management commitment – top team committed, but what about the people that have to change their behaviour? • Student involvement – can be very keen on social innovation, but different systems needed for matching, measuring and reporting • Measuring and reporting on “doing good stuff”
  13. 13. Act with self interest, act to “do good stuff” • Opportunities to gain LEP EU funding – 20% of LEP EU funds have to deliver social impact • HEIs biggest match funder in town • Opportunities to do high impact research – we discovered this, we recommended that, the results were….. • Impact likely to become more important in research funding decisions • Opportunities to get excellent PR – “my university has taken x people out of crime/poverty/worklessness etc” • Builds local and national presence, strengthens the sector