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Social Innovation


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presentation from Social innovation \'09 conference on Low Carbon Social Innovation

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Social Innovation

  1. 1. Towards Social Innovation for a ‘Low Carbon’ society Chris Church Co-director, CEA Director, Mapping for Change
  2. 2. The challenge posed by climate change: <ul><li>Radical long-term change as the UK moves to becoming a low-carbon society. </li></ul><ul><li>The need to change pretty much everything we do. </li></ul><ul><li>Some of that change will be technical innovation </li></ul><ul><li>But if we have some of the technology we do not have public support for changes that may seem radical, uncomfortable or unrealistic. </li></ul><ul><li>This makes social innovation very much a priority . </li></ul>
  3. 3. Social Innovation <ul><li>A loosely defined term? </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation: new ways of working </li></ul><ul><li>Social: together </li></ul><ul><li>It is about what we do and about how we do it (together!) </li></ul>
  4. 4. The challenge now… <ul><li>is to apply the ideas of social innovation to </li></ul><ul><li>work on low carbon futures. This will involve: </li></ul><ul><li>developing new ways to deliver change </li></ul><ul><li>opening new frameworks for cooperation and involvement </li></ul>
  5. 5. What do those working on climate change want from social innovation? <ul><li>We need: </li></ul><ul><li>more engagement and more action, individually and collectively. </li></ul><ul><li>to confront society’s fear of change. </li></ul><ul><li>We need long-term change in terms of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Policy <ul><li>If people are to support radical policies they need to be well-informed, properly engaged and ready for innovation. </li></ul><ul><li>Social innovation can help here in at least three ways. It can: </li></ul><ul><li>Increase engagement in work to create new policy </li></ul><ul><li>Help tackle the fear of change </li></ul><ul><li>Enable activists to be more effective monitors of policy implementation gap </li></ul>
  7. 7. One social innovation: on-line working <ul><li>Organisations such as run short, high-profile, clearly-targeted campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>A global reach beyond that of many traditional campaign groups </li></ul><ul><li>‘ One-click campaigning’: easy to do, easy to ignore? </li></ul><ul><li>But this is a way of bringing millions more into political processes </li></ul>
  8. 8. The ‘wake-up call’ on climate on Sept. 21st 2682 locally organised events all over the world.
  9. 9. Infrastructure <ul><li>Low carbon infrastructure should enable people to live low carbon lives without even noticing. </li></ul><ul><li>Introducing and refining that infrastructure will involve change and disruption… </li></ul><ul><li>… and create opportunities for innovation. </li></ul><ul><li>That innovation will need to be technical and social </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to be effective if there is social innovation </li></ul>
  10. 10. Lessons from waste and recycling <ul><li>Research done last year on the benefits that Third Sector Organisations (TSOs) brought to waste and recycling projects. </li></ul><ul><li>A key point was to consider the Social Return on Investment (SROI) </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller TSOs - a culture of innovation (results in part from commitment to social and environmental objectives) </li></ul><ul><li>Social innovation for communities and individuals </li></ul>
  11. 11. Entrepreneurs and activists? <ul><li>A culture of ‘getting things done’ (regardless of the obstacles in the way) </li></ul><ul><li>Found in both entrepreneurs and in the more energetic activist groups </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation can flourish when entrepreneurial drive is linked to wider outcomes. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Lessons from the wind <ul><li>Baywind - a small-scale low carbon enterprise in the Lake District </li></ul><ul><li>Now own six wind turbines, as a cooperative and community enterprise,. </li></ul><ul><li>They have shown what is possible, and done this with local support </li></ul>
  13. 13. Sharing the lessons <ul><li>Baywind have also </li></ul><ul><li>Offered support to other projects </li></ul><ul><li>Done valuable reflective work on identifying barriers to innovation and how they can be tackled </li></ul><ul><li>Show how the technical and social go hand-in-hand </li></ul>
  14. 14. Engagement and involvement <ul><li>If we are to deliver all the benefits of a low carbon future we need the engagement of society on a much greater scale than at present. </li></ul><ul><li>We can make changes to people and their lives or we can make the changes with people. </li></ul><ul><li>Social innovation can show us how to do the latter effectively and to confront the fear of change. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Taking the hard decisions <ul><li>All governments face difficult decisions on climate change and stiff opposition. </li></ul><ul><li>The fear of change is a powerful one. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to present a positive vision of a low-carbon society. </li></ul><ul><li>So we need to innovate in some critical areas: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How those actively engaged on climate change work with all parts of society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How existing organisations and networks operate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How government and governance operates. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Engagement <ul><li>Getting people engaged and active should be a key part of any climate change strategy. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Engagement’ - a three stage process. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The need is to engage with people to move from: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Awareness (Climate Change exists as a problem) to </li></ul><ul><li>Engagement (This is something that is linked to me and what I do) to </li></ul><ul><li>Action (I am doing something) </li></ul>
  17. 17. We need to make change happen at: <ul><li>The personal and household level (can help reduce emissions by 10 -20%). </li></ul><ul><li>The organisational level </li></ul><ul><li>The collective and community level - delivering larger changes. This can involve faith groups, community organisations, sports clubs, youth groups and others as well as environmental groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Larger organisations can offer support and resources and incorporate this work into their own strategies. </li></ul><ul><li>Social innovation needs to work alongside technical innovation </li></ul>
  18. 18. Some examples from London <ul><li>It’s almost impossible to know what’s going on in a dense London borough of 250,00 people (and there’s 32 boroughs…) </li></ul><ul><li>Many new ideas emerging on how to spread innovation and good practice </li></ul>
  19. 19. The ‘London Leaders’ <ul><li>A programme “to catalyse change” through innovation. Each year 15 people are selected as ‘London Leaders’ for sustainability. </li></ul><ul><li>They include designers, community activists, academics, business people, football club managers…. </li></ul><ul><li>Each gets support to deliver a project </li></ul><ul><li>Run by the London Sustainable Development Commission </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>“ Bringing like-minded people together to make environmental change happen” </li></ul><ul><li>A social networking site for small environmental projects and organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Supported by two London boroughs </li></ul>Project Dirt - innovation on-line
  21. 22. Mapping for Change It is not down in any map; true places never are”. - Herman Melville (Moby Dick) Or maybe we don’t have the right kind of maps… We need to be able to record and work with innovation
  22. 23. Five years ago: the London Green Map
  23. 24. Localising this: the Hackney Wick Community Map (and others like it)
  24. 25. And from the west of Scotland <ul><li>Many different aspects of innovation come together on the island of Eigg, (the Inner Hebrides) </li></ul><ul><li>Eigg’s path to being one of the most innovative communities started when legal changes allowed the people who live there to buy their island from an absentee landowner in 1997. </li></ul>
  25. 26. Innovation and development <ul><li>Eigg faced serious problems: </li></ul><ul><li>Very low incomes </li></ul><ul><li>Declining elderly population </li></ul><ul><li>No mains electricity </li></ul><ul><li>No proper shop </li></ul><ul><li>Poor ferry connections </li></ul><ul><li>The Community Trust has tackled all these problems </li></ul>
  26. 27. The technical infrastructure <ul><li>The island now relies entirely on renewable energy for its electricity and the power system is run by the Community Trust </li></ul>
  27. 28. Further low carbon innovation <ul><li>An integrated electricity grid for the island running on hydro, wind and solar </li></ul><ul><li>Upgrading of old croft houses to high energy standards and the introduction of solar water heating </li></ul><ul><li>Plans to replace much of the coal imported to the island for heating with wood harvested from forestry on the island </li></ul><ul><li>Biodiesel for the island minibus </li></ul>
  28. 29. The social innovations <ul><li>The voluntary cap on electricity use. Every household has agreed to use no more than 5Kw at any time. The first such voluntary cap in any community in any industrialised nation . </li></ul><ul><li>Other aspects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Four community enterprises within the Community Trust. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Part-time jobs within the Trust operations increasingly mean that people integrate their work and their lives and their leisure in a way that is rare elsewhere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joint planning for food growing to meet local needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A growing population and new homes built </li></ul></ul>
  29. 30. Getting the message across <ul><li>Three communities to target: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Local people; Tourists and others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A growing ‘collaborative community’ </li></ul></ul>
  30. 31. So why is this relevant? <ul><li>It’s a small island and not replicable? </li></ul><ul><li>It it’s not replicable why not? </li></ul><ul><li>The island is a few steps ahead of the rest of the UK. </li></ul><ul><li>If we are to make 80% carbon cuts then other communities need to make the same journey. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to learn from such innovation </li></ul>
  31. 32. Government and governance <ul><li>The need for strong policy comes at a time when confidence in national and local government is low. </li></ul><ul><li>New social networks can help rebuild that trust and get more people actively involved in decision-making about their future. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to tackle the fear of change within large institutions. </li></ul><ul><li>A new approach to ‘professionalism’ with an increased readiness to learn from effective innovation, no matter where it comes from. </li></ul>
  32. 33. Planning for social innovation <ul><li>We need to plan for and work towards social innovation just as we do towards new technical or economic solutions. </li></ul><ul><li>Without investment of time and resources, it is likely that moves towards real low-carbon living will be hampered by lack of public understanding and support. </li></ul>
  33. 34. Making innovation easier <ul><li>We need to address </li></ul><ul><li>Access to information: about support, funding, structures </li></ul><ul><li>Access to knowledge: specialist skills, good practice </li></ul><ul><li>Access to finance: innovation requires support </li></ul><ul><li>Access to ‘markets’ and existing structures: If new social innovation is to flourish then it needs to be accepted </li></ul>
  34. 35. Widening engagement <ul><li>Social innovation must engage with whole communities. </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation should be part of tackling exclusion and building involvement </li></ul><ul><li>A low carbon future will need social justice at its’ core if it is to succeed. </li></ul>
  35. 36. Thank you! <ul><li>Chris Church </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>