Australian Social Innovation Exchange
27 March 2008 at 10:49 am
Although in its infancy, the Australian Social Innovation Exchange (ASIX) has been established as part of a global initiative launched in February to create a ‘network of networks’ around social innovation.
Over the past 12 months a small group of community, government and corporate organisations have been developing the ASIX proposal and it was unveiled in Sydney as part of the launch of the Centre for Social Impact.
The global initiative is being led by Dr Geoff Mulgan, the Director of The Young Foundation in the UK, founder of the DEMOS think tank and a former senior policy adviser to British PM Tony Blair.
According to Dr Mulgan social innovations – new ideas that work to meet pressing unmet needs – are all around us.
He says examples include distance learning, patient-led healthcare, fair trade, Wikipedia and restorative justice.
He says huge energies – and resources – are devoted to innovation in science and technology but far less attention has been paid to social innovation, despite pressing needs in fields as diverse as chronic disease and climate change.
The global website went live during the Australian launch.
ASIX wants to create a ‘network of networks’ that links people and organisations interested in and actively engaged with social innovation in Australia.
Initially it will act as a small hub that provides leadership, project management and technical support for the network.
ASIX is developing a more detailed work program and business plan for its initial 2-year establishment phase.
Australian founder and entrepreneur, Steve Laurence says ASIX will not duplicate the work of other organisations in the social innovation area.
Lawrence says its mission is not to get in the way of other organisations but rather make them more viable and visible.
He says a key focus will be to make the links between social innovation and the public policy process and structures in Australia, at all levels of government, easier to negotiate and more productive for all partners.
He says the global initiative links China, the UK, parts of Europe and North and South America.
He says there is a mountain of activity emerging throughout the world and he wants Australia to be an active player.
Steve Lawrence has stood down in his role as Executive Officer for WorkVentures to focus on the ASIX initiative. (ASIX will run under the umbrella of WorkVentures during the early establishment phase)
In the short time since the website went live, Lawrence says there have already been a number of Australians who have registered their support online.
As well a number of people have offered volunteer and financial support.
He said it was also very pleasing to have the support and endorsement of the Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the launch event.
Pro Bono Australia Founder Karen Mahlab attended the launch and says as she sees it the ASIX has been set up as an organisation to speed up the process of innovation for Not for Profits, help them get on with things such as developing a business plans as well as setting up social enterprises.
Check out the website at: http://www.socialinnovationexchange.org/