Good 360
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES FOR THE COMMON GOOD
NEWS  | 

Aussie Rules Social Innovation


Monday, 13th February 2012 at 4:26 pm
Staff Reporter
Richard Wilson is one of Europe’s leading experts and practitioners in new models of digital engagement and participation. He argues that now is the time for Australia to seize its role as a global leader in social innovation. This article is from the CSI blog.

Monday, 13th February 2012
at 4:26 pm
Staff Reporter


0 Comments


FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

 Print
Aussie Rules Social Innovation
Monday, 13th February 2012 at 4:26 pm

Richard Wilson is one of Europe’s leading experts and practitioners in new models of digital engagement and participation. He argues that now is the time for Australia to seize its role as a global leader in social innovation. This article is from the CSI blog


Exchanging a European winter for an Aussie summer is always a shock. No matter how many times you’ve done it, there’s always something unexpected about switching seasons. The heaviness of the heat, the smell of hot earth, the way you never manage to dress quite right to start with. But soon your body eases into the warmth. And here – helped by the outstanding Australian friendliness – it’s easy to relax in to life down under.

This is, I’m ashamed to say, my first visit to Australia.

I have though been following your ‘democracy’ and ‘social innovation’ scene from afar for many years. I’m acutely aware of the rich history of home grown organisations such as Bang The Table, The Australian Association of Public Participation, Digital Democracy, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, and this really just scratches the surface. You have awards to recognise good public involvement practice (we don’t) and probably the only global digital democracy superstar in Julian Assange. The idea that you have much to learn from little old England, doesn’t really stack up.

This point is exacerbated by the economic climate mirroring the meteorological differences. It’s very frosty in Britain right now, particularly in the social innovation space. Although Cameron’s government are doing an impressive job in creating investment funds for social innovation through activities such as the Big Society bank, the big problem is who will be the on-going clients of UK social innovators. This has historically been the public sector, but this demand has all but seized up following the deepest cuts in a generation.

Although these are straightened times in Oz as well, there still is money in the system. It’s not a coincidence that UK digital democracy pioneers such as Delib are opening Australian offices. They’re in a sense economic migrants, trying to tap in to the Aussie market. I’m sure the excellent food, wonderful people and phenomenal weather all help. But following the European economic crisis, the Australian allure just got a whole lot more enticing.

I’m here as part of the Social Innovator Dialogues Festival taking place this month in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney. I’m running masterclasses on digital democracy, or maybe we should call it radical democracy. But we won’t spend time listing good practice frameworks and principles. Instead I’ll share with you my thinking on the fusion that is taking place between social innovation, digital democracy, organisational development and psychology that is changing how we understand the relationship between people, the state and radical service improvement.

In much the same way that Australia became global culinary leaders through inventing and mastering fusion food, there is now a similar opportunity for Australia to become leaders in the fusion required for radical public service improvement.

For too long fields such as organisational development, psychology, digital technologies and public participation have operated in isolation. This would appear to be as true in Australia as anywhere else. The difference is Australians know deep down that it is only through mixing up the separate, and bringing together the different, that special things happen.

Australia has an unrivalled heritage of openness and diversity; and a privileged economic stability. These are what should form the basis for Australia moving out of the public sector shadows, to becoming recognised as the innovative leader it always has been.

And what’s more, as the rest of us struggle desperately to defrost our economies we need inspiring and warming examples of what can be achieved. So it’s not just a great opportunity, it’s a responsibility to the rest of the world. Australia needs to inspire us to where we need and can get to, to provide a new higher bar for us all to reach.

Richard Wilson will be leading masterclasses at the Social Innovator Dialogues in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney from 15th – 20th February 2012. You can follow Richard Wilson on Twitter: @richardwi1son.



FEATURED SUPPLIERS


...


NGO Recruitment is Australia’s not-for-profit sector recru...

NGO Recruitment

HLB Mann Judd is a specialist Accounting and Advisory firm t...

HLB Mann Judd

Helping the helpers fund their mission…...

FrontStream Pty Ltd (FrontStream AsiaPacific)

More Suppliers

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Report Explores Financial Wellbeing in Australia

Lina Caneva

Thursday, 28th September 2017 at 12:03 pm

Social Impact Investments Could Address Housing and Homelessness

Rachel McFadden

Tuesday, 8th August 2017 at 8:16 am

Westpac Social Innovator Fellowships

Lina Caneva

Tuesday, 1st August 2017 at 10:46 am

Breakthrough Study Shines a Light on NFP Workforce

Wendy Williams

Thursday, 20th July 2017 at 8:49 am

POPULAR

Red Cross Moves to Wage-Based Fundraising Model

Lina Caneva

Thursday, 16th November 2017 at 8:30 am

Concerns Raised Over New ACNC Board Appointments

Luke Michael

Monday, 20th November 2017 at 2:28 pm

New Same-Sex Marriage Bill Looks to Protect Faith-Based Charities

Luke Michael

Monday, 13th November 2017 at 5:25 pm

Adelaide at the Vanguard of Ending Street Homelessness Globally

Wendy Williams

Tuesday, 21st November 2017 at 8:43 am

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Good 360
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!