Changemakers Festival Gives Platform for CSR
3 September 2013 at 7:59 pm
A nationwide festival promoting social innovation is set to provide corporates with a chance to demonstrate their Corporate Social Responsibility and social impact credentials.
Convened by the Social Innovation Exchange Australia (SIXAUS), the Changemakers Festival will take place over the first ten days in November and will cover social entrepreneurship, activism and community-building.
The event will be directed by Tom Dawkins, cofounder of crowdfunding platform StartSomeGood and former Social Media Director at Ashoka.
The Festival will be open access, allowing anyone to create an event and request to be added to the festival line-up, with events being held in every state and territory.
There are close to 60 events confirmed to date including conferences, meetups, startup weekends, webinars, workshops and symposiums.
“There’s a real diversity of events coming together, ” Dawkins said.
They include Yoga for Change and a pop-up Changemakers Library.
Dawkins said the festival was on track for over 100 events but conceded his personal target of 200 may be optimistic for the event’s first year.
Event partners already confirmed include Think|Act|Change, the Transitions Film Festival and Netsquared Adelaide and Melbourne, incubators such as the Foundation for Young Australians, RMIT Social Enterprise and Desert Hub, coworking communities such as Vibewire and Space3, think-and-do tanks such as the Centre for Australian Progress and Centre for Policy Development and platforms for changemakers such as Social Startup 48, Women as Entrepreneurs and StartSomeGood.
The benefits of hosting an event, Dawkins said, include the ability to harness promotional elements of the festival such as the official website and printed program.
He said the theme of Changemaking was broad and flexible to cover a broad scope of events and it is hoped the festival will bring together people in business, government, academia, NGOs and social enterprise.
Corporates may sponsor the festival, be part of hosting and promoting their own events if they engage with the social sector and Not for Profits, or look for local events and form partnerships.
“We need corporates to come to the party. It’s a real goal of ours to see the festival become truly cross-sectoral.”
Dawkins said the social innovation space was a forward-thinking platform for corporates to align themselves with social change.
“The world’s changing faster than it was before. There’s a need to constantly innovate.”
“There’s also an increasing expectation by consumers that brands will do more than maximise profit.”
“People want more meaning in their lives and want to do good by doing good.”
Business, Dawkins said, had a lot of wisdom to share.
“If there’s one thing corporates are good at it’s scaling.”
“Certainly I see an upsurge with start-ups. In the startup space social innovation is incredibly embedded. They’re passionate about making a difference in the world.”
But more and more big corporates also appear to be embracing the concept, Dawkins said, pointing to Apple’s marketing strategies centred around the creation of a better world.
He said the recent ‘Social Innovation—It’s Our Future’ campaign by Hitachi also saw the consumer electronics giant market itself as being a social change leader.
Dawkins said the spread of event locations will not be a hindrance to festival atmosphere or a sense of community.
“There will be a sense of pride and connectedness in the Australian changemakers community.”
“The aggregate of opportunities tells a bigger story about what’s happening in Australia and the work that’s being done.”
The event will also include the official launch of Social Innovation Exchange Australia (SIXAUS), the reworked ASIX online platform focused on social innovation work nationwide.
SIXAUS will be the local node of the global Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) based in London, and also the networking arm of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI).
Previously ASIX hosted a comparable event that was smaller in scale.