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SA pushes to become the face of social innovation in Australia

28 October 2020 at 5:23 pm
Luke Michael
A new report explores how the purpose economy can grow in South Australia 

Luke Michael | 28 October 2020 at 5:23 pm


SA pushes to become the face of social innovation in Australia
28 October 2020 at 5:23 pm

A new report explores how the purpose economy can grow in South Australia 

Businesses of all sizes in all industries are being urged to become a force for good, as part of a plan to make South Australia the social capital of the nation. 

The Don Dunstan Foundation’s Thinkers in Residence program has published a report which outlines a roadmap for shaping the future of SA’s social development and economy.

The report aims to build a more purposeful economy – encompassing business models and industries which seek to balance doing well financially with doing good – by promoting not-for-profit and for-profit organisation collaboration.

The Social Capital Residencies program saw five visiting thinkers meet with over 8,000 people to produce recommendations on how to best promote a strong and vibrant purpose economy for the state.

“Ultimately, the goal is to grow the purpose economy, and do so by scaling high potential interventions in critical areas, building networks of collaboration and shifting culture and behaviours – in short, do things differently,” the report said.

“As the thinkers emphasised, these [multi-layered] approaches need to be kept in the forefront of the minds of South Australian stakeholders to achieve substantial and long-lasting change.”

Among the nine recommendations is a call for businesses of all sizes in all industries to become a force for good by actively contributing to the purpose economy.

The report said the narrative needs to shift from a “business to business” or “business to consumer” framework into a “people to people” model.

“By doing that, a new understanding of business gets delivered – one that considers how people are impacted on all levels through everyday business processes,” the report said.

“This frame enables organisations to go beyond more traditional notions of corporate social responsibility and integrate social impact within their everyday operations. The Shared Value Project is suitable for delivering such a narrative.”

The report said groups such as the Social Impact Measurement Network of Australia, Chooks SA and the Social Impact Investment Network SA need to foster collaborations and make connections with purpose-driven businesses.

It also called on the state government to lead the promotion of innovative business models, reduce red tape and enable access to finance for purpose-driven organisations.

Some of the other recommendations include getting all sectors to measure their contribution towards achieving the sustainable development goals, pushing governments to embed social impact into their innovation and economic policies, and encouraging social procurement across all industries. 

The report said these actions could help SA become the “social capital of our nation”. 

“This is an exciting time for Adelaide as it is at the forefront of becoming the face of social innovation – to be widely known as the social capital of Australia,” the report said.

Don Dunstan Foundation chair Dr Jane Lomax-Smith welcomed the report and said the work of the five thinkers would be invaluable to the state. 

“As all of our Thinkers in Residence programs have done, the Social Capital Residencies report will bring additional thought leadership to South Australia,” Lomax-Smith said.

“Our warmest gratitude goes to our former thinkers for the work they did while in the state, and for producing this informative report.” 

The full report can be seen here.

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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