Social Innovation is new as a term to York St John and may well be unfamiliar to you. As you may have seen in September’s YorkTalk, social innovation is an umbrella term embracing social enterprise and notions of social and solidarity economy focusing on processes, actions and solutions that create social value. Essentially, we know that we already have in place initiatives, resources, processes and practices that offer social value to our internal community – staff and students – and our diverse external community – religious, sports and artistic groups, schools and other institutions. What we need to do is to join them up, recognise and celebrate them, find opportunities to do even more and then to work out what impact we are having. Every week I discover something else we are doing to help the community – I’ve discovered two already today – and I will also be writing about the fantastic work that the Students’ Union does with its fundraising.
What is my role?
I’ll let you know when I am sure but for now it’s bringing groups together (Social Innovation Development Group) and a group of HEIs who are all Social Enterprise Mark holders, finding out what is happening, encouraging staff, students and partners to work with me to help York St John make a difference. I am meeting as many people as I can across the university in the time that I have.
What else do I do?
I also support a micro-finance project in Nairobi http://blog.yorksj.ac.uk/socialeconomy/ and I would encourage readers to follow the sister blog which is dedicated to the Social and Solidarity Economy in Higher Education and to look at the outstanding work that my colleagues have been doing in that area. I’m also secretary of York Timebank http://www.yorktimebank.org.uk/ but more of that some other time.
I also try to network as much as possible and I’ll refer to a recent conference I attended in another blog entry.
Dr Mike Calvert (Social Innovation Developer)