Issue/WT Notices2012.06.07 11:54


[International News from the WT]


1. Reflection on the Asia NGO Innovation Summit


Marie Myung-Hee LEE

Head of International Affairs, Work Together Foundation


The second ANIS took place in Jeju Island, the treasure of Korea, in October, 2011. The Work Together Foundation(WTF) joined the summit and met NGO leaders from around the world, and fully enjoyed the two nights and three days of fascinating co-working opportunities with them. Under the theme of “Promoting Social Innovation in Asia: Strategies and Methods,” it facilitated productive conversations among participants and has hopefully laid the path for the future collaboration.


 


 



Starting with the keynote speech by Robin Murray, the forum put a focus on the necessity of innovation in the social sector to magnify its effect with limited resources. Robin, one of the pathfinders of the civil sector in the UK, gave some lessons about what to consider when NGO leaders make social innovation. First, he stressed the importance of putting human relationships before the technology. Even though technology is also important for making social innovation and magnifying its impact, he put the importance on people, and stimulating them to be volunteers for social innovation. Technology can then be used to make the innovation take off suddenly. Secondly, we should be pragmatic when we think about innovation, rather than arguing endlessly about ideas. Third, we can make social innovation more consistently when we collaborate with universities to give reflective practices to future generation, utilizing the resources of the universities. Fourth, we should remember to keep it small and humane. This does not mean that you should make your social impact small; rather, make the unit small while making a big system. Finally, it is good to build your own stories to motivate yourselves and others. Sharing a narrative helps you to motivate people and keep the flow. Robin’s speech was short but powerful, making the participants think about their roles, as well as reinforcing them.


On the second day of the forum, we went deep into how we can make social innovation - its methodology and cases. It started with the Social Innovation LAB by David Kelly of TACSI. He started with the question, ‘How can we improve eating yogurt?’ Eating yogurt certainly doesn’t have any fatal problems which need to be solved. But it definitely has some points to be developed to ease the process. A simple question, but one that is hard to answer. He said, “Surviving is not thriving.” It encouraged us to upgrade ‘how to eat yogurt.’ He also talked about the four categories of social changes with two factors - the degree and speed of changes and the space where the changes happened.



Inside of System

Out of System

Incremental

Improve

Combine

Radical

Reinvent

Transform


He also talked about the Family by Family project to illustrate the process of social innovation. It varies case by case, but he explained the basic process as: problem-> behavior-> practice-> social impact. When it comes to the community, this process can be: problem-> proto talking -> interaction -> institutionalize. Through this workshop, people learned to think about how they can start social innovation in their organization.


During the three days, many NGO cases were introduced and discussed actively by several participants. The main keywords of the cases are below.

- Group Entrepreneurship rather than entrepreneurship alone

- Action with simple vision and no hesitation, but considering enough

- Encouraging citizen participation

- Professionalism in one’s own field

- Cooperation and networking

- Thinking locally but acting globally

- Making social impact through social innovation

- Utilizing social media, and being smart about technology

- Changing the world while having fun

- Engaging other sectors (government, private companies)

- Scaling while understanding different contexts

- Everyone can be the driving force of the whole change

 

 


As day-to-day events, the participants could visit the Daum Global Media Center, one of the biggest ITC company in Korea, which plans to move its headquarter to Jeju, and the Jeju Olle, a road like the 'Pilgrim Road to Santiago,’ to experience the nature of Jeju while hiking. It was interesting to learn about innovation in Jeju, the local community, through the Olle.


Finally, ANIS2011 showed the value of new summit-style meetings when it comes to encouraging people to collaborate ceaselessly. Headlining the strong points of the ANIS format, I would like to conclude this report. WTF hopes these reflections will be reflected in ASES2012 (www.asiases.org).


- Preparing the next summit while attracting ANIS participants’ opinions and contributions during this summit

- Out-of-the-building activities which make people excited and network with each other every day

- Tight time management for the sessions, but relaxed time in the morning, which can make people participate more intensively during the sessions

- Jeju, a venue where people cannot go away but still feel happy with it and can understand the local community

- Creative session organizing to allow the participants to move, think, and speak out

- No summit declaration, but an online platform and work groups to continue the influence of ANIS2011


In conclusion, ANIS2011 was a smart and passion generating platform where people could make friends and work together. There is no doubt that its core strength is faithful and devoted coworkers to convene the summit and build it together. WTF sees the collaboration which has started already, and anticipates how the next forum will be.

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