Kick-starting Social Innovation in Scotland

Kick-starting Social Innovation in Scotland
Social Value Lab
04.12.12

A major new initiative has now been launched to encourage and support social and public service innovation in Scotland.

Social Innovation Scotland is a collaborative venture that has been formed as a partnership between the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde University, Social Value Lab, and CEiS (Community Enterprise in Scotland).

Having now become established as a not-for-profit centre, Social Innovation Scotland will embark on a programme of policy research, networking events, learning programmes, and collaborative challenges to help rethink the delivery of public services. Of particular emphasis is the role that communities and enterprising third sector organisations can play in supporting public service design and delivery.

The launch event of Social Innovation Scotland brought together more than 60 public sector leaders, academics, and social entrepreneurs to progress the debate on public service innovation.

Speaking at the launch event, Derek MacKay MSP (Minister for Local Government & Planning) commented:
"The Scottish Government is committed to reforming our public services to make sure they meet the needs of communities up and down the country and Social Innovation Scotland is a great example of how policy makers, social entrepreneurs and business leaders can join together to help inform the debate.”

The establishment of Social Innovation Scotland has been driven by the need to find more effective solutions to the pressing social challenges facing Scotland, and to address the associated pressures on its public services.
Commenting on the focus of Social Innovation Scotland, Jonathan Coburn (Founding Director of Social Value Lab and Social Innovation Scotland) commented:

“For me it’s about reshaping public services based on value rather than cost – radically redesigning services to deliver better outcomes with less resource. This is really tough, but the answers are already all out there. It’s often just a case of bringing together people from different backgrounds to look at these social challenges from new angles – local residents, third sector organisations, service designers, social entrepreneurs, business leaders, technologists, and frontline staff in our public services.”

The initiative will begin straight away to tap into the wealth of academic knowledge, resources and networks available to the University of Strathclyde.

Commenting on the importance of the collaboration, Professor Sara Carter (Head of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, Strathclyde Business School) said:

“The Hunter Centre has a long-standing commitment to supporting social entrepreneurship and innovation. We view this as a highly significant opportunity to focus the University’s resources and disciplines towards a defined set of social challenges. This will be truly applied and collaborative research delivered in partnership with public and third sector partners.”

Social Innovation Scotland will take its place as part of a global network of social innovation centres that now operate in most developed nations, from Mindlab in Denmark (www.mind-lab.dk) to SiG in Canada (www.sigeneration.ca).

Commenting on the international significance of the venture, Gerry Higgins (Chief Executive of CEiS and founder of the Social Enterprise World Forum) said:

“There is huge untapped reserve of ideas and learning from across the international community. This important initiative will help to systematically source and share new thinking from around the world. It will also help to reinforce Scotland’s international reputation as being at the forefront of social enterprise and social innovation.”

Further information about the work of Social innovation Scotland can be found at www.socialinnovationscotland.com or you can contact Jonathan Coburn (Director) at jonathan@socialinnovationscotland.com.