The Young Foundation research team has been preparing for almost a year for the Social Frontiers conference, which is finally taking place today and Friday. The event, held at Glasgow Caledonian University’s London campus, brings together 120 researchers from around the world, including Brazil, China, South Africa and South Korea. From the 148 abstracts we received from 33 countries, 27 have been selected to present at the conference this week.
The aim of the conference is to reach across disciplinary and national boundaries to build and strengthen the global community of social innovation researchers. The event begins with a keynote session featuring Frances Westley, Chair in Social Innovation at Canada’s Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, in conversation with Geoff Mulgan of Nesta regarding the past and future of social innovation research. In the afternoon, Roberto Mangabeira Unger of Harvard Law School speaks on ‘The Task of the Social Innovation Movement’, and papers will be presented on themes including ‘Why Social Innovation Matters Now’ and ‘Analysing the Dynamics of Social Innovation’. An evening event will feature Mariana Mazzucato of Sussex University’s Science and Technology Policy Research Unit discussing her recent book The Entrepreneurial State, which argues the common perception of the state as bureaucratic, risk averse and an impediment to innovation is a myth; on the contrary the state has actively opened up, shaped and created new markets through its investments in innovation.
The second day of the conference tomorrow will focus on governments’ role in social innovation and social innovation and the ‘second economy’, before finishing with a session focussing on European social innovation projects and a participatory session to look forward to a new research agenda for the field.
The Social Frontiers conference is being led by Nesta, TEPSIE (represented by The Young Foundation), Glasgow Caledonian University and The Rockefeller Foundation, with support from the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), DESIS Network and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford. The conference is now fully subscribed, however we will be tweeting throughout the conference at @TEPSIE_EU, and are looking forward to welcoming friends and colleagues on Thursday.