Big ideas bloom at social innovation workshop

Published:28 April 2016

Nearly 100 people participated in the sold-out Melbourne Knowledge Week 2016 workshop at CQUniversity Melbourne.

Aspiring social innovators have flocked to CQUniversity Melbourne, for a fun and interactive workshop on changing the world. 

As part of Melbourne Knowledge Week 2016, CQUniversity teamed up with Engineers Without Borders, social enterprise developers Social Traders, and the School for Social Entrepreneurs, to present Social Change: Inspire and Accelerate.

Held at the busy Spencer St campus on Tuesday 3 May, the sold-out event engaged nearly 100 participants, challenging them to identify opportunities to create innovation and change in their world, and giving them practical advice and frameworks to make a difference.

Led by Associate Vice-Chancellor (Victoria) Lara Carton and CQUniversity Social Innovation director Dr Julie Roberts, the workshop utilised Poll Everywhere technology to get live crowd input into social solutions.

Participants also heard inspiring accounts of real-life social change from presenters Dr Andrew Ingham (School for Social Entrepreneurs), Mark Daniels (Social Traders) and Jane Hadjion (Engineers Without Borders).

Tackling four big issues in a group brainstorming session, the workshop then saw participants deliver four big ideas for tackling issues around asylum seekers, public health, the environment and education.

Ms Carton praised the enthusiasm of the attendees, and their willingness to share knowledge and insights. 

"The room was electric - I wish I could have bottled the energy!" Ms Carton said. 

"The live Poll Everywhere technology was definitely a great way to start the conversation - and it didn't take long until the whole audience was buzzing with ideas."

The presenters and participants then enjoyed networking and refreshments, provided by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

"Procurement processes are a great way to support social innovation - and at CQUniversity Melbourne, we're proud to have made the decision to only source our catering from socially innovative organisations," Ms Carton said. 

CQUniversity Australia is setting the agenda for social innovation in education, with core values to empower its students, staff and communities to drive positive change.

With a national footprint across five states, CQUniversity learning, teaching and research embeds practical skills for creative problem-solving, a philosophy of “giving back”, and engagement with community, industry and government.  

This year, CQUniversity has taken its social innovation agenda to the world stage, with membership of Ashoka U, a global not-for-profit organisation seeking social change through education, innovation and entrepreneurialism. 

The MKW event also kickstarts a series of lectures and events focused on social innovation at CQUni Melbourne in 2016, with a homelessness panel up next on Tuesday 17 May.

Melbourne Knowledge Week 2016 (May 2 – 8) includes more than 60 horizon-expanding events exploring the innovation, creativity and technology shaping our future, and is proudly presented by the City of Melbourne.