The field of social innovation is rapidly expanding – and the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) is keeping pace – brokering new collaborations and becoming ever more global. This year, SIX is going Down Under to host the 5th annual gathering in Adelaide, Australia, partnering with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI), Service Design winner at the 2012 Australian International Design Awards.

Over the past 5 years, the annual SIX Summer Schools have brought together leading social innovation thinkers and practitioners from across the world to explore some of the key issues facing the field – such as scaling, innovation in a time of crisis, and social innovations in specific contexts like cities.

Now that we have a deeper understanding of the process of social innovation, and the methods and tools that are being used all over the world, its time to step back and reflect on how we move into the next phase of growth and development, and avoid some of the problems and pitfalls that happen to fields as they gain momentum. So this year, we plan to focus on two clusters of issues which we know are critically important for practitioners as they experience ‘growing pains’.

Growing Pains

This summer, we plan on doing a deep dive Down Under. Harnessing the collective wisdom of our global network, the 2012 Summer School will shine a light on our growing pains.

The first cluster of issues will look at what we’re calling ‘growing pains for our organisations’. The SIX network includes many organisations that act as incubators and intermediaries for innovators in their countries and cities. There’s now more money and attention flowing into the field and to these organisations. But success brings with it new challenges.

We’re interested in unpacking themes of business model innovation, how we better communicate our values and how we can attract talent, in order to help us grow and sustain our innovations, our organisations and the social innovation field more broadly. We will also look at how the field of incubators, funds and accelerators is evolving.

The second cluster of issues will look at ‘systemic innovation’. Most people involved in social innovation want to do more than just innovate new services and products. We also aspire to transform whole systems – from food and care to education and welfare. But how do we make systemic change more than just words? How can we influence change at many levels – from technologies and markets to public policies and everyday behavior? What are the best examples from around the world – and what practical lessons can be learned?

The Format

This Summer School brings together hand picked international speakers and thought leaders outside of social innovation. Each possess an individual journey and experiences that will inspire and challenge us. We’re looking beyond the world of social innovation because we believe that with different perspectives comes the opportunity to transfer key lessons which strengthen and extend the sustainability and impact of our work.

We will be intentionally creating open learning environments in which we can learn from each others failures as well as successes, be inspired by each others aspirations, and discover new and meaningful opportunities to collaborate across our global network. Pack your ideas, stories and practical examples – and get ready to roll up your sleeves!

As with other SIX events, this Summer School will bring together a unique mix of inspiring people from all over the world and from a wide range of sectors. Policy makers will join with thought leaders, practitioners, academics and funders of social innovation. Collectively, we’ll unite in our desire to effect positive social change and in doing so, enable individuals, families and communities across the globe to lead thriving lives.

How to register

Our numbers are restricted. Spaces for this event will therefore be served on a first come, first served basis. To register your interest please send an email to info[AT] before 6th September. We will get back to you shortly after this to let you know whether we have been able to accept your registration or not. Once you are registered we will send out more information about hotels, venue and other logistical details.

There is a small registration fee of 420 Euros (500 AUD) to attend this event – this includes all meals and all other event related costs. You will need to pay for your own travel and accommodation. If the cost is prohibitive, or you have any other queries regarding the registration fee, please contact kine.nordstokka[AT]