On Thursday, November 30, the Mauritius Research Council (MRC) brought together diverse professionals from the public, private and NGO sectors for Red Dot's inaugural event, a one-day Workshop on Social Innovation, which is a topic close to our hearts. And we came in to a full house!
Innovation isn’t just about technology, mobile apps, or AI. It is in fact a mindset and process of creative problem solving, that can also be applied to tackle the unmet needs in society. We were also pleased to hear that MRC was announcing a new social innovation grant scheme to support innovative social projects.
In the iconic Red Dot approach to learning, participants engaged in a series of fun and interactive activities, learning about creative confidence, the mindsets required for social innovation, as well as a condensed cycle of the design thinking process. Participants also teamed up in groups, to build personas, frame problem statements, and worked on tackling complex problems such as poverty, youth unemployment, gender-based violence, as well as public health!
One profound moment happened just before lunch, where an emotionally-charged conversation gave rise to a collective realization of how much we unconsciously stereotype and judge others, which are precisely the barriers to empathy and innovation.
We were proud of the way groups held space for each other, where no question was too silly, and no idea too far-fetched. They called upon each other to share experience and wisdom, and built on each other’s insights to approach problems in a spirit of empathy. The goal was to shift from a more “policy-centered” solutions, to explore the surprising solutions that would emerge when we take a more “human-centered approach”.
Social problems are complex, and solving these problems can no longer only be the job of government. Every individual’s role in society - whether a policy-maker, a teacher, a parent, a daughter, a neighbour, or a citizen, lends itself a unique perspective that can contribute to an innovative social solution, if only we learn the right mindset and process for creating innovative solutions.
It is up to everyone, to be a change-maker!