About Social Innovation Sydney

Flavour Crusader team at Social Innovation SydneySocial Innovation Sydney helps change makers connect with one another and building networks to drive social innovation in Australia.

We want to build human-to-human networks of people who care about creating ventures that do social good and create value for society above and beyond the bottom line.

We believe that it is possible to create successful ventures that make a profit and do social good too.

We want to connect people with ideas to people with skills so that they can create new ventures together.


New project: Island Innovation Lab Efate, Vanuatu Jan 16 – 20 2014

We are very excited about this new project that is just starting out in early 2014.

Island Innovation LabWe are collaborating with Paul D Miller (aka DJSpooky) to develop a Carbon Negative Innovation Lab and residency program on Efate in Vanuatu (Just outside Vila).

The Lab will become a location for creative thinkers from all disciplines to undertake residency programs that afford them the time and space to think deeply and collaborate on complex global sustainability issues.

As part of this project we are also partnering with a number of other global programs such as Peaceboat (UN).

The first Island Innovation Lab will run from 16th – 20th January 2014 in Vanuatu. And we will be joined by a number of interested artists, designers, communicators, sustainability experts in Vanuatu.

The Beta Lab will set the tone for the formation of the formal program and the infrastructure that will support it.

Currently we have a wonderful blank canvas, a 500 acre beachfront property with 7 different ecological zones from rain forests to grass lands to bamboo  and palm groves. There are natural springs with fresh water and good solar and wind energy opportunities.

Our goal is to design and develop a minimal impact, carbon positive communal workspace and studios with accommodation for the residency program participants. This will be a social enterprise and aims to partner with and support the local community through employment, education and other opportunities.

As part of the kick-off for this project Selena and Paul will be heading off to Vanuatu along with a number of UNSW students in January 2014.

You can follow updates about the project via Twitter at @theVPF and @selenajoy2

Guest post: The Power of the Purse! by Yolanda Vega

Our guest post today is by Yolanda Vega, CEO of the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Yolanda shares some thoughts on gender, equity, and business. It is interesting to ponder the ‘power of the purse’.

“As a young journalism student the political influence of Australia’s few male media moguls was apparent; that was more than a quarter of a century ago.

When I graduated the industry leaders included Murdoch, Packer, Holmes à Court, Fairfax, Bond and Stokes. There wasn’t a woman in sight – not as an owner, nor as the head of any media group.

Today, we finally have a woman; Gina Rinehart who has in recent times become a shareholder of two large media groups (Fairfax and Network Ten).

The boys have, since the beginning of time, had a concentrated hold and complete dominance in television, radio and the Australian press. The media has influenced what we think, read, see, hear, believe and buy.

This is the primary reason as why women are continuously portrayed by the media in unacceptable sexist ways: men both provide the message and they are the messengers. Violence, sexually offensive, degrading, unflattering and demeaning images of women are delivered daily on all platforms.

It wasn’t until 2011 that Fairfax appointed its first female editor to the Sydney Morning Herald. Amanda Wilson was, and still is, the first and only female editor in Fairfax’s 180-year history.

To finally have a few women in this powerful male dominated space is encouraging, we might even get a different perspective of the world and start seeing a more positive focus on women; a view that shows women are great contributors to our economy and communities – it might even reduce violence against women and show future generations that ‘equality’ is not just a word.

Regardless of your political inclination, it is interesting to hear certain male politicians are requesting the media provide our first female Prime Minister with the same courtesies extended to her male predecessors. Bob Brown recently told journalists that: “the degree of relentless criticism on this Prime Minister coming from male commentators … is sexist and quite ridiculous at times.”

Research shows there is a pattern of misrepresentation, which “underestimates the economic role of women and automatically assigns them to a lower status and/or subordinate positions”. The visibility of powerful, successful and influential women in the media is limited and segregated, providing a totally distorted view of our society.

We need only look at the portrayal of women in sport to get a very clear picture of how the media represents men as strong, intelligent, powerful and confident and how women are valued primarily for their body, with no recognition of skill or intellect.

Ridiculous indeed and the portrayal of women across the board is absurd!

And so too is the recent outrage at Ms Rinehart’s business diversification.

I note that every time I read an article about Ms Rinehart, or hear about her business dealings on radio or television, she is referred to as “the daughter of the late mining magnate Lang Hancock”. This information is superfluous and it is not in the public interest!

Why is the father of the male billionaire constantly excluded and the father of the female billionaire continuously included? Blatant conscious sexism, perhaps?

The portrayal of successful women in, business, sport, politics and community should be equal to that of men, but it’s not and therefore not to be tolerated.

Our economy competes globally; women are great contributors, yet the archaic and demeaning portrayal of women as being weak, fragile, sex symbols and/or incompetent continues at an alarming level. Reporters, journalists, subeditors and editors are constantly breaching their code of ethics and nothing is done about it.

Women have the same rights as men in this country; it’s about time the media started reading their own code of ethics and start adhering to it, as well as observing our anti-discrimination laws.

Any and every woman in this country, irrespective of financial or political status, has the right to do business in any industry she wants. If Ms Rinehart has decided to play in the boys’ media sandpit it is her democratic right to do so and should have the right to keep her family private emails private.

You as a consumer (women make more than 80% of consumer decisions) have the power of the purse and you can influence and affect this and every other business. Remember if women stop buying, the economy will stop dead in its tracks.

Next time you buy something, ask yourself ‘whom am I giving my money to and who will reap the benefits of my hard earned cash?’.”

Interview with Steve Lawrence: the ‘grandfather of social enterprise’ in Australia

It is with sadness we report that Steve Lawrence has passed away after a long illness. He will be missed greatly and we extend our deepest sympathy to Steve’s family.

Steve Lawrence has been a mentor, an inspiration, and a guide to many of us who are involved in social enterprise and social innovation in Australia. This interview with Steve from the Centre for Social Impact is highly recommended.

“This is very special edition of Yakety Yak, featuring the man who many call ‘the grandfather of social enterprise’ in Australia – Steve Lawrence.

Some of Steve’s background and achievements are summarised in the usual Yakety Yak introduction below.

This Yakety Yak is special because Steve was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2007. After years of treatment, Steve’s doctors recently told him that his time is short. At the suggestion of one of Steve’s close friends, we asked Steve whether he’d like to participate in an interview to capture and share some of his life’s stories and learnings, and Steve very graciously agreed. Filmed with some close colleagues and families in attendance, this video is the result.

Some of Steve’s friends also recently launched the Steve Lawrence Social Innovation Sub-Fund to further develop a number of initiatives Steve has been working on in recent years. If you’re someone who Steve’s helped or influenced over his decades of service to social outcomes, or just someone inspired by this video, please consider contributing.

You can read more about the fund here or jump straight to the Australian Communities Foundation website and contribute  here. (Enter the name of the sub-fund you wish to donate to and the amount you wish to donate without the dollar sign.)

Steve’s still a very busy man, but he’s kindly offered to try to respond to anyone’s questions if you have one. To ask a question – or make a comment – please visit our blog page here.

In the meantime, please enjoy the video. I hope you find Steve’s story as inspiring as I do.

Andrew Young

CEO, the Centre for Social Impact.”
Source: Centre for Social Impact