Social Innovation Workshop with MRC

On 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!

Lots of laughs to kickstart our first exercise about unlocking creative confidence!

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 experiential 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 team in deep discussions while building up their target audience persona

One profound moment happened just before lunch. After an emotionally-charged conversation, there was a collective realization of how much we naturally and unconsciously stereotype and judge others.

Our natural tendency to judge and stereotype is precisely one of 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. Participants 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”.

Final remarks from the group as we shared our individual AHA moments

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.

Here are the slides from the morning presentation: