Exploring some heresies in social enterprise/innovation/impact

Just to give a plug for this wonderful new project, Kittens Are Evil, from  @benmetz and friends and with some help of former colleagues of mine at Newcastle University Business School

To copy from their About section:

“Saying social enterprise, or social investment, or social innovation are flawed is like saying kittens are evil. It’s heresy!

By prefixing ‘social’ to enterprise, investment and innovation we seemingly obviate any need for a critical analysis of whether or not these enterprises, investments and innovations are social, and therefore, presumably, good.

Indeed, by broadly sidestepping any such enquiry not only do we miss the chance to explore whether they are doing any good, but also whether they are doing any bad!

This is not exactly true. Many excellent thinkers examine and critique these fields. However, their thinking and writing is generally inaccessible (often academic, often little known) and is not aggregated, nor actively promoted to those who have already drunk from the holy grail of all things social…

Kittens are Evil is a small effort to address this, to bring this thinking together, to look long and hard at all things prefixed with ‘social’ through a critical lens, and to shout about it to those with their nose to the social grindstone, trying to do good in the world.

Over the coming months we’ll be posting up some pretty academic, intense and esoteric papers, accompanied by short and accessible summaries. All these papers have one thing in common: to challenge social sector orthodoxy and inspire liberated and alternative approaches to addressing the underlying issues that these ‘social’ sectors purportedly address.

Acknowledgements and thanks to Charlotte Pell, Rob Wilson and Toby Lowe, all at Newcastle University, for the inspiration of their Little Heresies lecture series, the Kittens are Evil book, exploring heresies in public policy and their support in developing this website (including our blatant plagiarising from their original text). Thanks guys!”


Innovation in Care: Monday 12th Feb

One day conference for practitioners, researchers, and change-makers 

Date: Monday, 12th February 2018 

Location: Professor Stuart Hall Building, Goldsmiths College, New Cross, London SE14 6NW. 

Cost: £15 (lunch included) 

Register at: https://goo.gl/Z2nmn7 

Email: ASomers@nightingalehammerson.org 


Brought to you by Nightingale Hammerson and the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship

9:00-9:30 – Conference registration

9:30-11:15 – Session 1

Helen Simmons, CEO, Nightingale Hammerson 

Stephen Burke, CEO, United for All Ages 

Judith Ish-Horowicz, MBE, Co-Founder and Director, Apples and Honey Nightingale CIC 

Ian Bennett, Head Teacher, Downshall Primary School 

Professor Alex Murdock 

11:30-12:45 – Session 2

Lorraine George, Childminding Development Worker, Torbay Council 

Diane Boyd, Senior Lecturer in Early Years, Liverpool John Moores University 

Jane Fonteyn, Regional Youth Development Officer, St John Ambulance 

1:30-3:10 – Session 3

Joanna James, Lead Dementia Nurse, Imperial College Healthcare Trust 

Students from Activate Learning 

Professor Julienne Meyer, School of Health Sciences, City, University of London

Simon Pedzisi, Director of Care Services, Nightingale Hammerson 

3:30-4:30 – Session 4

Alastair Addison, Head of Activities, Nightingale Hammerson 

Ali Somers, PhD, Nightingale Hammerson 

Richard Hull, PhD, Course Director, MA in Social Entrepreneurship, Goldsmiths 

Register at: https://goo.gl/Z2nmn7 

Email: ASomers@nightingalehammerson.org 


Book Launch Wednesday 6pm RHB142

We are very pleased to invite you to join us for the book launch of ‘Social and Solidarity Economy: the World’s economy with a social face’ that brings experiences from different social and solidarity economy initiatives around the world.

This book aims to provide the reader with an insight into the relevance of a section of the economy, which is often referred to as the ‘social and solidarity economy’ (SSE); and highlight some of the current issues in the field, how they are being addressed and some of their future implications. Using case studies from around the world, this book ‘Social and Solidarity Economy: The World’s Economy With a Social Face’ provides an up-to-date account of the strengths and weaknesses of these initiatives across four continents including issues that have not been researched sufficiently before (e.g. circular economy, social propaganda and its dangers, social enterprise as a panacea for NGOs in developing countries, and ‘new’ social movements).

There is growing interest in SSE initiatives among policymakers, foundations, researchers and academic institutions around the world. Despite this interest, SSE related research remains scarce. There are concerned that SSE initiatives, which contribute significantly to their local communities’ development, need to be more widely disseminated amongst the general public. The Social and Solidarity Economy: The World’s Economy With a Social Face will help promote the ground-breaking work being done by organisations and individuals but which remain undocumented and help to raise awareness of such initiatives as well as contribute to academia with a critical approach to the sector covering issues that have not been covered much before, such as the circular economy and the dangers of social propaganda.

Aimed at researchers, academics and policy makers in the fields of Social Enterprise, corporate social responsibility, tourism, International Economics as well as supporting disciplines ‘Social and Solidarity Economy: The World’s Economy With a Social Face’ looks to establish and help define the field.

This event is a chance to learn more about the book and meet the academics involved. It will be a celebration of the book and the authors, with a panel discussion and the presentation of the film feature ‘Memoirs of Solidarity’ that was produced as a result of this research.

Event outline:

  • Welcome from Richard Hull, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Author – Andres Morales (brief introduction to the book and film feature)
  • Reviewers talk about the book (Servane Mouazan, Founder of Ogunte and Richard Hull, Director of MA in Social Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths)
  • Q&A session

The book can be preordered and please do send in any questions you have for the panel who will do their best to answer them at the event.

Link to the book: https://www.routledge.com/Social-and-Solidarity-Economy-The-Worlds-Economy-with-a-Social-Face/Calvo-Morales-Zikidis/p/book/9781138935563

Link to the film feature: http://www.memoirs-of-solidarity.org


Social Enterprise Lecture Series Spring 2018

Institute for Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship

Social Enterprise Lecture Series Spring 2018

Admission is Free; Open To All within and beyond Goldsmiths (No need to book)



Room PSH 302, Professor Stuart Hall Building

Goldsmiths, University of London, Lewisham Way, SE14 6NW

Time: Tuesdays 5 – 7pm

See here for Directions to ICCE: http://s.coop/25xg4



Tues 9th Jan Daniel Stanley, Cohere Partners & Small Axe The Secret Advantage of Social Impact Business
Tues 16th Jan Benita Matofska, The People Who Share The Sharing Economy
Tues 23rd Jan Jonathan Rose, MotionFish Media Video production for Crowd-funding
Tues 30th Jan Roxanne Persaud, LFRSA Failure in Social Enterprise – Speaking the Unspoken
Tues 6th Feb Graham Boyd, FairShares Association & EvoluteSix The FairShares Constitution
No Guest Lecture in Reading Week, 12th – 16th February
Tues 20th Feb Ayoade Wallace, ADYNE Empowering you vs Empowering the community: The journey of a social change strategist
Tues 27th Feb Dr Giovanna Speciale, SELCE SELCE and Community Energy
Tues 6th Mar Harsha Patel, Doing Social Disrupting social innovation, pursuing inclusive innovation and co-creation for social change
Tues 13th Mar Erinch Sahan, Oxfam Oxfam’s Future of Business Initiative
Tues 20th Mar Adrian Ashton Business Model Surgery (MA Social Entrepreneurship students only)


For Full Details of each of these, please see following pages. Further enquiries to ICCE Department, V.Tenhave@gold.ac.uk or to Dr Richard Hull R.Hull@Gold.ac.uk


Tuesday 9th January

The secret advantage of social impact business

Daniel Stanley is a social entrepreneur, speaker and communications specialist. He currently leads Cohere Partners, a consultancy that combines the worlds of social movements and brand strategy to help new ventures and corporates to build inspiring brands for sustainable social impact. He also co-founded creative campaigns agency Small Axe. Over the last 10 years he has worked with global campaigns and social businesses including Medecins Sans Frontiere, John Lewis, the Social Business Trust, Refugee Action and Belu Water. With a background in local community organising, and a MSc from the Institute of Social Psychology at LSE, his particular interest is in developing innovative means to broaden the reach and boost the ambition of social impact projects, through a deeper understanding of identity and culture.

Through practical examples and case studies, he will show how any social impact businesses can leverage their core mission to drive burgeoning popularity, outcompete their rivals and deliver sustainable social impact.


Tuesday 16th January

The Sharing Economy

Benita Matofska is a world-leading expert and speaker, renowned for her ability to captivate audiences worldwide with her knowledge, dynamism and passion for the Sharing Economy – a 21st Century phenomenon that is changing the way we think, live and do business. An award-winning social entrepreneur, she is the founder of global social enterprise and consultancy The People Who Share and Global Sharing Week, reaching over 100 million people worldwide.

Driven by the belief that sharing is a solution to our complex global problems, Benita travels the globe delivering her unique insights to people and companies seeking to integrate this economic trend into their businesses and daily lives.


Tuesday 23rd January

Video Production for Crowdfunding

Creating a winning Crowdfunding video pitch is a challenge, especially for social enterprises. The latest statistics show that less than one third of all crowdfunding campaigns reach their goal. Crowdfunders can invest weeks of preparation and spend hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of pounds on a pitch video only to see a campaign fail to reach its target. So what makes a successful crowdfunding video pitch?

In this talk delivered by Jonathan Rose, a video producer and the founder of MotionFish Media Project CIC, he will share insights and experience of producing a number of very successful pitch videos that have generated over £500,000 for his clients (including social enterprises).


Tuesday 30th January

Failure in Social Enterprise – Speaking the Unspoken

Roxanne Persaud LFRSA is an Associate Lecturer on the MA Social Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths; an independent consultant to social start-ups with a background in charity management, both in the UK and overseas; and a Life Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufacture and Commerce. She is currently conducting her doctoral research into social enterprise failure and describes herself variously as a pracademic, a socioprenuerial knowmad, network weaver, serendipiteurse, and scholar of failure. Roxanne’s tweets can be found at @Failwise


Tuesday 6th February

The FairShares Constitution

Fairshares constitution is a methodology that promotes a new approach to capital. It recognizes all capitals invested from diverse stakeholders. In EvoluteSix the primary stakeholders invest capitals related to entrepreneurial, labour, user and financial engagements. It goes beyond simple for-profit. Beyond simple social enterprise. It allows all stakeholders to have a fair share of the wealth generated by a business. It includes social auditing tools to support developing of management of capital, ethical reviews on choice of goods and services as well as production and retailing processes, and specification of social purposes and auditing of its impacts to society.

Graham Boyd is a Partner at EvoluteSix. He has been a research physicist, a manager at Procter & Gamble and a CEO of start-ups. He is also a member of the FairShares Association.


No Guest Lecture in Reading Week, 12th – 16th February


Tuesday 20th February

Empowering you vs Empowering the community: The journey of a social change strategist

Ayo Wallace is a writer, poet and activist based in North West London. For the past decade she has worked in the voluntary sector supporting not for profit community organisations and social enterprises. Through working at a grassroots level in the African Caribbean diaspora in the U.K, she has seen triumphs and challenges in creating social change and will touch on the importance of self empowerment and planning for the future. Ayo will also share her experience of empowering communities and the power of social entrepreneurship in providing vital community services as well as how community space is at risk and what social entrepreneurship can do to respond to government cuts and gentrification.

Now working as Secretary General for the African Diaspora Youth Network in Europe, Ayo has a broad perspective of social development and balancing reality with ambition in order to create greater social impact. ADYNE is an umbrella organisation that brings together African diaspora youth leaders and organisations in Europe and is currently leading a 2 year project to develop a social innovation hub in Uganda.


Tuesday 27th February

SELCE and Community Energy

Dr Giovanna Speciale is co-founder and CEO of South East London Community Energy (SELCE) a pioneering not for profit energy cooperative that aims to transform the way we produce, consume and own energy. She also sits on Board of Community Energy England; the voice for the community energy sector in the UK. SELCE was set up by a group of people who are aware of the need to tackle climate change, for a rapid transition to low carbon energy sources, and to reduce levels of fuel poverty; SELCE was formed as a vehicle for taking action in a locally focused way. SELCE currently owns and operates 326kW of community financed solar PV hosted by 7 local schools that will save them an estimated £445,000 on the costs of their electricity over the 20-year project and reduce CO2 emissions by 146 tonnes annually. SELCE is committed to reducing fuel poverty and has provided tailored energy advice to over 1260 vulnerable householders helping them to reduce energy costs and stay warm and well in winter. Giovanna brings 14 years’ experience in the community sector. Prior to working to establish SELCE she worked as a community research and participation specialist and managed community focused environmental projects. She also has an M.Sc. in Energy Policy for Sustainability at the University of Sussex (and a rather pointless Ph.D in Psychology!)

SELCE’s business model is transformational: it’s about more than social business – it’s about system change. In the three years since they have set up they have encountered multiple barriers. But they learnt a lot along the way and, in terms of size of asset ownership, they are now the largest community energy enterprise in London. The session will describe the story of SELCE from it being an idea in the minds of a few idealistic optimistic energy geeks to present day via the multiple changes in government policy that have rocked their core business model.


Tuesday 6th March

Disrupting social innovation, pursuing inclusive innovation and co-creation for social change

“Social innovation is not inclusive”. Harsha Patel, the founder of Doing Social and a practitioner in the social sector for the last fifteen years, has observed that people from underserved or underprivileged backgrounds do not have the same access to opportunities as others, to participate in, or lead the development of solutions which can improve their life chances. Doing Social seeks to create the conditions for inclusive innovation in the UK, to help fix the flaws and inherent bias they see within the social innovation ecosystem, in order to improve access to opportunities, which can strengthen sustainable outcomes. Doing Social’s business model involves working with a range of partners, including universities, to improve innovation practices and systems, and to create opportunities and resources, so that communities and beneficiaries can co-produce or lead social innovations in ways that are meaningful and helpful to their lives.

The objectives of this interactive workshop are to develop your awareness of the wide range of issues relating to inclusion (or exclusion) within social innovation, to understand the benefits of inclusive innovation, and to give you the opportunity to explore how you can co-create inclusive innovations. Harsha will walk you through a live example of how Doing Social is applying the principles of co-creation within a new degree course they have developed for a university, so you will be able to see clearly how the theory translates in practice and how you can implement these ideas in your future practice. Doing Social is a not-for-profit start-up headquartered in London and they will have a northern base in Leeds from summer 2018.


Tuesday 13th March

Oxfam’s Future of Business Initiative

Erinch leads Oxfam’s Future of Business Initiative. Erinch’s work spans both Oxfam’s enterprise development work and campaigns. Most recently, Erinch led Oxfam’s private sector team, working on collaborative partnerships and campaigns to bring about solutions to the most challenging social issues linked to global business. He also led Oxfam’s work scoring the food companies in the Behind the Brands campaign and subsequently Oxfam GBs Food and Climate Campaigns and Policy Team. Prior to joining Oxfam in 2011, Erinch worked in business, including as a market strategy manager at Procter & Gamble and in government, as a development advisor to Australia’s trade negotiation team in Indonesia. He holds both law and business degrees and has worked across Asia and Africa. Erinch is also an associate lecturer at Oxford Brookes and regularly lectures on sustainable business at various universities, including Cambridge and Exeter.


Tuesday 20th March

Business Model Surgery (MA Social Entrepreneurship students only)

Adrian Ashton has been named “one of the UK’s Top Ten business advisors” by the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Experience with management roles in a wide variety of social enterprises, community organisations and more ‘traditional’ enterprise support bodies enabled him to ‘turn around’ an ailing specialist social enterprise support agency into a nationally recognised body and gained him the recognition as an authority on social enterprises from organisations including the DTI and Bank of England.



Autumn Open Lectures on Social Enterprise

Institute for Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship

Social Enterprise Open Lecture Series Autumn 2017

Admission is Free; Open To All within and beyond Goldsmiths (No need to book)



Room PSH 302, Professor Stuart Hall Building

Goldsmiths, University of London, Lewisham Way, SE14 6NW

Time: Tuesdays (with one exception), 5 – 7pm

 For Directions to ICCE click here


Tues 3rd Oct No speaker today  
Thurs 5th Oct

Room DTH109

Michelle Wright, CEO Cause4 The Journey of a Start Up, and the role of company culture in making the difference between success and failure
Tues 10th Oct Roslyn Scott, Founder, Mobicycle Ltd Mobicycle and E(lectronic) Waste
Tues 17th Oct Alibeth Somers, Nightingale Hammerson Inter-Generational Care
Tues 24th Oct Robert Ashton, Swarm Apprenticeships Becoming the change you want to see
Tues 31st Oct Andrew Curtis, DragonFly Collective The Politics of Social Enterprise
No Guest Lecture in Reading Week, 6th – 10th November
Tues 14th Nov Rhys Pritchard, Restoration Station & Spitalfields Crypt Trust SCT’s social enterprises: A tale of one failure and two successes
Tues 21st Nov June O’Sullivan MBE Be The Best
Tues 28th Nov Kate Welch OBE Title TBA
Tues 5th Dec Ken Banks, Kiwanja.Net Technology-led Social Innovation: Opportunity, Issues and Potential

For Full Details of each of these, please see following pages. Further enquiries to ICCE Department, icce@Gold.ac.uk or to Dr Richard Hull R.Hull@Gold.ac.uk

Thursday 5th October

The journey of a Start Up, and the role of company culture in making the difference between success and failure

Michelle Wright, Chief Executive of Cause4, trained at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and played the violin professionally. A chartered marketer, manager and fundraiser, Michelle set up B-Corporation and social enterprise Cause4 in May 2009 and since has undertaken major strategic and business development projects, including campaign developments with a number of national charities and consultancy work for FTSE 100 brands developing their cultural sponsorship programmes. Michelle also specialises in philanthropy, having recently developed a number of major philanthropy projects for charities and corporates, and having set up new philanthropic foundations for sports stars, artists and entrepreneurs.

In 2014 Michelle was awarded the IWEC award for outstanding entrepreneurial achievement, and represented the UK as a National Champion for Entrepreneur of the Year in the European Business Awards. In 2015 she was recommended to the Maserati 100 list for Entrepreneurs that ‘give back’ and was voted by Salt Magazine as one of the top five compassionate business leaders in the UK, alongside leaders such as Richard Branson. She won the Gold Award for Women of the Year at the San Francisco International Women in Business Awards in 2016 and was awarded the Freedom of the City of London by the Guild of Entrepreneurs in 2016.

Tuesday 10th October

Mobicycle and E(lectronic) Waste

E(lectronic) waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream. Roslyn founded MobiCycle Ltd to empower consumers and organisations to reuse, repair and recycle electronics while completing her MSc in Major Programme Management. Her postmodern dissertation explores how billion pound major programme managers can prioritise locally derived social and environmental benefits over time and cost overruns. Her dissertation also recommends authentic partnerships with local communities operating at the grassroots level.

As a for-profit social enterprise based in London, MobiCycle employs a few tools to launch the business. In this talk, Roslyn will explain how MobiCycle regularly solicits input from actors across the public, for profit and third sectors to paint a bigger picture. For example, journey mapping elucidates the shadowy areas within the circular economy. In these places, we see flytipping, the incineration of plastics, the landfilling of precious minerals and illegal overseas shipments. Mapping the problem is the beginning.

The challenges around creating a sustainable business model plague many if not most social entrepreneurs. Over five years, Roslyn learned how to build a product portfolio that melds cutting edge technology with behaviour change. She constantly asks: how can an entrepreneur maximise income generation while staying true to the core mission? She will share how and when to approach investors or apply for government funding. Finally, Roslyn will discuss some tips on how to leverage technology for non-technical founders.

Tuesday 17th October

Inter-Generational Care

Dr Alibeth Somers, Director of Evaluation and Impact, Nightingale Hammerson & Co-Founder and Director of Apples and Honey Nightingale CIC. Ali began her career in social enterprise as Director of Policy and Development for Social Enterprise London. She then went on to develop an expertise in social impact measurement. Ali was the first Course Director for the MA in Social Entrepreneurship here at ICCE. When taking an extended maternity leave, Ali was approached by her friend Judith Ish-Horowicz, MBE to set up a nursery in a care home. The nursery, Apples and Honey Nightingale CIC, opened in September, and is the UK’s first nursery co-located within an elderly care home with daily intergenerational activities.

Ali is coming to speak to us about the trials, tribulations, tears, and happiness that derived from her three year adventure in setting up this new social enterprise.

Tuesday 24th October

Becoming the change you want to see

Robert Ashton failed his 11+ exam in 1966 and only decades later realised his problem was that he was rather bright, not stupid as he’d been told at school. He’s now a member of Mensa, the High IQ Society.

He left a corporate sales and marketing career in 1990 to find his own way in the world. Since then he’s started and sold businesses, written 19 books and sparked the formation of what is now the UK’s top performing Community Foundation. He’s helped countless social enterprises get off the ground, often asking difficult questions of politicians to win the support needed to enable positive social change. He’s led a successful asset transfer, created an urban community land trust. In 2013, founded Swarm Apprenticeships, a social enterprise that uses enterprise qualifications to empower bright young people who fall through the education net as he did 50 years ago.

Robert will tell his story and explain why he thinks now is the perfect time to start a social enterprise.

https://unbound.com/books/be-the-change  www.robertashton.co.uk


Tuesday 31st October

The Politics of Social Enterprise

Andrew Curtis is a co-founder and Director of The Dragonfly Collective (Melbourne and UK). Andrew has supported some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in Australia and the UK through executive leadership, Board membership, academic research and lecturing, project design and hands-on service delivery. An original member of the Social Entrepreneurs Network in Australia Andrew has consulted to both government and a range of social enterprises – from the very large to the very small. Andrew has a PhD in hermeneutics and an MBA – combining critical thinking with business models and practice. Intrigued by the campaigns around social enterprise in the UK and the lack of a clear definition, this seminar will focus on the politics of social enterprise and how social enterprise can be co-opted by numerous causes.

No Guest Lecture in Reading Week, 6th – 10th November

Tuesday 14th November

SCT’s social enterprises: A tale of one failure and two successes

Rhys Pritchard is the manager of Restoration Station, established by Spitalfields Crypt Trust (SCT). For over 50 years SCT has been supporting people recovering from addiction and homelessness by helping them to get clean and sober, develop self-respect and hope for a much better future. They also run a number of social enterprises that provide a supportive training ground for those in the later stages of recovery and rehabilitation. With profits going straight back into their work, they allow SCT to support more people recovering from addiction. Restoration Station is a vintage furniture shop with a difference. Giving a new life to antique and mid-century furniture provides skills and work experience for people in recovery, it was recently featured in London Design Week and visited by HRH the Duke of Cambridge. At the Paper & Cup coffee shop, trainees learn how to become baristas, serve customers, work in a team and manage a small cafe. Former trainees have gone onto find other work or training. For example, some have the chance to go onto an award-winning apprenticeship scheme with SCT’s partner, Pret a Manger, with a guaranteed full-time job at the end.

Tuesday 21st November

Social Enterprises Must Be The Best

June O’Sullivan, MBE is CEO of London Early Years Foundation, one of the UK’s largest charitable childcare social enterprises. LEYF has 350 staff across 37 community nurseries in 11 key London boroughs, a thriving apprenticeship programme, and it was awarded Nursery of the Year for 2015 for the second year in a row. LEYF recently opened a new nursery in New Cross. June is a regular speaker on social enterprise and will be showing why social enterprises cannot just rely on consumers’ preference for ‘buying social’ and must instead strive to make a better offer than their ‘non-social’ competitors.

Tuesday 28th November

Title TBA

Kate is a serial social entrepreneur who is now working full time in Social Enterprise Acumen CIC to achieve the vision of creating enterprising communities in North East England and across the world. She is passionate about creating an ecosystem in which social entrepreneurs and social enterprises can thrive. As well as inspiring social entrepreneurs through her work with Social Enterprise Acumen CIC she is also a Trustee of the Greggs Foundation, a Director of Communities Together Durham, Director/Trustee of ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) and a Non-Executive Director of the North East Social Investment Company. Kate was awarded the OBE in 2008 for services to social enterprise in North East England and in 2016 she was the winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.

Tuesday 5th Decemnber

Technology-led Social Innovation: Opportunity, Issues and Potential

Ken Banks, Founder of kiwanja.net and creator of messaging platform FrontlineSMS, devotes himself to the application of mobile technology for positive social and environmental change in the developing world. He has worked at the intersection of technology, anthropology, conservation and development for the past twenty-five years and, during that time, has lived and worked across the African continent. He is a PopTech Fellow, a Tech Awards Laureate, an Ashoka Fellow and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and has been internationally recognised for his technology-based work. In 2013 he was nominated for the TED Prize, and in 2015 was a Visiting Fellow at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. In late 2015 Ken was appointed CARE International’s first Entrepreneur in Residence. He is also a published author, with his first edited book, “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator”, self-published in late 2013 with a follow-up, published by Kogan Page, released in March 2016. In this talk, Ken will talk about the challenges of social innovation and international development, and how innovation happens ‘in the wild’ vs. in more controlled environments.

Open:2017 Platform Cooperatives


The 17th century philosopher Spinoza, writing at a time of immense political and religious turbulence, believed that one of the most important political sentiments is hope (so Barack Obama was ploughing a well-worn furrow). As individuals we are relatively weak compared to the cumulative powers of others, but Spinoza said that when we come together through “a common hope” we are strengthened. In these current turbulent times the need to come together has never been more evident.

This is why I am delighted that the Institute for Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths is hosting a major conference on cooperation and the collaborative economy, Open:2017 Platform Cooperatives on the 16th -17th February here at Goldsmiths (a few tickets are still available here).

We are hosting this conference because, as a department we champion new approaches to the organisation of economic activity: new business models; new sources of finance; and the consequent need for new forms of organisation and management. In this vein we have, for the last five years, run the MA in Social Entrepreneurship with a highly inclusive remit. Indeed, the Social Enterprise field is so varied that it is small wonder that some commentators feel impelled to talk about it as a zoo.

For us here in ICCE, that zoo very definitely includes cooperatives and we look forward to hearing how platform cooperatives offer a genuine sharing economy alternative to the likes of Uber, AirBnB, other recent forms of platform capitalism and the ‘super-firms’ dominating the global economic landscape and exacerbating global inequality.

Richard Hull, Programme Director, MA Social Entrepreneurship