Conference 2018 in Words

Laith Saeed, 2018 Conference Committee Member, recaps our first ever Social Innovation Conference.

Over 120 students and young professionals came in to OGGB on Saturday 5 May for the inaugural Social Innovation Conference. The Social Innovation Conference was a one-day event uniting all to start a discussion on how to tackle today's most pressing challenges in creative and innovative ways. Our attendees built connections, learnt skills, and were inspired with like-minded people.

​“What got us here won’t get us there”.

The swarm of attendees arrived bright and early for registration, receiving a free diary from Frank Stationery and coffee in Ecoware cups. At 9:30, all the conference participants moved into OGGB4 for a truly inspiring Keynote speech by Daniel Flynn, co-founder and managing director of Thankyou. He held everyone's undivided attention as he told the influential story of his social innovation that started as just a small group of university students with a passion. He elaborated on their astounding growth since then, from their insane Coles and Woolworths ad campaign to their breakout, pay what you want sideways book ‘Chapter One’. Despite his success, he always kept himself grounded with his humble purpose to help end global poverty. Daniel taught us many lessons and left us with many simple yet profound quotes to drive us through the day - an especially popular one was “What got us here won’t get us there”.

With Daniel's story fresh in our minds, we moved into group discussions on inequality issues on a range of topics including socioeconomic status, gender, public health, accessibility, youth justice and ethnicity. Following on, morning tea was set up with food generously provided by The Collective, Bread & Butter, Forty Thieves and Ooooby. After prying the attendees from the delicious food on offer and their passionate conversations between each other, we split into two different sessions.

...speakers boldly expressed their thought-provoking views and passionately confronted each others ideas.

In one room, a Hackathon was held, moving people into a frenzy as they tried to solve a pressing social issue - and all in an hour's time! Bonds were quickly made between the team members as they learned how the process works at a crazy pace. Simultaneously, the Public Policy Panel discussed how the public sector can affect social innovation. There was a tense atmosphere as the speakers boldly expressed their thought-provoking views and passionately confronted each others ideas.

After these two exciting sessions, everyone came back together full of new ideas and now filled their bellies with lunch that was kindly provided by Zambrero and Almighty. On top of this, many organisations set up stalls across the foyer to showcase their unique and socially innovative products and services.


Now that their energy had been restored, our attendees again separated into their preferred sessions - this time there were two panels and a roundtable discussion to choose from. The Technology Panel covered creative ways that each panellist’s business used the latest technologies to approach social issues. Meanwhile, the Missions vs. Profits Panel spoke on the societal responsibilities that the private sector has. At the same time, the Journey of a Social Innovator was shared in small round table conversations. The participants truly valued obtaining the personal insight of the changemakers who had successfully managed to combine their passions for business and social issues into impactful social innovation.

With these sessions complete, everyone gathered back in OGGB4 for Pitching and Discussion, the final session. To kick it off, a series of individuals and groups presented their ideas for a social innovation, receiving insightful feedback from the audience and establishing connections with those interested in their venture. Once all our entrepreneurs had gone, the floor was left open as many of the other attendees had their own ideas to share and develop further.

...a series of individuals and groups presented their ideas for a social innovation, receiving insightful feedback from the audience and establishing connections with those interested in their venture.

Finally, the amazing event was over! Our co-directors closed off with some kind words and gifts from the Fair Trade Club for our speakers. Following the conference, many attendees took the opportunity to join our community in our post-conference celebration at Green Time.


Thank you all for coming - we hope you enjoyed the event and we’ll see you at our other events this year!

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Inspiring, educating and connecting people with social innovation to create a positive social impact.

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