Sir Stephen Tindall opens social innovation conference

The theme for Massey's 2016 Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference is 'Collaborating for Impact'

Keynote speaker Sir Stephen Tindall

Professor Anne de Bruin.

Collaborating for Impact’ is the theme of the third Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference, which takes place at Massey University’s Auckland campus from February 10-12. The event will open with a public lecture by Sir Stephen Tindall, founder of The Warehouse and The Tindall Foundation, which has been distributing philanthropy for the past two decades.

Sir Stephen will discuss the relationship between the profit and non-profit worlds and how he sees traditional philanthropy evolving into a “hand up, not hand out”.

“With the funds we distribute through The Tindall Foundation we aim to make people self-sufficient so they are not reliant on welfare,” he says. “It’s using philanthropy to empower people.”

Conference chair and director of the New Zealand Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research Centre Professor Anne de Bruin says the media has raised awareness of the philanthropic endeavours of high-profile entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, but New Zealand has a different style of giving.

“In this digital age when super wealthy internet tycoons like Mark Zuckerberg engage in philanthropy there is a lot of media noise, yet the style and structuring of his giving is contentious,” she says.

“New Zealanders are not so ‘in your face’ with their charitable giving but we have entrepreneurial philanthropists too. There are several foundations and family trusts that are doing great work, including The Tindall Foundation. This is a rare chance for the public to hear from Sir Stephen Tindall himself.”

Wicked problems will only be solved by collaboration

The truly important trend in social innovation, Professor de Bruin says, is collaboration across sectors, between organisations and amongst individuals – and that’s why this year’s theme of ‘Collaborating for Impact’ was chosen for the conference.

“We are facing social and environmental problems at a global and local level that can only be tackled with collaboration across the public, business and non-profit sectors,” she says.

“We only have to look at New Zealand’s housing problems for those on lower incomes – the only viable solution will come from collaborative social innovation in housing.”

Professor de Bruin says the conference is an opportunity for businesses, social entrepreneurs, non-profits, academics and policymakers to all share ideas. 

“This is not a purely academic conference ­– we have many social entrepreneurs attending who will discuss what they are actually out there doing.”

Other keynote speakers include Stella Avramopoulos, chief executive of Kildonan UnitingCare, an innovative organisation within one of Australia’s largest welfare networks, UnitingCare Australia. Kildonan delivers financial counselling, energy advice, settlement services and family support services to more than 20,000 Victorians each year. She will give a joint presentation with leading social enterprise researcher Professor Jo Barraket, director of the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.

Professor Jurgen Howaldt and Antonius Schroder from the Technical University of Dortmund in Germany will present findings from a large-scale, European Commission funded multimillion dollar global research project that aims to determine the conditions under which social innovations flourish.

Closer to home, Diana Suggate, senior policy analyst from the Department of Internal Affairs, and Alex Hannant, chief executive of the Ākina Foundation, will host a session on the practical actions that could help to grow social enterprise in New Zealand.

The full programme for the Massey University Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference can be viewed at: Media are welcome to attend.

Details for the public lecture by Sir Stephen Tindall:

Date: Wednesday February 10

Time: 6.00-7.30pm (Lecture commences at 6.30pm)

Venue: Sir Neil Waters Lecture Theatre, Massey University Auckland campus, Albany Expressway, Albany

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