Welcome to ‘Social Innovation for the Common Good @ GCU’. This blog has been developed to promote the stories and achievements of our socially innovative students, staff and community partners.
The concept of social innovation has taken off in recent years as governments and civil society organisations search for new solutions to entrenched social problems such as poverty, ill-health and climate change. While there is no commonly accepted definition, there is a broad consensus that social innovation involves novel approaches to tackling social problems and meeting social needs, where the value created serves all of society and not just the few.
This is particularly appropriate at GCU where we have a long tradition of social innovation, perhaps best exemplified by the work of our Chancellor and Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus. As our University motto – For the Common Good – implies, we are proud that many of our students come from the poorest areas of the cities we serve. Principal Pamela Gillies describes GCU’s commitment to the Common Good as:
Providing opportunities to talented students whatever their background and circumstances and applying our research ideas, knowledge and expertise by aligning and collaborating with others for the practical benefit of the individuals, communities and organisations, we serve at home in Scotland and overseas, all to ensure lasting impact.”Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, Glasgow Caledonian University
Our pioneering work in the field of social innovation has recently been recognised by Ashoka U, a worldwide network of universities, colleges and likeminded individuals, who are using the transformative power of education to drive social change and help to develop the next generation of international social entrepreneurs.
GCU is the first university in Scotland to be awarded Ashoka U Changemaker Campus status and this provides students and staff with a platform to connect with leading universities across the world, including Brown, Cornell, Duke and Johns Hopkins. GCU has joined an influential community that shares ideas and resources to help towards the development of a more socially just society.
Much of the work being done by students and staff at GCU may well be socially innovative without necessarily being recognised or described as such. It is our hope that, through this blog, people working in this field can share their stories and work together to develop novel approaches to tackling social problems and meeting social needs.