Social Innovation Exchange

published by Six

SIX is a social innovation exchange built on mutual value, relationships and knowledge. We work globally to facilitate purposeful cross-sector conversations, that challenge and inspire people to use innovation to increase social impact.

The following is an excerpt from the SIX Introduction Report.

SIX Introduction

The story of SIX

We live in unprecedented times. The challenges we face are more complex and more extraordinary than ever. Whether it is how to live in increasingly polarised societies, how to make AI work for everyone, or how to achieve the SDGs, everyone is affected.

We need a diverse set of actors and instruments to address the complexity of the world we live in. As diversity is essential to innovation, we curate exchanges between, and within, foundations, governments, businesses, universities and practitioners. Over the past ten years, SIX has created a lively, active, and impactful exchange between socially innovative thinkers and doers. This exchange is based on mutual value. It is more than a network and more than just talk, it improves societal wellbeing. We connect knowledge to action. And we do this through a diverse set of activities: convening, capacity building and by creating knowledge and learning.

This exchange is more than a network and more than just talk, it improves societal wellbeing.
– Louise Pulford, Executive Director, SIX

Our impact is currently most visible in five areas of expertise. We curate experiences to support the existing social innovation community, and to expand the movement by bringing in new players. We increase the impact of philanthropic funding, we influence policy to incorporate social innovation agendas, and we equip universities with the necessary capabilities for the future. As a result of all of our activities, we improve the way organisations work, influencing behaviour, process and culture in order to change systems.

In the coming years, SIX must continue to grow the social innovation movement and develop more thriving ecosystems around the world, so that more people are ready for the future.”

Linking the best practitioners around the world can generate new energy, new insights and new confidence about how to achieve change for the better.
– Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta and Founder of SIX

SIX started with a very simple idea: that linking the best practitioners around the world in the right ways can generate new energy, new insights and new confidence about how to achieve change for the better. The aim was to break away from the glitzy conferences where over polished presentations told of successes – and instead encouraged a more open and honest discussion about the practical challenges of change: whether raising money, growing organisations, or handling the relations with governments and politics.

SIX was set up to link practitioners with a hunger to learn, whether in civil society, business, government or universities. SIX has played an instrumental role in helping the social innovation movement gain ground on many fronts – with brilliant work on the ground all across the world, new funds, burgeoning fields such as impact investment or digital social innovation, engagement from at least some governments and ambitious programmes in universities.

The bad news is that in many parts of the world the climate for social innovation is deteriorating – with authoritarianism, prejudice and lies all gaining ground, and fears that the gains of recent decades are being reversed. That makes it all the more important that everyone who cares about social change bands together and that we keep encouraging more and more people to join this exchange. However isolated and embattled you may feel, there are thousands of others who are willing to give and to share. Together we are always stronger than when we are apart. SIX is a practical expression of that simple but very powerful idea.


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