On October 4th, our team welcomed a delegation from South Korea’s Ministry of Interior composed by Ha Inho, Lee Hyosun and Lee Seong-eun, members of the country’s first social innovation agency.
The meeting was an opportunity to get to know each other’s work and exchange ideas about how to strengthen social innovation ecosystems, how to collaborate between sectors, and how to scale promising initiatives.
South Korea, committed to social innovation
During the past years, new, more diversified and complex social issues, such as decreased childbirth, ageing population and social polarization, have emerged in South Korea. As a consequence of this rapid change, local and central governments have found themselves in difficult situations to address new challenges as diverse as interregional disparities, insecurity or insufficient educational facilities for people with disabilities.
Even though in 2016 the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked South Korea in the 14th position of their Social Innovation Index, after the “candlelight revolution” and the subsequent political shift there has been an increase in citizen-led initiatives to address their own needs.
Aligned with this paradigm shift, the Social Innovation Bureau was created by a task force with the aim of supporting the development of new innovations and scaling existing ones. The idea is to involve citizens, private enterprises, society in general and local governments in decision-making processes and the co-creation and implementation of innovations. Through diverse activities this office is trying to enable local ecosystems, support the public sector to create capacity for innovation and identify projects with high potential impact.