III Officially Launches Social Innovation Lab , to Integrate the Development Chains and Build a Demonstration Area for Social Innovation in Asia.
Supported by Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs, III held the open ceremony for Social Innovation Lab on October 18th at TAF Innovation Base. Distinguished guests took a photo after the event. From the left: National Association of Small & Medium Enterprises Managing Director Lin Hui-Ying, Small and Medium Enterprise Administration Director General Wu Ming Ji, Minister without Portfolio Tang Feng, the Executive Yuan Premier Lai Ching-Te, Mango Social Enterprise Founder Lin Ya-En, Yuan Pei Farm Founder Hsu Yu-Jen, Legislator Yu Wan-Ju, and Legislator Chung Chia Pin.
Social Innovation Lab held the opening ceremony on October 18th. Premier Lai Ching-Te (the second from the right in the front row ) and Small and Medium Enterprise Administration Director General Wu Ming Ji (the first from the right in the front row) visited Social Innovation "Gamadiam” shops to support social innovation enterprises by purchasing with mobile payment.
Since "Social Innovation" is regarded as the new driving force and new trend of world changing, Taiwan government dedicates fully to the development of social innovation. Bolstered by Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs, III held the open ceremony for Social Innovation Lab on October 18th at TAF Innovation Base to officially launch the Lab. Visiting guests include government officials such as the Executive Yuan Premier Lai Ching-Te, Minister without Portfolio Tang Feng, Small and Medium Enterprise Administration Director General Wu Ming Ji, large scale conglomerates which have long dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) such as Cathay Financial Holdings, Taipei 101, KGI Bank, Nam-Chow Group, Fabulous Development, Sun-Far 3C, AVEDA, Chen-Mei Group, SOGO, KPMG, Acer Continuous Development Office, as well as companies giving their fully support for social innovation in various fields like O'Pay in electronic payment domain, Shih-Lei Group in Kitchenware systems, etc. Additionally, 25 social innovation teams which are currently locating in the Social Innovation Lab are all invited to attend the ceremony.
After the establishment of the Lab, III expects to gather the resources for the improvement of investing environment and aggregate consensus of different organizations in the society so as to make the public be aware of the definition and tasks of social innovation. By improving the investing environment for social enterprises, it is believed that constructing the healthy environment for the acceleration of social enterprises as well as the sound mechanism for investing in social enterprises could expedite the growing process for the social innovation companies in our country and help them scale up and become commercialized and internationalized.
Social Innovation Lab is based on the believes of positivism, openness, aggregation, and sustainability. Not only does the Lab gather various social innovative solutions and models, but also curate thematic exhibitions. It has positioned itself to become a demonstrative platform for social innovation in our country where professionals in different domains could exchange ideas and learn from each other. Meanwhile, the Lab will establish a thematic association on social innovation. By bringing medium and large scale enterprises as well as sustainable development organizations together and increasing and smoothing the communication and cooperation channels between conglomerate CSR departments and social innovation teams in the society, Social Innovation Lab expects to integrate all these units to form a coalition and strengthen the relationship between different groups. Further, the Lab will get in touch with the international community regarding the issue of social innovation to exchange knowledge and resources. By integrating domestic and foreign resources, the Lab expects to turn into one of the most social innovation hubs in Asia Pacific area which is able to gather imperative social innovation organizations in Asia and collectively demonstrate social innovative new paradigms to the globe as well as communicate with representatives concerning the issue from different countries around the world. Simultaneously, by holding international events, Social Innovation Lab is dedicated to increase its influence internationally and aims to move toward the goal of sustainable operation.
The Executive Yuan Premier Lai Ching-Te expressed his ideas in his speech, " Even though it is important to pursue GDP numbers, however, that is no comparison to pursue happiness and the meaning of happiness is concretely represented in the 17 indicators." For this reason, government established Social Innovation Lab to support the development of youth entrepreneurship and social enterprises and keep up with the other OECD countries in this domain. Solving social problems by social innovation methods also shows the government's determination to achieve the goal of sustainable development by innovative economic models. At the same time, Premier Lai also indicated that the government will make the regulations more flexible so as to facilitate the development of social enterprises. As a result, Premier Lai expected the Lab could operate successfully by not only absorb knowledge from the international community but also promulgate the concept of social innovation to each county in Taiwan. Additionally, the government is looking forward to future private sector's devotion to assist the development of social innovation after the collective efforts to drive the trend of social innovation in Taiwan by various government units, such as Financial Supervisory Commission, National Development Council, Ministry of Labor, and Ministry of Culture, etc.
Minister without Portfolio Tang Feng pointed out that the Lab will have the public participate in the formation process of social innovation policies and mutually construct social innovation ecosystem. By holding forums around Taiwan, the Lab will promote the idea of social innovation and make our citizens understand the importance of it. The Lab will also talk to representatives of various social enterprises face to face so as to come to consensuses how to effectively solve social problems. In addition to government promotion, the Lab will also cooperate with different units in the society such as CSR teams of various companies, NPOs, and NGOs, etc.
III Digital Education Institute Director Jinn-Bao Lee mentioned that Social Innovation Lab gathers excellent social innovation teams in our country. There were 62 teams from different areas of Taiwan applying to locate in the lab. Finally, 25 social innovation teams, whether they are from actual or virtual sectors, were selected to enter the lab and the competition was extremely rigorous. The focuses of these teams are mainly on five domains including food and farming, employment training, eco-friendliness, education and learning, and healthcare. Also, more than 80 percent of these teams have registered as companies. Social Innovation Lab will help these teams bring their products or services in to the markets in various counties, expand channels, and construct business models for fulfilling the win-win goal of enterprise sustainability and social innovation.
What is worthy of mentioning is that DOMI Earth, one of the first extraordinary teams locating in the Social Innovation Lab, dedicates to matching low income households with enterprises. Enterprises provide funding for low income households to replace their old lamps with LED ones so that each underprivileged family could save the electricity expense. The project is expected to influence thousands of underprivileged households and the goals of reducing environment pollution and improving living quality of the disadvantaged minority could be achieved simultaneously. Additionally, iGoods, another team in the lab, is a convenient and efficient goods sharing platform. The main purpose of the platform is to provide matching services for donation items. With the help of the platform, donors could find the social welfare institutions they want to donate easily. The platform offers services for both financial flows and logistics so that the second handed items could be shared through the process within one platform with those in needs.
In the future, Social Innovation Lab will continue its work integrating talents and resources from social innovation organizations, social innovative teams, and CSR units in enterprises to form cross domain coalitions. By regularly cooperating with different units in various domains and providing services regarding technologies, channels, and emerging products, Social Innovation Lab will lead the development of social innovation industry, increase social impact, and build a new demonstrative area in Asia.
* CSR: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) defined CSR as “The commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local communities and society at large to improve their quality of life”. Furthermore, Corporate Social Responsibility Best Practice Principles for TWSE/GTSM Listed Companies made by Taiwan Stock Exchange Corporation and Taipei Exchange (Gre Tai Securities Markets) encourage TWSE/GTSM listed companies to actively fulfill their corporate social responsibility in the course of their business operations so as to follow international development trends and to contribute to the economic development of the country, to improve the quality of life of employees, the community and society by acting as responsible corporate citizens, and to enhance competitive edges built on corporate social responsibility.