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Eyes wide open: knowledge for the common good

Professor Nico Stehr, the Karl Mannheim Professor of Cultural Studies at the Zeppelin University in Germany remarked on the first day of the Masters of Social Innovation program that “most of our lives are spent half-asleep”. It jolted me awake given the fog of jetlag that was floating around in the corners of my brain.

The focus of our discussion was ‘knowledge’ and how knowledge differed from ‘information’. It is well acknowledged that those living in the Western world have more access to information than at any other time in history. But does this information give us knowledge? Or does this information keep us half-asleep? Read more

The Swedish Model in action

Looking around Stockholm, there is much that appears very similar to Australia. There are reruns of bad American sitcoms on television in English, there are similar public transport systems, education systems and shopping centres, and if I see another poster or billboard of Beyonce advertising H&M I think I might rip it down myself.

But when you scratch the surface, there are some interesting cultural differences. Read more

Switzerland and collective impact

Switzerland is a stunning country. Clean, neat and ordered with an abundance of natural beauty that you could sit and stare at for hours.

Alongside admiring the snow capped mountains, green hillsides dotted with cows with cow-bells jangling around their necks, enjoying Swiss chocolate and wandering through the ‘old towns’ in Switzerland’s cities, one of our favourite things to do when we’re travelling is to watch people. Read more

Here’s a new social innovation: stop mindless consumerism

One the second day of the Masters in Social Innovation program, two questions were asked – how much is enough, and what makes for a ‘good life’?

The questions are analysed in a book by Robert and Edward Skidelsky called How Much is Enough? Money and the Good Life. The authors ask, within a world of ever diminishing resources, how much ongoing consumption is really necessary to achieve a ‘good life’?

That got us thinking about the Western world we live in, why it operates the way it does, and what we might do about it. Read more