Over the past eight years, the annual SIX Summer Schools have brought together leading social innovation thinkers and practitioners from across the world to explore some of the key issues facing the field – such as scaling and innovation in a time of crisis. This year, SIX and the Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI) welcome you to Mumbai for exploration, learning, great food and good company.

How can new ways of connecting make cities better for all?

Across the world, everything is changing – the way we live, traditional roles in society, and the way we connect to one another. Recognising this, governments and policy makers are starting to design services with, and not for, people. Increasingly, ordinary citizens begin to see themselves as active agents in shaping their own lives. This global shift is reflected in the rise of the sharing economy and the new ways citizens are accessing and using big and open data. Instead of a world in which things move top down or bottom up, they now move sideways, from people to people, peer to peer.

Technology is a key enabler in these developments. It is reconfiguring relationships between businesses and consumers; amongst communities and between politicians and citizens. Consequently, we are having to change old perceptions about the public, and alter established notions about policymaking. Many of our old assumptions must be actively unlearned as technology enables citizens to lead and make new things happen in their cities.

We are organising this event at a time when cities are struggling with this all over the world. We all recognise how new technologies can enhance what we do, but we also recognise the value of bottom up, citizen driven community initiatives.

How can and should we all be adapting to the new possibilities that new technological and digital solutions can enable? There are pockets of innovation all over the world, but which models have been successful so far? What can we learn from citizen action efforts in India? How can the new ways of connecting, working and living make better cities for all

The 2015 SIX Summer School

This year’s SIX Summer School will be hosted by, and in collaboration with, the Indian School for Design and Innovation (ISDI) in Mumbai, a buzzing, multi-cultural city with a population reaching 20 million. Mumbai is known for its thriving entertainment industry, and as the financial and commercial capital of India, with an exploding and diverse population. But it is increasingly recognised as a hotbed of some of the most exciting urban innovations, which build on the civic consciousness and social infrastructures of its dense and dynamic neighbourhoods.

India is also the land of Gandhi’s greatest achievements, and contemporary social innovation organizations around the world continue to be inspired by Gandhi’s approach, which emphasized personal change and dialogue as the necessary precondition to large-scale institutional and social change. It is therefore the perfect venue for the 2015 SIX Summer School, which will explore the relationship between new social and mobile technologies and social innovation.

Over the 2.5 days of the 2015 SIX Summer School in Mumbai, we will explore how India’s emerging civic consciousness is impacting on new thinking on cities, citizens and the networks they weave together with their governments and institutions. We will learn from global examples. We will also explore how we can prepare for a radically transformed, open, sharing and ultimately creative society.

We will investigate:

  • How can we build new networks of meaning, mobilization and action in this new paradigm?
  • What are contemporary activists and changemakers in the tradition of Gandhi doing to change Indian cities and communities today? What more would Gandhi have done with the tools of social media and networking that are available today?
  • How are the traditional power holders (corporations, governments, planners) reacting and responding to these changes in relationships, the growing distributed networks and new kind of civic consciousness?
  • What kind of capacities are needed in this new space of interaction – where governments, citizens, companies, and social organisations have a different role – and how can these be nurtured?
  • What does that mean for people, the role of traditional institutions, the way we collaborate, and the support and capacity we need to create a bigger impact?

Learn more here.