Building the changes the world needs: a workshop on social innovation


Current and coming generation will face complex problems that are global in scope but rooted into interconnected local realties. Together, they build up to grave crises, such as climate change, massive loss of biodiversity, international terrorism, and accumulated humanitarian crises tied to poverty, conflict, environmental crises, and mass migrations. The construction of solutions to such problems is inherently interdisciplinary (because integrating activities of diverse disciplinary nature) and multilevel (because comprising action ranging from local to global levels). Moreover, there is growing evidence (e.g., listed references) that these solutions often emerge as large-scale social innovations that depend on novel modes of interaction among the civil society, governments, and businesses.


The ultimate pedagogic objective  is to seed interest, to foster enthusiasm, and to equip future architects, engineers, and managers with some of the initial skills to build solutions to complex global problems. Overall, we will learn from extant social-innovation initiatives to reflect and act on the analysis, design, and implementation of solutions to complex global problems. Emphasis will be placed on the interdisciplinary, the practical, the evolutive, the collaborative, the context-dependence, and the reflexive dimensions of social innovation processes.


The proposed seminar is built upon two previous successful editions. It will shed light on how to use social innovation to build solutions to complex problems. Ideally, it should enthuse the engagement of students of architecture, engineering, and management who wish to act together to build a better world.

Key words

Social innovation / Global issues / Interdisciplinary action


Guilherme Azevedo, PhD (Audencia)