[Beijing Forum 2015] Panel III -- Social Innovation in Times of Change
Peking University, Nov. 6, 2015: On Nov. 6, 2015, scholars on social science had a panel at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, discussing urban governance and social innovations in times of change.
During the panel, Annette Zimeer, president of International Society for Third Sector Research delivered a speech on Inspirations from European Cities focusing on Urban Governance and Social Innovations in Times of change. In her speech, she summarized the results of the comparative analysis of local governance arrangements, conducted under the framework of WILCO and identified four distinctive types of urban governance arrangements which differ significantly concerning policy traditions, as well as cooperation with both the local economy and local civil society organizations.
Zimmer claimed that the shift from “government” to “governance” had appeared in recent years. Governance absorbs civil representatives into the modes of cooperation and decision-making. Then she pointed out that due to the diversity of local traditions and cultures, we need to analyze urban governance from different theoretical framework, so Zimmer enumerated four patterns of governance arrangement: the governance of co-operation characterized by the continuous search of synergies between economic and social policies, the governance of growth which gives priority to economic policies, the governance of social challenges which prioritizes social policy orientations in the production of services, and the conflicting governance of social and economic challenges which constitutes the outcome of a combination of a weak local government and strong economic and social interest groups that create a concurrence between economic and social investments. These models really provide references for Chinese urban governance, and we should think more about how to fuse innovations into the given patterns according to our own condition.
After Zimmer's great speech, professor Min-Hsiu Chiang from the department of Public administration of Taiwan Chengchi University showed us the practice of social innovation in Taiwan today. He briefly explained the significance of non-profit entity, making up for the disadvantages of government departments and satisfying a particular type of need of certain social groups. Then he introduced the condition of the latest development of Social Enterprise in Taiwan in details as well as the major problems they focus on, like environmental protection and disadvantaged groups. In his opinion, it's necessary for social enterprise to transform their management structure in order to survive in fierce competition. It's known that the commercial trend of non-profit organizations is gradually gaining its popularity in Taiwan. Showing many successful examples in various fields, professor Chiang appreciated this formation and expected more people's participation. We could see something complicated behind those beautiful photos he showed, these successful enterprises play important roles in the protection of traditional culture.
Although professor Chiang based his research on Taiwan society, there are still lots of universal experiences which can be applied to other countries. It attests that the innovative combination of business and charity is practical, which can be an excellent example for our social enterprises.
There were also many other famous scholars and professors from different countries delivering their wonderful speeches regarding social innovation. At the end of the panel, two professors gave their comments on these thought-provoking speeches which concluded the panel quite well.
Reported by: Zhang Yuyao
Edited by: Zhang Jiang