Social good in Adelaide: The storm’s coming.

Summer Storm Terrassa AUG 2010
By Ryan Opaz on Flickr

There’s something stirring here in Adelaide. It feels like the calm before a storm. It’s like watching the rain clouds rolling in after a long heat wave. Here we are, watching, waiting for that refreshing rain and the cool change after breathing dry air for weeks. This is going to be something big, something exciting. 

Social entrepreneurs are rising up all over Australia, and we’re already seeing huge things happening in Melbourne and Sydney. Here in Adelaide, sparks are igniting around the city. Small communities springing up as like-minded people begin to gather together to talk about how they can take what excites them and use it to benefit others. Whether it’s TEDx AdelaidePecha Kucha Adelaide , NetSquared Adelaide, the #4good breakfasts,  Startup Weekend Adelaide or numerous other gatherings, people who are interested in positive social change are talking and sharing more.

When these people come together, from different sectors, different passions, different experiences but with the same over-arching goal of social good, things are going to happen. They’ll start working together instead of against. They’ll share their experiences and learn from each other. They’ll be the catalyst for the change they want to see.

Collaborate to Innovate

Today I met with two amazing young people, Liam Darmody and Vanessa Picker, both with amazing stories to tell, but also taking the new Innovation and Entrepreneurship course the University of Adelaide. Although their class size is small, if these two are examples of the others, we’re going to see some well equipped people who are ready to make a difference in their own ways.

What’s exciting about this is that these aren’t just people daydreaming of greener grass, they’re learning the skills they need to make turn their hopes into sustainable enterprises. There are good examples of social enterprises all over the world, and it’s great to see Adelaide being somewhere that people can learn, share and meet others with similar intentions – but there’s only so much the University can offer.

If this is going to succeed in Adelaide, people interested in social change will need to come together in some capacity. This means we’ll need to nurture those communities that have already gathered momentum, and possibly seed others that serve other areas. At some stage, we’re also going to need a space for all of those communities, groups, gatherings (or at least those who facilitate them) to come together as well.

Adelaide’s too small for us to operate alone.

Liam and Vanessa have started a new group on MeetUp called “Collaborate to Innovate.” Their first gathering is happening next Thursday (21 March, 2012) with the theme “Innovation and Entrepreneurship.” If you’re interested in networking with some interesting social entrepreneurs, this will be a great event (not only that but if they get 20-30 people, there will be free beer – that’s right). This may also be a great place to meet others who are organising groups interested in social change.

It’s people and initiatives like these that will start conversations about what’s possible – and as the ideas and actions start rolling in, they’ll bring a refreshing change to the way things are done.

Social enterprise. It’s exciting stuff.

Update 22/03/2012: There’s a lot of other great projects happening in Adelaide by a lot of great people. What’s here is just a small insight into a much larger picture and narrative in Adelaide. If you’re looking for more, Renew Adelaide is a great place to start.