The New Club of Paris gains a foothold in South Africa

ACSI Societal Innovation Lab Johannesburg 19.-21.11.

16.10.2012 Johannesburg / Vienna / Paris ACSI Societal Innovation Lab is a pilot developed by Aalto University and the New Club of Paris in collaboration with the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Pretoria. It is arranged in Johannesburg 19.-21.11.

The initiative involves the development of context appropriate, innovative solutions to a selection of extant societal problems in South Africa. The lab concept is based on the ACSI model developed by Aalto University in collaboration with the New Club of Paris. The primary aim of the initiative is to provide a platform for societal innovation that brings together experts from a wide range of disciplines and professions, researchers, social entrepreneurs and students to co-create innovative solutions to societal problems of various forms.

The ACSI Societal Innovation Lab, which will engage participants from a wide range of disciplines, will be created as protected dialogue, learning and exchange space to foster ’€œout-of-the-box’€ thinking. Approximately 30 experts will work on two societal challenges.

ACSI Societal Innovation Lab cases
1) The Role of New Academics in South Africa (client Transformation Office of University of Witwatersrand)
Perspectives: the development of South African society, post-apartheid transformation, the varying level of basic education

The case sets the question what is the role of new academics in the South African society. How the academics could benefit the society in a more profound way and how could more meaningful interaction between academics and other actors of the society be created? South African universities have actively engaged in post-apartheid transformation but to some extent bringing diversity to the academia remains a challenge. Which actions could be taken to diversify the academia and make it appealing to all South Africans?

2) Built environment and health (client Discovery Medical Aid)
Perspectives: use of city space, access to the city/services, knowledge, wellness

The case sets the question of how to develop the city space to improve citizen health. The South African public sector health care faces challenges; it is severely under-resourced and suffers from organizational difficulties. Public health care uses only 40% of the total health expenditure but serves 80% of the population. In direct result of this the quality of health in South Africa has fallen. Could city space be developed to enhance citizen health? What would this mean for city planning, architecture, landscapes and services?

The case work will be documented and research report is compiled after the event.

For further information please contact:
Professor Karen Milner, University of Witwatersrand
tel +27 (0)11717 8663

Project Manager Essi Aittamaa, Aalto University
tel +358 (0)50 433 52 74