Connecting social entrepreneurship with sustainability research: Urban Water Cluster student presents at international conference

Can social innovation and social entrepreneurship transform governance and citizenship in developing cities? PhD student Erika Duncan-Horner recently gave a presentation on this topic, in the context of urban water transformations, at the International Conference of Contemporary Social and Political Affairs (ICOCSPA) 2016.

“The concept of social entrepreneurship is not yet well connected to research in sustainability transitions, despite rising interest in its transformative capacity,” Erika says.

“The key argument of my presentation/paper therefore focussed on linking and aligning the on-ground practice of social entrepreneurship with research in sustainability transitions.”

Erika says she first introduced the problem of inadequate water and sanitation, emphasising the need to improve sanitation for the poor. To explain how social entrepreneurship can help with Indonesia’s sanitation, she briefly spoke about the concept of leapfrogging, outlining the major infrastructural and institutional differences between developing and developed cities. She also focussed on introducing a conceptual framework for social entrepreneurship and how it aligns with research in sustainability transitions, which have been conducted primarily on developed city basis.

During her time in Indonesia, Erika was able to meet with social entrepreneurs and visit Ciputra University to hear about the social entrepreneurship program. Another benefit was gaining personal feedback from one of the keynote speakers, Professor Shimamoto from Kyoto Bunkyo University, who has wide experience and knowledge in the development field.

The conference was held in Surabaya from 15-16 November, and was attended by around 150 participants. Erika, who is part of The Australia-Indonesia Centre’s Urban Water Cluster, is a student in the Graduate Research Interdisciplinary Program and part of the School of Social Sciences at Monash University.