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The Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, acts as a platform for research and engagement with social innovators, academia and policy in UK and across the world. Its primary focus is to understand, promote, and engage with social innovators and create and support social ventures and projects.

Social innovation is concerned with the development of creative and practical solutions to complex social problems. While many social innovators work in non-profit organisations, they are increasingly found in government and corporations. Indeed, the boundaries between the sectors have become increasingly indistinct, and much social innovation takes place at the intersection between them.

The Centre will therefore focus on leadership for social change, wherever it takes place. Leadership for social change involves a different kind of leadership, one that's less adversarial, one that seeks to have a positive impact on the kind of world that we live in, and one that blurs the boundaries between what's for-profit and what's non-profit.

The Centre will engage in scholarship focused on social innovation and social ventures that aim to create sustainable social and economic value, which encompasses the private, public and third sectors. It will create new academic courses aimed at practitioners who want to use research to enhance understanding of, and the impact of social innovation.

The Centre will also support social innovators through events, training programmes and online materials. A central tenet of the Centre would be that it brings academics and practitioners together in all aspects of its governance and delivery.

Vision

Creating sustainable social and economic value through generating and disseminating knowledge, as well as supporting the development of, social ventures is central to Cambridge Judge Business School's entrepreneurship vision.

In the last few years there has been a significant and sustained global interest in creating social value through social innovation and social enterprise. Moreover, creating social value is no longer the preserve of the NGO sector, but integral to the strategies of many public organisations and, increasingly, the private sector.

The boundaries between sectors are becoming blurred in the attempts to tackle 'wicked problems' through social innovation and be seen as 'virtuous organisations'. The term social ventures attempts to capture the plurality of this new wave of entrepreneurial, environmental and organisational innovation.

CJBS will engage in scholarship focused on social innovation and social ventures that aim to create sustainable social and economic value, which encompasses the private, public and third sectors led by the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation

The Centre will engage in research and teaching on social innovation and ventures across sectors and direct support to entrepreneurs and organisations. It will focus on:

  • knowledge creation through research focused on individuals and ventures and the organisations, networks and institutions which frame, enable or constrain them. Dissemination of knowledge will focus on academic publications and mechanisms to reach a practitioner and policy audience
  • learning and unlocking potential through the development of taught academic courses and the Executive Education offer
  • support to social ventures through providing informed, accessible and timely information as well as mentoring, space and events.

Centre staff

Paul Tracey

Paul Tracey, Co-Director

Professor of Innovation and Organisation 

Read more about Paul

Professor Tracey's research is concerned with the distinctive management challenges of leading social purpose organisations that generate their income through market-based activity. An ethnographer by training, between 2010 and 2012 he held an Economic and Social Research Council Mid-career Fellowship, during which he conducted an in-depth participant observation study of a leading social enterprise. The study focused on how community-based organisations may become stigmatised for helping "unwelcome" parts of the community, and the implications for organisational outcomes.

Visit Professor Paul Tracey's faculty webpage

 

Neil Stott

Neil Stott, Co-Director

Faculty (Reader level) in Management Practice and Director of the Master of Studies in Social Innovation

Read more about Neil

Dr Stott has studied social innovation in poor places and the role of entrepreneurial third sector organisations. He was Chief Executive of Keystone Development Trust from 2003-2015, one of the largest development trusts in the country, delivering community development, social enterprises and property development. 

Previously Neil was Head of Community Development at Canterbury City Council, Principal Officer (Community) at Cambridge City Council as well as work for charities such as Mencap, Contact-a-Family and Elfrida Rathbone Society.

Visit Dr Neil Stott's faculty webpage

 

Michelle Fava

Michelle Fava, Head of Knowledge Transfer

Junior Research Fellow, Cambridge School of Art; Co-founder, Thinking Through Drawing

Read more about Michelle

Dr Michelle Fava holds a PhD in drawing and cognitive psychology from University of Loughborough (2014). Her work brings together cognitive principles and design thinking approaches to education and facilitation. She has written and edited academic publications on drawing, visual literacy and arts integration.

Michelle's present research with the Centre for Social Innovation is looking into the factors influencing the longevity of Community Economic Development Organisations in the UK. 

She is co-founder of the Thinking Through Drawing project, a research network and professional development provider that focuses on creativity and visual literacy in education and research.

 

Helen Haugh

Helen Haugh, Research Director

University Senior Lecturer in Community Enterprise

Read more about Helen

Dr Haugh has written extensively on the topic of social entrepreneurship. A particular focus of her work is community-based enterprise, and more specifically the role of communities in creating sustainable solutions to social problems. In 2008 she established the Tata International Social Entrepreneurship Scheme, which offers final year undergraduate or postgraduate students at the University of Cambridge the opportunity to work on social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility projects within the Tata Group of Companies in India.

Visit Dr Helen Haugh's faculty webpage

 

Belinda Bell

Belinda Bell

Programme Director, Cambridge Social Ventures

Read more about Belinda

Belinda Bell is Programme Director of Cambridge Social Ventures, part of the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation, supporting a wide range of businesses making social and environmental impact.

The programme was founded in 2014 as Social Incubator East, a partnership between the University of Cambridge, Allia Ltd, Foundation East and Keystone Development Trust.

She is a social entrepreneur herself having established a range of social ventures over the last decade including those focusing on finance, ageing and young people. She has acted as a mentor, advisor and supporter to many more social entrepreneurs and as such has developed a broad knowledge of business models for social innovation.

Her specific interest is in the social finance market and leveraging capital for social impact. She was Founder and first Chief Executive of Foundation East, a groundbreaking community finance organisation where she remains a Director. She has also undertaken research at the University of Cambridge focusing on the social finance sector and continues to write on this topic. 

Belinda holds a Masters Degree in Community Enterprise from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelors degree in Social Anthropology from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

 

Laura Carnicero

Laura Carnicero, Business Development and Programme Manager of the MSt in Social Innovation

Read more about Laura

Laura manages the admissions into the MSt in Social innovation. She is responsible for the business development of the programme and coordinates the delivery of the online and offline elements of the Masters.

 

Lilia Giugni

Lilia Giugni, Research Associate, Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation

Read more about Lilia

Dr Lilia Giugni is a Research Associate to the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation, and the co-founder and CEO of GenPol - Gender & Policy Insights, a think tank consultancy researching matters of gender and advocating for a more gender equal world. Her research interests and advocacy work include the mainstreaming of gender equality concerns across multiple organisational settings, as well as the gendered side of social entrepreneurship, the prevention of gender-based violence, and the strategies of Southern Italian anti-mafia activists. A multi-disciplinary researcher, Lilia holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Cambridge. She regularly authors reports, policy papers and blogs and delivers talks and keynote speeches on matters of gender, and she sits on the board of several charities, social enterprises and feminist networks.

 

Timur Alexandrov

Timur Alexandrov, Research Associate, Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation

Read more about Timur

Having completed PhD in Sociology at the University of Cambridge, Timur Alexandrov has joined the project 'Reimagining churches as community assets for the common good' at Cambridge Judge Business School. In his thesis he analysed local forms of civil society and community development practised in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, where he conducted fieldwork. As part of his PhD, Timur analysed social practices of religious organisations, including churches and mosques, in creating capacities for civil society development and sustaining communities and social networks. His research findings define cultural articulations of civil society concerned with solidarity, reciprocity, and mutual trust. Timur has published in peer-reviewed publications, including The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality.

In the post-doctoral project on re-imagining churches in England, Timur Alexandrov examines community values and perceptions of church buildings, and explores new ways of measuring the success of churches’ work in their local communities. This innovative project in the church context will help understand how community values can be used in the most effective way to ensure the sustainable future of historic church buildings. 

Prior to joining Cambridge Judge Business School, Timur was employed by the Cambridge Department of Sociology to develop research project websites, produce academic video and photo materials, and advise on communication aspects of research dissemination.

Before coming to Cambridge, Timur Alexandrov worked in an Integrated Civil Society project at the UN Headquarters in New York. He also managed public relations for USAID development projects in Central Asia, and for film producers.

 

Talah Anderson

Talah Anderson, Administrator, Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation

Read more about Talah

Talah assists with the smooth running of the Centre. She provides administrative support in various aspects of the Centre, organises events and meetings, acts as a point of contact for enquiries to the Centre, and supports during MSt residential periods.

Governance

The Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation is a research centre within Cambridge Judge Business School. It has a Practitioner Advisory Board of Social Innovation Fellows selected by a competitive process.