Social Invention, Hope’s Promise
편집자 주/ 희망제작소는 2008년 10월 8일부터 11일까지 4일 동안 ‘사회창안주간’을 개최했다. 사회창안주간은 사회창안대회, 사회창안 국제회의, 불만합창단으로 구성되었다. 이 기사는 사회창안 국제회의 둘째 날(10월 10일) 행사 기사를 영문으로 번역한 것이다.
[한국어 기사 보기 ▶ 사회창안이라는 희망의 약속]
Social Invention, Hope’s Promise
: 2008 International Conference on Social Invention, Second Day and Curtain Closing
“What is the way for getting more citizens than seen to participate in social invention?”
October 10, 2008 is the second day of the International Conference on Social Invention. The Social Invention Center of the Hope Institute prepared this time for social inventors from various countries around the world to share their various experiences on how more diverse people than seen can participate in social invention and what social invention movement methods employ people’s diverse thinking and experiences.
Hope Institute, Dreaming of a New World through Social Invention
The Hope Institute has been doing many important works that until now society had not been fully concerned with. Even among them, social invention is a very important work. Social invention is enabling those citizens who live in the actual scene to solve their problems. This is because the citizens in the actual scene are exactly the ones who know what the problems are and they know well the key to the solving the problems. (Hope Institute Executive Director Park Won Soon)
As the first speaker on the second day to go up to the podium, Hope Institute Executive Director Park Won Soon introduced the dreams that were dreamed when the Hope Institute was first established and the various projects that are presently being advanced, and he stated that when the citizens become the chief object of change, the world can be changed beautifully.
The Hope Institute’s Social Invention Center is utilizing internet technology to the maximum to present on the Social Invention Center’s home page the problems that citizens suffer in their daily lives and methods for solving them. The Hope Institute, together with citizens, plays a role in changing society — by forming, expediting, and making networks as circumstances warrant for citizens’ ideas which are difficult for them to make into reality by themselves.
In this process, citizen evaluators, social invention supporters, idea promoters and similar citizen experts and opinions play an important role in developing citizens’ ideas. The Social Invention Center also formed the National Assembly Members’ gathering, Hominkwan (Tribunis Plebis) Club, in order to advocate for citizens’ ideas in lawmaking.
In addition to these, the Institute also operates for retirees, the “Happy Senior Project”; for the improvement of the sign culture, the “Republic of Korea Good Signs Award”; for nurture of small businesses and social enterprises, the “E-Ro Un (for the good and well-being of the people) Mall” enterprise; for regional development, “Regional Support Center” operation and “regional foundation” establishment project; for education of public leaders, “Good Mayors School” and “Social Designer School”; and for gathering the wisdom of Koreans all around the world, “World Cities Library” project.
Through Cultural Invention, Advancement and Illumination of Social Invention
Danny Yung, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture, who appeared after Hope Institute Executive Director Park Won Soon, stated that social invention can be generated through cultural activities.
“The thing we have to think about is that in cultural activities, there is a special impetus. If you develop cultural activities, then ultimately, civil society is developed. We must, by all means, protect the public sector. Public sector is independence. We know well that we have to protect the freedom of expression and ideas.” (Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture, Chief Executive Danny Yung)
Chief Executive Danny Yung explained that when social invention is seen from the cultural perspective, one sees that it is making a platform and strategy for keeping watching over public culture. Through the Hong Kong model of the western Kowloon area’s designation as a cultural zone, he introduced a strategy that necessitated negotiation, dialogue, network, regional organization, opinion building, and public culture protection. If there is not a strategy as this, then at the slightest slip, public culture can be stripped away. To block this, we must not only keep watch but also create a think tank for cultural policy.
Though skeptical of many additional artists participating in social invention, he pointed out that there was potential and that this was also a necessary thing. Above all, he invited participants to think together about how to change the artistic sphere, to conduct the deliberation-communication process efficiently and where to experiment on regional society’s diverse fields.
Hominkwan (Tribunus Plebis) Club of National Aseembly Members: Bending Its Ears towards
Citizens’ Social Invention and Leading Civil Society’s Dynamic Character
In the afternoon, there were lectures and discussions on ways to get more people than seen to participate in social invention. National Assemblyman Jang Kwang-geun, representative of the Hominkwan Club which is working together on social invention activities with the Hope Institute, delivered the first address. Assemblyman Jang diagnosed that in post-1987 Korean society, “Visible Democracy” has become fixed for certain, but “Democracy that cannot be seen” is still in the midst of making progress. He proposed that in order to elevate a democracy that is invisible, like the civil society consciousness, citizens’ opinions should be received in a positive manner and a discussion space should be activated where opinions can be shared.
“The Hominkwan Club, which works together with the Hope Institute, is bending its ears towards citizens’ social invention and lowering the National Assembly’s door sill in order to lead civil society’s dynamic character.
Through Citizens’ Ideas, Newly Designing Regional Society
Iksan Hope Solidarity Director Lee Jin-hong stated that in the early stage of social invention, in order to get people to be concerned about social invention, the organization launched the “goodidea” home page, gave residents invention-paper fans, and before anything else, put energy into letting the social invention enterprise itself be known. While the entire full-time staff consists only of three people, more than twenty social invention supporters have been organized and with the focus on citizens’ ideas for what they hope most will be improved, they are working together on “Invention Theme.”
As a result, citizens and the public council have formed a “People’s Perspective Collaboration Group,” and examples of its success are seen in the region’s principal plan, which reflects citizens’ ideas in administrative policy.
Through social invention, citizens can possess greater concern over their regions and experience participatory democracy. However, Mr. Lee pointed out that the process of transforming citizens’ ideas into policy has not yet matured, and there are many instances where the ideas are conveyed in a simplistic manner to the public agencies.
Incubator Program to Bring in Citizens’ Expanding Social Invention Capabilities
Nishida Hiroyuki, Director of the Kyoto City General Center for Civic Activity, was the next speaker to appear. He stated that up to now, the context of the citizens movement had been the mode of interaction whereby citizens were making requests of the public agencies, but now having gone one step forward, it is necessary for citizens to bring out ideas on social enterprises and set a course for directly experiencing social invention. The form of civil society that we must head towards in the future, and also for that society, it has to become the work of citizens to take the resources they have and to effectively relay them
In order to successfully establish social invention, the following are needed: citizens’ active participation, effective relaying skill by civil society activists who are making that participation possible, and participation by National Assemblymen and public agencies that will together bend their ears toward citizens’ stories. This is the message that the participating speakers at this international conference has given to us.
Diverse Experiments for Enjoyable Participation, the Complaints Choir Group
“When, of their own accord, people sing their complaints, there is no big conflict about the song’s content. I see that there is no need to assign responsibility regarding whether the song facilitates collective concerns or the complaint’s consequences.” (Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen)
“We do not request directly to people that they participate. We do not seek to receive interest through opinions. We also do not ask our friends to participate. In this way, if friends show interest, they are able to participate.” (Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen)
The final speaker of the day, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, founder of the Finland Complaints Choir called the various works that he had done as participatory arts. In addition to Complaints Choir, he wanted to speak about the people’s joy of participating through the “Summit of Micronation” and “The Making of Utopia.”
The important point about the Complaint Choir is that people can speak freely with one another about complaints and while singing, share good feelings. He chose the choir because he thought it would be a fitting way for people to let out their common complaints. It is because the chorus is another, different expression of cooperation.
Through Collaborative Partnership, Joint Ownership of Experiences and Information
While concluding the two-day International Conference on Social Invention, the international speakers made two promises.
First, the participants all agreed that through a collaborative partnership, they pledge to work on various joint projects together in the future. Another promise made was to prepare a channel through which they can share one another’s experiences and activities, jointly conduct education and training, and develop a website where they can commonly own related data.
This is how the curtain was lowered on the International Conference on Social Invention. The big accomplishment of this conference is that social invention activists who had been working each in their own country were gathered in one place and could share and learn from one another’s experiences. The stories that could not be shared at this conference will be shared through a website and common ownership of data as promised at the curtain closing time and data sharing, and will continued to be realized. With valuable memories of the first meeting and its successes as foundation, and with hopes for everyone to leave with greater strength for social invention’s wider expansion, the 2008 International Conference on Social Invention came to an end.
[2008 Social Invention Week ? Articles]
Allow More Imagination ? The Social Invention Conference Seen through a Citizen’s Eyes (October 10, 2008)
For Social Invention without Borders ? The First Day of the 2008 Social Invention International Conference (October 10, 2008)
120 Persons Who Made Complaints into a Festival! ? Complaints Choir Festival Successfully Held!
Daily Living Ideas Pop Popping Out ? 2008 Report on the Invention Conference (October 9, 2008, MBC)
Ideas Pop, Popping Out One After Another at The Hope Institute
“Awakened By the Doorbell, If Go Out to See, ‘Do You Believe In Jesus’” ? On The 11th, Korea’s First Convened “Complaints Choir Festival.”
Researcher in Charge: Chung Jae-do/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteer Translation: Park Ji Won