WHAT IS UNC2018: It’s a part of an action research project, ‘Designing for Social Innovation’ led by Yunsun Chung-Shin (PI), Joanne Renux and Michael Ogden (Co-PI) from Zayed University in Dubai, UAE.

PROBLEM WE ARE TACKLING: The challenging complexity of sustaining youth empowerment can be tackled through a systematic approach by designing a framework to engage young minds, provide opportunity to discover their potential, and support their actions and practices to commit to positive social change.  >> Sustaining youth empowerment is complex and challenging. Through a holistic framework and systemic approaches, engaging young minds to discover their potential and and passion by creating ecosystems to support their actions and reflection for sustaining their positive social change.

KEY QUESTION: How might we co-design an immersive, transformative, and sustainable changemaker pathway for social innovation?

OBJECTIVE: This research aims to develop a co-designing process of creating a social innovation model for changemaker pathways through a bottom-up systematic approach. It explores the model building through these aspects: 1) Pragmatic framework of ME=WE based on scientific investigation to understand the systemic relationships between self and society; 2) Immersive workshop/bootcamp program designed for youth to discover their passion and purpose; 3) Interactive documentary to capture transformative youth stories on their changemaker pathway to promote the value of resiliency; 4) Demystifying ecosystem mapping that enables sustainable growth of their projects as innovation process.

BACKGROUND STORY: INNOCO was initiated in 2016 as a platform that cultivates youth to become social innovators as a community-driven effort. INNOCO means innovation co-design through connection + collaboration + contribution. By connecting youth to local and international communities through project based learning, we foster these collaborations to help youth in UAE and Nepal to contribute to a greater good as social entrepreneurs and change agents. INNOCO is a research initiative, based in the UAE and founded by Yunsun Chung-Shin and Joanne Renaux, professors at Zayed University.

UAE/Nepal/Connect was designed to connect youth and professionals between the UAE and Nepal to collaborate and contribute to their communities as part of INNOCO intiatives. UNC2016 was a site research to build a group of youth who can co-design the social innovation camp, and UNC2017 was a 10-day bootcamp tackling the design challenge, ‘How might we create social innovation in Nepal’ which took place in Kathmandu. This co-designing process enabled INNOCO to connect with a few UAE and international facilitators to work with UAE and Nepali youth on both occasions. It also enabled Nepali youth to form Nepal Youth Innovators (NYI). In 2017, a documentary process began that recorded the Nepal youth on their journeys as changemakers. A year later, we are returning to witness the progress made by some of the youth and to capture the pathways they are taking to work towards their ideas for bringing social change for the betterment of their communities in a documentary format. Most importantly, we are looking to sustain and strengthening the relationships needed to support their explorations and celebrate their progress.