Innovation & EntrepreneurshipSocially Progressive Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The ‘Socially Progressive Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ (SPIE) Network is first and foremost aligned to the mission of the University as a socially progressive institution - striving to engage, inspire, inform and empower all parts of its community. In doing so, the SPIE strategic network aims to create links between faculties in order to facilitate interdisciplinary knowledge exchange and support openness. Looking outside the university, this means both raising of awareness, and promotion of scientific inquiry within a spectrum of social sensitivities in innovation and entrepreneurship that address global societal challenges.

The focus of the network is on informing, consulting and collaborating on developing social innovation and entrepreneurship within communities and cities - whilst taking into consideration their diverse vulnerabilities related to gender, age, ethnicity, migrancy, socio-economic deprivation, or disability. Mindful of the myriad environmental, social and economic challenges communities face, our aim is to bring together diverse stakeholders and knowledge areas in the pursuit of sustainable and resilient futures. The network aims to create and measure social impact by deep practitioner engagement, widening access and supporting ethical inclusion of excluded stakeholders and isolated groups through innovation and enterprise activities. The aims of academic research and knowledge exchange within the network are concentrated on real-world engagement and impact, transdisciplinarity, and the use of open and agile systems and methodologies.

The network aligns with:


The network has a strong potential for impact creation via the following directions:

  1. The creation of a new SPIE PhD ecosystem (initiated November 2018), through supporting focused training towards the socially progressive agenda as well as the successful launch of a SPIE Centre for Doctoral Training, which took place in March 2019.
  2. Through engagement with initiatives that involve or are led by innovative companies, SPIE activities have the potential to bring positive impact to the economy and society at large through the creation of a method and a glossary which promotes ‘social progressiveness’ within a more generic framework of responsibility/ ethics/ sustainability for organisations, companies and HEIs. This engagement also has the potential to generate a systematic framework for social impact design and measurement.
  3. Showcasing relevant initiatives at the University level and supporting the creation of a dynamic map of relevant stakeholders inside as well as outside the University. Core internal stakeholders include academics whose work focuses on social progression and impact as well as professional services and leading senior academics.
  4. Thought leadership in the emerging field of collaborative social innovation as it relates to the (built) environment and the planning of cities; communities; and enterprise ecosystems. Local and international impact through network-building and policy framework development. The remit, mission and activities of the Sub-theme are refined through an iterative process and are a result of a series of consultations which take place annually with stakeholders both inside university, as well as within its wider ecosystem.

Socially Progressive Innovation and Entrepreneurship Leads