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30 May 2012
Deakin University is searching for charities, foundations and volunteer-based organisations with a burning issue to participate in the 2012 WOFIE (Workshop for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) program, which has as its theme Developing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Not- For-Profit (NFP) sector.
The program which originated in Denmark's Aalborg University, takes place over five consecutive days (5th-9th November) and involves interdisciplinary teams of postgraduate students finding solutions to real organisational challenges.
WOFIE Project Manager at Deakin University's Graduate School of Business, Steve Ogden Barnes, said not-for-profit organisations were a key part of society providing a range of support services across all facets of life.
"The SES, Salvation Army, CFA, RSPCA and Red Cross are very familiar to us all, and there are many, many others out there, all relying on limited funds and volunteers to get their particular job done," he said.
"While they all have a different mission, they may face challenges and issues relating to their organisation that they want to solve through fresh thinking.
"Unlike limited or private companies though, they may lack the time, resources and expertise to develop a solution or to get ideas for change.
"This is where we hope WOFIE and our students can help.
"WOFIE will provide, free of cost, a dynamic forum in which talented Deakin students from a diversity of discipline areas apply the thinking often associated with entrepreneurs and innovators to different problems put forward by the sector and share their thinking in relation to that 'out of the box' solution with the participating organisation".
Mr. Ogden-Barnes said the problems organisations might like to put forward could include the development of recruitment and retention strategies for volunteers; developing innovative ways to support people with physical or intellectual disabilities; resolving the logistics of aid or services distribution; taking advantage of social media to aid marketing, fundraising, awareness and education; designing a brand strategy; proposing a functional design for a mobile special needs classroom; engaging homeless people with technology as a step towards greater inclusion or proposing a simple, cost effective dietary plan to ensure the elderly at home alone eat well.
"It's all about generating new ideas and fresh perspectives in relation to an issue, and identifying potential solutions," he said.
Mr. Ogden Barnes said there is no fee or costs associated for challenge providers, however Deakin would welcome sponsorship for - and involvement in - the event from private and public sector organisations.
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