Impactful Completion of the “Cross-Boundary Exchange for Social Innovation” Program

On 25th February, Earth Company successfully concluded the first “Cross-Boundary Exchange for Social Innovation” online edition with eleven students from Osaka University and eight young social innovation practitioners from Indonesia. Organized by Osaka University and delivered by Earth Company, the six-day intensive virtual workshop aimed for the participants to formulate innovative solutions to pressing social and environmental challenges.

The program consisted of lectures from guest speakers engaged in socio-environmental issues in Bali and Japan, practical frameworks of social innovations, personal reflections, group work, and presentations. It was indeed an interdisciplinary learning experience with participants from various backgrounds including engineering, material science, philosophy, and healthcare who were all passionate about tackling challenges in climate change, poverty, waste, gender inequality, etc.

After learning the basic theories and frameworks of social innovation and the SDGs, the program focused on real-world challenges and solutions in Bali and Japan. Growing up in Bali and witnessing the good and bad aspects of mass tourism, I Putu Wiraguna shared his experiences in developing the Five Pillar Foundation and later the Ubud Bali Farm to uplift rural communities in Bali. Based in Akita, Japan, Yoshitaka Ohara from Habataku shared his work in regional revitalization. Habataku has been trying to transform the prefecture, whose population is decreasing and aging rapidly, into a more sustainable community by connecting people and re-designing learning and living environments for people of various ages.

From day 3 to 5, the participants dove deeply into social and environmental initiatives, including urban and rural development, waste management, community and women empowerment, and healthcare in both places. Each speaker shared his/her personal stories that propelled them to devote themselves to their respective causes and how they overcame numerous obstacles. Despite everything online, all the participants were super engaged, asking questions about practical solutions and bringing ideas to their own projects and research.

On the last day of the program, all the participants presented their social innovation projects or research themes, integrating the knowledge and tools from the past five days. We were amazed by the projects’ maturity and creativity, from supporting a climate tech start-up ecosystem, empowering women in rural Indonesia, to making the shipping industry green, for example. We were also honored to have our speakers attend the presentations and listen to many innovative ideas from the next-gen changemakers.

At the end of the program, the Indonesian participants received program certificates from Professor Hirata from Osaka University. To infuse a sense of reality to the online program, we invited onene Indonesian participant based in Bali to come to Mana Earthly Paradise in Ubud and receive the certificate directly from Tomo, Managing Director of Earth Company.

Overall the program was a huge success. We are grateful to have this opportunity to nurture the next generation changemakers, just like Tomo shared, “I’m relieved and energized that we were able to make a strong impact on many, if not all, the nineteen participants. This sensation of impact-achievement is so special” .

Tomo Hamakawa

Co-Founder & Managing Director of Earth Company 

Thank you to all the organizers, speakers, and participants of Cross-boundary Exchange for Social Innovation (CBX).
Despite the virtual nature, the learning, the emotions, and the inspiration were all real. Im relieved and energized that we were able to make strong impact on many, if not all, the 19 participants. This sensation of impact-achievement is so special…
And perhaps, quite simply, that’s what we want to feel at the end of our lives?

A few words from the participants

Osaka University and Earth Company had the privilege of hosting the following CBX speakers and their organizations: