Innovation Unit

ENACTUS WARWICK INNOVATION UNIT

The Innovation Unit aims to be an independent division within Enactus Warwick. Its main aim is to identify problems (coupled to at least one of the 17 UN sustainability goals) on-campus as well as around it, but can reach as far as India (e.g. Bala project), and find solutions for these. Those solution consist mostly of feasible project ideas that will ultimately result in an independent social enterprise within Enactus Warwick. It is the idea generating machine and tries to expand the reach and diversity of our social enterprise portfolio. Therefore, formally, the Innovation unit accompanies a social enterprise from the very beginning on (Conceptual Phase), further to the Feasibility & Development Phase and hand the project over at the Launch Phase to an independently recruited team or integral the new project into an existing social enterprise.

In order to be able to do that, its members will receive regular online and offline workshops that prepare them for the wide range of challenges that come along the way of creating a new social enterprise, especially at the Conceptual and Feasibility & Development Phase. Therefore, the Innovation Unit relies on the current partners like Amazon and EY, but also focuses on online platforms like Udemy. The Innovation Unit wants to create a professional atmosphere in order to work more efficiently and most importantly, understand how to identify problems and tackle them by getting an understanding about Enactus’ means and how to use them most effectively.

Furthermore, the Innovation Unit tries to create a network for closer relationships between individual Enactus branches. The Enactus Innovation Advisory Network (EIAN), is a network especially designed for Enactus social enterprises across the UK (as a first step, with the possibility to expand beyond). Other Enactus branches can submit their current projects to a specifically designed platform on the Enactus Warwick website and formulate problems for us to find feasible solutions and present those to them within a guaranteed time-frame. The reason for its importance is that an outside perspective onto running social enterprises can give the Innovation Unit a privileged position to identify possible solutions. The difference to the consulting branch of Enactus Warwick is that this network targets Enactus projects only, and it has the freedom to go beyond ordinary advisory of a consultancy. The network wants to focus on innovative solutions that can be disruptive and could mean a total transformation of the prevailing project consequently. The Innovation Unit can act freer, as it has no main target of cutting costs, or increasing efficiency, but questioning the very basis of the prevailing project.

The benefits of the EIAN are deeper interconnectedness of Enactus UK branches with the possibility of working together on future ideas, learning about other Enactus UK branches’ progresses and the chance of becoming the centre branch of Enactus UK.

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Additionally, the Innovation Unit wants to increase its popularity on the campus of the University of Warwick, but also potentially on other campuses across the UK by holding the Innovation Hub. The Innovation Hub enables students to prove their entrepreneurial skills by solving a three stage task challenge. At the first stage they need to prove their strategic and selling skills (e.g. Economics game), at the second stage they need to show off with problem-solving skills by EIAN-like tasks and finally they will pitch their own business idea tackling one of the 17 UN sustainability goals again to a selected jury with the best one winning a prize for their idea.

All in all, the Innovation Unit aims big, to become an even more independent branch within Enactus Warwick, splitting the team into Consulting, Social Enterprise and Innovation Unit. It wants to achieve that by its formulated long-term goals of increasing the social enterprise proposal output as well as the participation at the Innovation Hub and establishing the EIAN.