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8th COOP Colloquium

Cooperatives and Systems Innovation


18th December 2023 | Monday

15:00 to 16:00 hours Queensland Time (GMT + 10)






The International Cooperative Alliance Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP) Committee on Cooperative Research (CCR) has launched the COOP Colloquium which aims to start an academic dialogue on issues that are relevant to cooperative education and research. Cooperative scholarship across the Asia and Pacific region is rich and diverse and ICA-AP CCR aims to bring these together in the COOP Colloquium to share, inform and learn. Each iteration of the COOP Colloquium focuses on a theme and presents different perspectives. Digital and social media platforms are used to promote the COOP Colloquium and to have a conversation around cooperative education and research. The eighth iteration of the COOP Colloquium will focus on the theme ‘Cooperatives and Systems Innovation’.


We are at a critical juncture of change, challenge, and opportunity. Issues like the climate crisis, inequality, the future of work and aging populations require innovative solutions. Cooperatives help to grow capabilities and infrastructures to meet these challenges in ways that are better for people, place, and planet. Cooperatives have a unique advantage in their response to these challenges. They are guided by the cooperative principles and values including maximising member value and prioritising democratic participation in decision making. Cooperatives produce positive economic, social and environmental outputs for their members and communities. However, there are still questions about how cooperatives can bring about substantial systems change. How can cooperative sector become a larger and more active player in bringing about systems innovation while maintaining the cooperative identity? How can cooperatives lead the way as innovators, not only for other cooperatives but also for non cooperative organisations? Is this a way to cement  the sectors relevance in a changing global business environment?


To be effective and successful in relation to its territory, a cooperative federation must work hard to achieve interrelated goals: a) to strengthen the autonomy of its affiliates while maintaining social networks, b) to enhance its own viability and improve its ability to serve its members, c) to explore new ways of understanding the contribution of  cooperatives, d) to examine the conditions required for cooperatives to remain innovative, economically viable and competitive enterprises.[1]


To achieve these objectives cooperative federations must understand the basic assumptions on which the new focusses are built  - linking complexity with systems innovation. This will enable them to provide better frameworks and conditions for their sector members to be innovative and to co-evolve in changing business environments.


This colloquium examines the potential role of cooperatives in systems innovation and how cooperatives can inspire and play a positive part in larger structural changes that are needed to respond to global challenges. It will look at how cooperatives have innovated in the past and continue to play an important role. There are three areas of particular focus: 1) creating awareness and confidence in the cooperatives capacity to innovate, 2) finding new pathways to scale innovations and 3) building the capital needed to support these initiatives.


This colloquium is a starting point to deep-dive into the role of cooperatives on systems innovation. It  brings together cooperative advocates, practitioners and young scholars from the Asia and Pacific region.



About the Presenters



Dr. Ingrid Burkett is the Director of the Griffith Centre for Systems Innovation. The Centre for Systems Innovation is an innovation centre in Griffith Business School, with the purpose of accelerating transitions to regenerative and distributive economies. Her work links together innovation, entrepreneurship and impact.  Her background includes qualifications in design, social work, economics and business and much of her work has focussed on how we can tackle complex problems - from place-based inequities to shifting how we invest and contract better for deeper impact.  She has worked across Australia and around the world, with a focus on how we can shift systems to enable better outcomes for people, places and the planet. 



Dr. Sidsel Grimstad is a senior lecturer at Griffith Centre for Systems Innovation (GCSI), Griffith University. The GCSI is a centre within Griffith Business School, with the purpose of accelerating transitions to regenerative and distributive economies. Sidsel’s main areas of work is to teach Master level courses on Innovation for Impact building on recent theories and frameworks to understand systems and impact innovation in the current global complexity. The last decade been involved in tertiary level research and teaching about cooperatives and mutuals. Co-operative business and housing models offer collaborative, innovative, distributive and resilient organisational models for achieving sustainable and equitable impact. A current research focus is on capability building for the cooperative housing sector, and developing evidence for how the sector may be supported to grow as an affordable and resilient housing model. Sidsel has since 2022 been the elected Vice Chair of the ICA-AP CCR Committee.


About the Organisers


ICA-AP Committee on Cooperative Research (CCR) was established in the year 2000 to promote and support the initiation and furtherance of research activities within cooperatives and research organizations at regional, national, and local levels, to enhance their social and economic effectiveness. It has members working in the field of research and academia and those in the member organisations of the ICA-AP. During its 23 years of existence, it has organized several regional research conferences and online seminars.


We invite participants to join us for the 8th iteration of COOP Colloquium and engage in an open discussion by registering at above link. An invitation with joining credentials will follow.


[1] Building up an innovation region through cooperative experiences

Event start date:
Monday, December 18, 2023
Event end date:
Monday, December 18, 2023