Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a world forum discussing Social and Solidarity Economy under the roof of the International Labour Office in Geneva, hosted by UN agencies and the UNRISD, which is the UN research centre for social development.

I had the chance to present a poster about my PhD on Social Enterprises in UK. My motivation was learning, sharing and exhibiting my research to an international audience full of researchers, politicians and practitioners in the field of Social Economy. The outcome was very nourishing, constructive and encouraging discussions about my research that confirmed the need of more applied and empirical studies in this important subject, as well as receiving the award of ‘best poster’ as voted by participants and conference organisers.

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Lessons Learned :

As a PhD student there were some valuable lessons: We need to go beyond our ‘thesis comfort zone’ and explore and participate in international discussions about our subjects. We are going to be leading our field for these three years of study, so enjoy that position! Take as many opportunities as you can as a student, which gives lots of benefits, and still allows you to be in the ‘safe zone’ of ‘learner’ and ‘expert under construction’.
Also some important lessons I learned as a Poster presenter: Dedicate several hours designing your poster so that everyone, without exception, can understand what you wanted to do, what and how you have done it, and the importance of it. Of course, all this using bright colours and interesting figures and quotes. But the key element for this is your ATTITUDE. Some of the feedback I got was that my passion for the subject was so contagious that everyone remembered my smile and hands moving around while people was looking at, and asking questions about, my poster.
And last but not least as a  future academic, researcher and practitioner in the field of Social Economy I  learned the following lessons:  Social Economy has gathered momentum in recent years due to its important role in supporting society under the difficulties of an economic crisis. This type of economy has been proposing for many years a different, more sustainable and all-embracing model of doing business and, at the same time, helping to alleviate the current social and environmental problems of our societies. There is need for more research, policy and financial support to boost the impact of this important and crucial way of driving an economy. It is in the first field where I see my greatest contribution.
If you are interested in the field of Social Economy, this is the video of the conference  with details of the publications and the UNRISD.

 

You can also contact me at m.granados@westminster.ac.uk.

 

Bio

Maria Granados from Colombia is a PhD candidate and Visiting Lecturer in Business Information Management and Operations with over nine years of experience in the private, social economy and academic sectors. Her research interests and publications are in social enterprises, enterprise networks, knowledge management and socio-technical evaluations.

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