JUNE 30, 2014
This June, leaders in the field of social work across academia, research, and practice convened at the 25th annual Network for Social Management Conference to discuss "Management in the Age of Innovation" at Simmons College in Boston. Throughout the course of two days, deans and directors of schools of social work engaged with executive directors and CEOs of leading organizations, while workers on the front lines shared their perspectives on how social workers can make a difference through innovation toward building organizations for change. Faculty and students studying tomorrow's best practices in management discussed the emerging skill sets needed for tomorrow's leaders. Attendees represented organizations from across the United States.
The Center's Stephanie Berzin, PhD, associate professor at the Graduate School of Social Work, served as the conference's program chair, an opportunity which she called "a wonderful experience."
"Using my own social innovation work as the platform for the conference theme," she explained, "I challenged presenters to consider how social work can be a major contributor to the social innovation dialogue. BC continues to be a leader in this field, developing research and curriculum to promote social innovation, and this conference was an opportunity to share our expertise and to lead the conversation."
Talks centered on how various professionals can collaborate toward solving some of the world’s most imminent societal issues, and do so while implementing both traditional practice and innovative ideas. Assistant Director of the Center for Social Innovation, Humberto Camarena, led academics, students and professionals in a rapid prototyping workshop, utilizing design thinking as a vehicle to tackle new challenges in human service agencies. One panel on leadership shared their perspectives on how to lead for change, compelling their audience to think about the challenges and opportunities, attached to collaboration.
"I was impressed with how easy it was to sustain a compelling conversation on innovation and management in our field," said Tiziana Dearing, associate professor of macro practice, who moderated a panel on the future of management.
"At the end of the day, we reflected on both what we're good at (i.e., flexibility and prevention), and what's coming down the pike that we're not yet ready for (i.e., risk-based contracting and understanding how to support fathers). These were an enlightening two days that corresponded perfectly with the themes that we care about at BC Social Work, and I look forward to continuing the dialogue into the future."