UTS Rapido Social: Technological Innovation for Accelerated Social Impact

Sales pitch UTS Rapido Social is an emerging model through which UTS is delivering accelerated social impact. The program combines cutting-edge thought leadership in academia, the engineering capability of a University-embedded R&D unit, and the subject matter expertise of the non-profit sector to drive social innovation.

Sophie Ritchie
University of Technology Sydney

Background and objectives of the case
Over the past few decades, the world has witnessed undeniable social and economic progress; with notable declines in extreme poverty and child deaths, increased access to education, and rising economic growth. However, new and increasingly complex social problems - such as rising inequality and climate change - are emerging. Under the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (2015), the international political community has acknowledged that two elements will be crucial in successfully overcoming these challenges: a) increased innovation; and b) enhanced collaboration & partnership. Unfortunately, key players in the social justice space are not responding to these needs well. Civil society has been largely unsuccessful at adopting innovative technologies; and organisations in this space too often operate independently of one another - in a siloed and oftentimes competitive manner.
UTS Rapido Social proposes a new model to help address these increasingly complex social issues. To this end, the program combines a flagship collaboration of academia, industry and the non-profit sector with technological innovation to drive social change. UTS Rapido Social is embedded within an advanced technology development unit at UTS, and functions as a University-incubated start-up with a social mission.