The Social Ideas Podcast: social innovation takes to the skies

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Five fighter jets flying in formation.

The Social Ideas Podcast

The Social Ideas podcast shares the impact of social innovation, its necessity and its capacity to challenge the status quo. Throughout this series, highly committed change makers in business, civil society, policy and academia will talk about their work, their ideas and their motivation to strive towards to a more equitable and sustainable world.

US Air Force & social innovation

It is all too easy to believe that when the military talks about innovation they’re referring to technology, much of which, eventually, we as citizens use on a daily basis. Take the humble microwave oven: the essential kitchen appliance, especially essential for new parents, students, and the singleton, was invented by Percy Spencer, an American physicist during World War Two. The story goes that while he was developing new radar technology, he found the chocolate bar in his pocket had melted. From this rather inconvenient discovery he explored how radiation affected food, and eventually invented the microwave oven[1].

Type military + social innovation into your preferred search engine and a number of scholarly articles will pop up on your screen, but none seemingly give a clear definition of what the partnership of those words means in a real-world context.

At the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation our MSt in Social Innovation students attend a termly residential: one week in Cambridge bursting with lectures from the Cambridge Judge Business School’s highly regarded faculty, and guest speakers from different sectors and walks of life. Their aim is to share their knowledge, experiences and insights of the meaning of social innovation, and its impact in their sphere of work.

This June we were joined by Professor Bill De Marco and Lt Col Brandie Jeffries. Bill is a retired United States Air Force Colonel, and the chair for the department of leadership at the Air Command and Staff College in Montgomery, Alabama; Lt Col Brandie Jeffries is the deputy chair for the same department.

(Left to right) Lt Col Brandie Jeffries and Professor Bill DeMarco (Col USAF, Ret)

In this episode of The Social Ideas Podcast, Bill and Brandie share how they, through their roles in the US Air Force, are working to develop the military’s understanding social innovation.


Pam Mungroo

Pam Mungroo

Pam Mungroo

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