Traditional demarcations between the public, private and third sectors are becoming blurred, with new forms of philanthropy and social enterprise emerging, according to the Centre for Social Impact's (CSI) Professor Peter Shergold.

The CSI chief joined the Centre's Director of Teaching and Learning, Associate Professor Cheryl Kernot and Professor Michelle Haber from the Children's Cancer Institute, for a panel discussion on 'The New World of Social Enterprise'.

Moderated by the chief executive of The Benevolent Society, Richard Spencer, the discussion was part of the UNSW BrainFood series of public events.

Professor Shergold likened the changes underway to a "silent revolution".

"There is a move from traditional philanthropy towards social investment: not-for-profit organisations are being joined by a range of social enterprises in a variety of forms and there is an increased recognition of social innovation as a way to ensure Australia can develop as a socially inclusive, environmentally sustainable society."

The CSI is committed to fostering "socially responsible business management" which has a powerful resonance in light of the global financial crisis, Professor Shergold said.

The CSI is a national initiative launched this year aimed at driving social innovation by building the capacity of Australia's not-for-profit organisations and strengthening their relationship to the private and government sectors. Its founding partners are the Australian School of Business at UNSW, Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne and the Asia-Pacific Centre for Philanthropy and Social Investment at Swinburne University of Technology.

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