The Why


Our purpose is to co-create public value with significant social innovation impact. We aim to co-create and share this impact through knowledge discovery, knowledge validation, knowledge beneficiation, and knowledge dissemination. Our intentional knowledge value chain work also aims to co-create and share public value that impacts positively on inclusion and social cohesion in global and local societies.


CiviNovus embraces, co-creates, and shares a vision of continuously, systematically, and dynamically emerging as a cutting-edge social innovation knowledge institution, with significant impact, for a good society and good in society.


Our knowledge-informed social innovation mission is imbedded into, and impacts on society, ecology polity, economy, and technology. Some of our specific focus and action areas in which we co-create and share public value with significant societal impact for all, are:

  • Ideas inspired, inclusively organized, and impactfully implemented social innovation, 
  • Good public and corporate governance,
  •  Professional knowledge-informed wise learning leadership founded on integrity, empathy, and compassion, and
  • Effective, efficient, and ethical service delivery for society.  

We are actively involved in facilitating, designing and delivering research, education, teaching, service, and consultancy.

We continuously aspire to co-create and disseminate wisdom based on data, information, and knowledge.

Our Story

The CiviNovus story relates strongly to our values of integrity, empathy, compassion and reciprocity. Continuing and academic and professional career of close to 40 years at the Universities of Stellenbosch, Tilburg and Leiden and many other visiting academic positions at renowned Universities in the world including Leuven University, Harvard University, Rutgers University amongst others as well as large numbers of consultancy briefs in international, national, regional and local spheres of public and private governance, Professor Erwin Schwella was endowed with emeritus status from some of these illustrious institutions from 2018 onwards. This freed up more opportunities to practice learning leadership as service leadership and leadership as followership within the context of integrity, empathy, compassion and reciprocity. A number of very competent and compassionate servant learning leaders inspired Erwin Schwella to set up CiviNovus with their shared vision to enhance leadership, social innovation, social entrepreneurship and build social businesses with inspiring ideas, inclusive institutionalisation and impactful implementation. With the guidance and support of this integrity, empathy, compassion and reciprocity inspired visionaries as volunteers CiviNovus was co-created as network partnership and social innovation think tank to engage with complex adaptive problems in society, polity, economy, economy and the ecology through a socially innovative knowledge value chain.

This aspirational and intentional initiative to make the world a better place was destined to occur when, in what is regarded as divine calling, it was decided to establish the School of Social Innovation at Hugenote Kollege, a faith-based private higher education institution. Hugenote is strongly associated with the visionary and impactful faith-based social innovation servant leader, Dr Andrew Murray, who in his lifetime accomplished major social innovation with impact initiatives based on integrity, empathy, compassion, and reciprocity.

Hugenote requested the group of CiviNovus volunteers to innovatively populate the social innovation leadership programmes with knowledge and wisdom through the academic functions of education, teaching, research and service and consultancy. This initiative also was required to be socially innovative and based on the ethos of social entrepreneurship as volunteers without budget=based direct compensation to those who contribute to the work. This resulted in a social business model where the inspired volunteers in CiviNovus generate income to share with beneficiaries before they share in this income.

For the sake of integrity and transparency it must be clearly stated and disclosed that the many innovative social entrepreneurship initiatives which generates income also pays reasonable compensation to the volunteer social entrepreneurs involved in a fair and equitable way. Within CiviNovus and the School of Social Innovation there are now many linked social business initiatives in a number of business, industry and economic sectors and spheres which co-create and share public value and prosperity with integrity, empathy, compassion and reciprocity. The CiviNovus social business processes aspires to generate income with integrity, effect with empathy, change with compassion and returns with reciprocity.

The CiviNovus story continues towards creating and sharing value and prosperity as an integrity based innovative social business with integrity, empathy, compassion and reciprocity where sustainability is the core and energy and not a compliance driven extra.