Social Innovation

The January Newsletter

What a whirlwind.

Canadian social innovators, you really are doing incredible work across this whole country. I am now a few weeks into this role, and I am blown away everyday when I hear from our regional partners about all of the local efforts making meaningful change in Canada and the world.

As we set out to build and strengthen this new network of SI practitioners, it’s inspiring to see the tremendous commitment to learning, to having the tough conversations, and to experimenting to discover how we can be even better.

One of my commitments this year is to keep making sure that people feel incredible warmth from this community — and my big hope is that we each continue to bring our great expertise and knowledge to working alongside each other, tackling the many hard-to-dos together.

Canadian social innovators are scrappy, filled with passion, and are hungry to create impact for themselves and others. Through the coming months, we’ll be sharing the best of what our partners are up to, and how we’re learning from each other and growing. And, we’ll continue to ensure that we keep these ideas moving into the mainstream.

Stay tuned for more big and beautiful things in 2019,

Chi Nguyen

Director, Social Innovation Canada

RADIUS SFU Welcomes Civic Innovation Change Lab 2019

Change Lab’s 2019 cohort is a group of undergraduate students from a variety of academic backgrounds working together in interdisciplinary teams to investigate a real social, economic, and environmental challenge facing Vancouverites.

This year’s course will focus on the theme of “Neighbourhood Resiliency”. Resiliency refers to our ability to adapt or recover from difficulties; to be tough. When we refer to resilient neighbourhoods, we include economic, social, and environmental perspectives, as each is necessary to support the others. Read from RADIUS SFU here.

Calgary’s Social Impact Lab Takes a Design Thinking Approach

Talia Bell and Cindy Lam share how the Social Impact Lab in downtown Calgary is working to understand and address challenges related to mental health services, and is helping organizations apply design thinking to their work. “The Social Impact Lab is greatly influenced by the principles of human-centred design. By placing humans at the focal area of our work and designing to solve their unmet needs, we can achieve impact through innovation.”  Read more about Calgary’s Social Impact Lab here.

Centre For Social Innovation Launches Climate Ventures, a “Cross-Sector Incubator”

Toronto’s Centre for Social Innovation has a new dedicated action space you can join. They call it Climate Ventures, Toronto’s first cross-sector climate solutions incubator. The Climate Ventures space includes Hot Desks and desk clusters, a lounge and meeting area, screens and a projector, a kitchenette, private washrooms, and a meditation/power nap nook, all located at CSI Spadina. Climate Ventures also delivers an ever growing series of programming and mentorship opportunities. Read more about it here.

Maison de l’innovation Sociale Convenes “Living Lab” to Produce Solutions for Seniors

On January 10, more than 60 participants from various backgrounds gathered at CenTech to reflect on some of the challenging issues facing seniors, their root causes, and the effects they’re having on this vulnerable population. Rooted in a social innovation approach, the goal was to bring together a wide range of diversity and expertise to develop and guide medium to long-term solution-oriented thinking. They also wanted to generate ideas for products and services with the potential to help aging citizens remain autonomous and active in public life. Read more on the MIS blog here.

Important Moments for Canadian Social Innovation in 2018

This was a important year for social innovation in Canada. The biggest news is probably that the federal government announced an $805M investment in social innovation, the importance of which can not be overstated. But that funding exists because Canada has already become a global leader in social innovation, thanks to work being done from coast to coast by social innovators and organizations everywhere.

As we begin this new year, we’re looking back on some of the important moments and learnings from 2018 that will help shape the year ahead….(More)

Building Trust And Avoiding Pitfalls With Digital Communication

Sometimes science proves something that we already know. Like that the earth is round. Or that innovation and human emotion are intertwined.

Human nature, with its innate prejudices, biases, and hard-wired survival mechanisms, creates enormous social transaction costs. This problem is examined in greater detail in one of our favourite innovation ecosystem studies: The Rainforest by Victor W. Hwang and Greg Horowitt. According to their study, one of the rules for creating ecosystems where innovation thrives is that participants must “trust and be trusted”. But in today’s digitally connected world, building trust is uniquely difficult…(More)

What Tim’s Reading: How Does Social Innovation Contribute to, or Bang Into, Previous Generations of Social Change Thinking?

Although discrete social innovations have been around since time immemorial, the field of social innovation has only gained significant profile in the last couple of decades. How does social innovation contribute to, or bang into, previous generations of social change thinking? That is the tension that two recent and connected articles grapple with…(More)

Maybe is a Podcast About The Messy Reality of Social Innovation

Maybe is a podcast series inspired by individuals who are tackling critical issues and challenges in communities across Canada. Specifically, it’s about people who have participated in a very special program called Getting to Maybe: A Social Innovation Residency, inspired by the Canadian book and social innovation phenomenon of the same name.

SI Canada spoke to Host and Producer Cheryl Rose about her work in social innovation, the podcast, and where its going in 2019…(More)

Development Manager: McConnell Foundation

Location: Montreal, with some travel.
Closing date for applications: January 31, 2019

“Open to professionals with seasoned experience in impact investing or development finance, this full-time position is designed to support strategic investment development and partnership management across Foundation programs and help advance the Foundation’s overall Solutions Finance activities.”
Apply Here.

Social Innovation Conference Director: Hollyhock

Location: Vancouver, travel to Cortes Island.
Closing date for applications: Open Until Filled

“We are looking hire a Social Innovation Conference Director with a clear mandate to build on our conference model by intentionally expanding and scaling our offering.”

Apply Here.

Program Director: Powered By Data

Location: Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa with travel between.
Closing date for applications: February 18, 2019

“We are looking for a skilled and enthusiastic leader to serve as Program Director for this emerging policy coalition. This exciting new role will be responsible for weaving 40+ service providers, advocacy groups, and foundations into a functional coalition, supporting them to identify and pursue policy priorities, and securing resources to ensure the initiative’s ongoing success beyond 2019.”
Apply Here.

Consulting Director of Evaluating Impact: Tamarack

Location: Toronto

Closing date for applications: February 28, 2019

“The Consulting Director, Evaluating Impact will bring experience and knowledge of a variety of evaluation approaches, tools and resources. The Consulting Director will be able to employ this knowledge and experience in advancing the field of community change practice.”

Apply Here.

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