Posts Tagged ‘Social innovation’

Social Innovation Learning Session

The Foundation has launched its Social Innovation Learning Program, a series of retreat-style gatherings designed to support the continued development of organizations through the formation of a peer-supported learning community. From 2004-2007, the Foundation regularly convened selected grantees to share strategies, experiences and challenges, draw inspiration from one another, and to learn from invited experts. This format has recently been revived with a group of 8 grantees.

The first in a series of three gatherings was held in late February, at the Hotel Premières Nations in Wendake (Quebec), where participants discovered links between diverse areas of work and learned about common strategies for scaling their efforts. As we have heard from grantees in the past, taking a pause can be rejuvenating, and this event proved to be beneficial in terms of stepping back from the day-to-day operational demands to focus on collaborative learning.

The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation

The Foundation is mentioned in the cover article of the current (Spring 2014) issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The article, Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation, describes the work of a group of 11 funders, and mentions the Foundation’s support for Social Innovation Generation and Innoweave.

Click here to read the article.

Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation

The University of Waterloo’s Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation is a partnership between leading academics, experts from the public, private, and community sectors from across the country, and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. Nominations are now being accepted for participation in the program’s 2013-2014 offering, whose theme is Young Canadians Innovating for a Resilient Canada.

It will be focused on, but not limited to, individuals aged 22-35 with experience as change-makers, and who want to learn to work for broad system change (political, economic, legal, education, environmental, social, etc). Together, this cohort will collaborate to more deeply understand our national systems, to identify key challenges, and to develop social innovation strategies that can move social and environmental systems in positive directions.

Nominees may come from the private, public, or community sectors, and must have a clear passion for change, a tolerance for risk, a deep appreciation for collaboration, a high interest in learning, and a strong desire for action. If you know someone who fits this profile, please consider nominating them for a spot in this sought after program.

For program information, please click here.

Innovation, Austerity’s Grandchild

SiG Senior Advisor and former Foundation President Tim Brodhead was recently published in the quarterly journal, The Philanthropist. The article, Innovation, Austerity’s Grandchild, addresses how social finance is creating space for innovation, resulting in a new narrative that underscores the critical contribution of the community sector to tackling complex challenges facing Canadian society.

Read the full article here.

Innoweave Featured on OTF’s [SiC] Blog

Innoweave’s Aaron Good shared his thoughts on social innovation in the not-for-profit sector in the latest edition of [SiC], the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s blog. In his post, Aaron talks about the need for non-profits to move from a “business as usual” approach and the role of tools for social innovation in enhancing organizational impact. As Aaron notes,

“Innovation is not easy. It takes resources – resources that community organizations are rarely able to divert from their programming. Too many don’t have the time to stop or slow down the train, despite the fact that there may be a better route than the one that they are taking. They aren’t able to check if they running on low-efficient fuel, or passing right by their destination. Some aren’t even clear exactly what the destination is, even if they know that it’s somewhere to the North, or South of where they are today.  Finally, when passionate, hardworking leaders do squeeze out the time to look beyond their latest crisis, they often find so many options and choices on how to do things better that it can be almost overwhelming. Some may ask themselves: Where should I start? What option is best for us? How do I decide? Or even, How do I make this this happen?”

To access the full blog post, click here.

Inspiring Action for Social Impact Series

On November 2, Social Innovation Generation and Frances Westley—the JW McConnell Chair in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo and the co-Founder of the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience—launch Inspiring Action for Social Impact Series, a new webinar series focusing on Canadian ideas in social innovation.

The 8-week series, featuring leaders of the SiG initiative, will explore social innovation—sharing lessons learned, best practices and emerging concepts and ideas.

Upcoming webinars:

  • November 2: Frances Westley on Social Innovation and Resilience
  • November 9: Stephen Huddart on Managing Social Innovation
  • November 16: Allyson Hewitt on Shared Value & what it means for the non-profit sector
  • November 23: Cheryl Rose on Community-University Partnerships
  • November 30: Tim Draimin on Supporting global learning: Australia/Canada social innovation synergies
  • December 7: Al Etmanski on Natural Care
  • December 13: Tim Brodhead on Key trends in philanthropy for grant seekers from a SI perspective (Note: this event takes place on a Tuesday)
  • December 20: Dr. Ilse Treurnicht on Upcoming Trends in Innovation

For full webinar details, visit the SiG series website.

Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation now Open for Applications!

The first offering of the Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation will focus on the issues of mental health, aging, and newcomers to Canada.

If you are seeking creative solutions to big problems, open to exploring and utilizing multiple and cross-cutting perspectives, and eager to develop the habits of thought and strategic skills necessary to make transformative change possible, this program was designed with you in mind.

  • Become a more creative and sophisticated systems-thinker
  • Learn to better identify, nurture and seize opportunities to address the problems of greatest importance to you
  • Build a national, cross-sectoral professional network
  • Develop strategic skills and ways of thinking that will make you more effective in all your endeavors
  • Position yourself to effectively address major social challenges

The Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation was created by the University of Waterloo in partnership with the Foundation.

Learn more about the program and application process from its website.

National speakers’ series, Inspiring Action for Social Impact, kicking off next week

Inspiring Action for Social Impact is a national speakers’ series comprised of a mix of in-person and online public talks by international thought leaders, applied learning workshops and dialogue on practical strategies for social innovation in Canada. The series begins with Christian Bason, Director of MindLab in Denmark, in Toronto on Monday May 9th at 6:00pm.

“For simplicity, I argue that the journey towards the highly innovative public organisation must be led simultaneously across four dimensions: Creating consciousness of what innovation is and means to the organisation; building capacity to innovate, from political context over strategy and organisational structure to people and culture; mastering a process of co-creating new solutions with people, not for them; and finally, to display the courage at all levels of management to really lead innovation.” from Leading Public Sector Innovation: Co-creating for a better society

Inspiring Action for Social Impact is presented by SiG, in partnership with the Foundation, MaRS Discovery District, PLAN Institute, the University of Waterloo, and The Public Policy Forum.

Find more information about the series and register for the event here.

Tim Brodhead interviewed by the Policy Research Initiative

Tim Brodhead was recently interviewed by the Policy Research Initiative for Horizons, their online magazine. In the article An Innovation Agenda for Canada’s Community Sector?: A conversation with Tim Brodhead, Tim argues that Canada’s community sector needs to think through what its innovation agenda ought to be in light of a fast-evolving environment.

“We need a society that is both caring, that is, nurturing, generous, and inclusive, and also creative, that is, enterprising, innovative, and focused on solutions.”

Tim’s interview was posted as a preview of the January 2011 issue of Horizons, entitled Innovative Communities: Agents of Change. Read the interview in The President’s Corner or on the Policy Research Initiative website.

The Philanthropist’s issue on social innovation includes contributions from Foundation staff

Social innovation is the theme of the current issue of The Philanthropist, a quarterly journal for practitioners, scholars, supporters, and others engaged in the nonprofit sector in Canada. Foundation staff, as well as many friends of the Foundation, contributed articles.

The Foundation’s COO, Stephen Huddart, authored one of the journal’s overview articles, entitled Patterns, Principles, and Practices in Social Innovation, which explores various dimensions of the field of social innovation.

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