March 11, 2021

Come celebrate social innovation with UCalgary all next week

University offers online events focused on social innovation March 15-19

The University of Calgary is celebrating social innovation through a series of virtual events. From March 15 to 19, UCalgary invites the community to think deeper about social issues and how the social sector can evolve to make maximum impact.

Jordana Armstrong, associate director of Innovate Calgary, says most people will already be familiar with social innovation in Canada and at UCalgary, citing examples from the adoption of universal health care to the Registered Disability Savings Plan to Innovate Calgary’s Living Works, an organization disrupting how we think about suicide prevention.

Putting the ‘social’ in ‘innovation’ invites us to co-design new approaches and create inclusive partnerships to address challenges that are too big for any individual, company, sector, or even jurisdiction to solve. Investing in social innovation and social enterprise is about investing in ideas to transform social and environmental challenges into opportunities and empowering communities to act on them.

Innovate Calgary works with UCalgary researchers in efforts to identify social innovations with high impact and commercialization potential.

“The university serves as an incredible resource to organizations and groups in the community — whether through research partnerships, student internships, or by cultivating evidence-based solutions to pressing social problems,” says Armstrong. “As members of the university, we benefit from working with and learning from community partners to think about scaling social innovation beyond the university walls.”  

As well as participating in upcoming social innovation events, there are many opportunities for the university community to get involved in social innovation. Armstrong suggests students pursue experiential learning and internships with organizations and groups doing work that they are passionate about.

“There’s no better way to understand social innovation than to get involved with organizations who run social innovation labs or use social innovation in their work,” she says.

Faculty and staff may consider ways to apply social innovation methods and processes into their work — whether through research, design or community engagement. Websites like Canada’s Social Innovation Generation or the DIY Toolkit are great resources to get started.

Register now for social innovation events at UCalgary

UCalgary’s week-long lineup of social innovation programming was inspired by exciting news from UCalgary, United Way and Innovate Calgary, which will be shared on Monday, March 15 and discussed at the Innovating for social impact webinar on Tuesday, March 16. Join President Ed McCauley and Chancellor Deborah Yedlin at this webinar, or choose from the many other social innovation events planned for next week.

March 15

March 16

  • Innovating for social impact
    Join our expert-led discussion about how UCalgary and community partners are making an impact in the social sector by stimulating innovation, helping commercialize new technologies, and accelerating the creation of more startup companies focused on making social change.

March 17

  • Socially desirable technology for energy transitions
    Ordinary citizens and the world’s largest investors are calling for business leaders to take a holistic view of their roles in society. Explore how the energy transition will be an exercise in social innovation that influences technology development.

March 18

  • Financing your social enterprise
    There are many ways to fund your social enterprise, from equity to loans. Different tools can be used to accomplish various milestones based on your corporate structure and goals. Join us with speakers from The Sector Inc. and Social Enterprise fund to learn more about the tools available to fund your social enterprise and knowing when to use them.
  • Social innovation roundtable
    Explore intersectionality between social innovation, governance, and environmental, as well as future trends in social innovation and key performance indicators for assessing a successful social stewardship program.

March 19

  • Mitigating entrepreneur burnout
    Being an entrepreneur and changemaker can feel emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually draining. In this session, you will learn how to effectively manage your energy and mitigate stressors so you can avoid burnout, build your resilience, and have the confidence to tackle new challenges.
  • COVID-19 intervention challenge
    Join a group of like-minded individuals to come up with a solution to “The Challenge,” no special medical knowledge required. This is a three-day virtual opportunity for post-secondary students to collaborate, innovate and create during COVID-19.

Visit the UCalgary Community Engagement site to connect with more social innovation initiatives.