Profile - Social Innovation Generation
As Social Innovation NI, our idea for a one stop shop for social innovation in Northern Ireland, begins to take shape we thought it would be useful to look at one of the organisations from further afield that has inspired it – Social Innovation Generation. (SiG)
SiG is a group who believes that serious social problems can be solved, with their focus on fostering social innovation to achieve impact, durability and scale by engaging the creativity and resources of all sectors.
SiG is a collaborative partnership founded by The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, the University of Waterloo, the MaRS Discovery District, and the PLAN Institute.
Their ultimate goal is to support whole system change through changing the broader economic, cultural and policy context in Canada to allow social innovations to flourish.
In order to nurture the health, resilience and vibrancy of their linked social, economic and ecological systems SiG works to develop what they call a “living laboratory” of social experiments that have the potential to achieve systemic change.
They try to pay particular attention to innovations which engage vulnerable and excluded people, that encourage and benefit from Canada’s abundant natural, social and cultural diversity and its rich heritage of innovation.
As we have found in Northern Ireland, the responsibility for addressing our social problems cannot be delegated to any one group or sector, so SiG’s aim is to search for solutions that engage the creativity and resources of all sectors.
SiG believe Engaging the wider Canadian public is vital in developing and implementing solutions. SiG works on a number of initiatives to engage all stakeholders, from high-profile multi-sector events, to media development, to sharing knowledge online and through social media.
The SiG partnership has been actively involved in fostering social innovation through the following initiatives:
- The development of Lab models across Canada, creating an environment for experimentation across sectors for solutions seeking, including the MaRS Solutions Lab
- SiG Knowledge Hub
- BC Partners for Social Impact
- Corporate Social Innovation
- Waterloo-McConnell Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation: this program has evolved into 2 new offerings: WISIR MOOC and the Banff Social Innovation Residency
- MaRS Centre for Impact Investing
- Canadian Task Force on Social Finance
- National Family Care Giving Initiative
- National Mental Health Care Commission
- Ontario Provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy
- A Review of Environmental Sustainability Education in Canada
- Development of a Workshop Series to support organizations through Stages of Social Innovation
- Creation of the Registered Disability Savings Plan
Much like the Trust’s Social Finance work here in Northern Ireland, SiG has been deeply involved in the development of a new finance infrastructure in Canada that will strengthen innovative non-profits and bolster social purpose businesses.
Keep an eye on the Building Change Trust Blog and Twitter as we will be looking at some of these initiatives in a bit more detail over the coming weeks.