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We are at a crossroads globally and as a country when it comes to solving the social problems that threaten our wellbeing. Examples of these challenges include climate change, income inequality, fundamentalism and radicalization, an aging population, the need for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and water and food insecurity.

The Case for Social Innovation

A business-as-usual approach in communities, industries, governments, and institutions will not lead to a sustainable future in Canada or globally. Social innovation presents a new model for how we operate and function as a society. This approach means that no one has sole responsibility for solving our biggest challenges. We are all responsible and have resources and perspectives to contribute. When everyone in every sector participates in problem-solving, we can achieve large-scale change faster and more efficiently.

Various students talking to one another.

The Rise of Social Infrastructure

It has become clear in the 21st century that organizations and sectors can not solve complex social problems when they act independently.  We are now seeing new programs, platforms, and networks that harness knowledge, competencies, assets, resources, and abilities across organizational boundaries. This configuration, called social infrastructure, is far better at enabling, scaling, and accelerating social progress.

Students talking and sharing notes on a park bench.

How Advanced Education is Responding

Post-secondary schools are building social infrastructure to tackle social challenges. They are making an impact by engaging with the community, producing social innovation research, and collaborating with organizations and across disciplines. Students have opportunities to learn experientially through co-op courses that address real-world community challenges.

Student's walking down staircase.

Re-coding Education for Community Wellbeing

Post-secondary institutions understand that accelerating progress on community wellbeing involves a fundamental shift in their mandate. Schools have begun to examine their core operations through a social innovation lens to discover ways to use their assets and expertise for social good.

Our Discussion Paper

This paper explores how post-secondary institutions are in an ideal position to improve social wellbeing using their financial, physical, relational, research, and education resources. Learn how schools are building social infrastructure and collaborative partnerships to foster breakthrough ideas and social enterprises.

read our discussion papers