At the MacEwan University Social Innovation Institute, we connect you with experts and innovators who support your commitment to positive change. We convene events that encourage social innovation, social entrepreneurship and collaboration, bring together community partners for learning and research and host social labs where prototype solutions are developed and pilots are incubated. Let us introduce you to the students, faculty and other changemakers who have the expertise and creativity to move your ideas forward.
Social innovation, social labs, social entrepreneurs—these are exciting times for people who want to influence the world in positive ways. Here are a few examples of the types of projects we support:
A new university graduate has the seed of an idea for a tech start-up, but wants to make sure it is a sustainable, socially responsible enterprise.
A group of neighbours who sponsored a refugee family wants to support these new Canadians in getting a business idea off the ground.
An arts organization wants to showcase the creativity of youth in the community while raising funds to support their operations.
Contact us with your idea today. Tell us what you're thinking. Discover what we can do together.
Ways to participate
Design Jams are fun, fast and socially innovative events that inspire new collaborations and exciting ideas that address real social or environmental challenges. Working in teams with a social innovation coach, participants are led through a design process to explore problems, generate potential solutions (known as prototypes) and pitch their ideas to get feedback and support for taking their ideas to the next stage.
Social labs involve a series of events and meetings (including but not limited to Design Jams) to encourage extensive community engagement, facilitate the development of prototypes and incubate a sample of prototypes to scale into viable pilots. Whereas Design Jams spark new ideas and foster trust and collaboration, Social Labs take that energy and channel it into impactful action.
The Social Innovation Institute partners with various groups to co-host Design Jams and Social labs.
Each year, the program will feature a new Social Entrepreneur in Residence (SER) that will fulfill the roles of educator, mentor and collaborator through engagement on campus. The SER will be an innovative entrepreneur, with significant proven impact in the community, who can be seen as a role model and support for campus leaders, aspiring social entrepreneurs and our community of changemakers.
During their year-long tenure, the SER will develop a collaborative project that leverages the resources and expertise at MacEwan University, by convening faculty and students.
The Social Innovation Fellowship connects Edmonton-based businesses and non-profit organizations that need applied research support for a social innovation, social entrepreneurship or social change initiative with a research Fellow and a Junior Fellow. Research projects, which are identified by a partner organization, can relate to any sector and field, including health, social services, business, fine arts, community development, sciences and engineering.
Changemaker Week engages MacEwan’s campus and the Edmonton community alike, in changemaking opportunities. We believe that anyone can be a changemaker and we are dedicating a week each Fall to spark ideas and empower action through a variety of events and activities. You can stay up-to-date on Changemaker Week events on roundhouse.net.
The Social Innovation Institute focuses on community engaged learning by bringing together multiple disciplines into collaborative initiatives. One of those initiatives is Experience MacEwan, a campus-wide program that connects organizations and businesses with faculty who embed service-learning projects in their courses, while also strengthening inter-faculty collaborations. Another initiative involves developing a pilot inter-faculty studio course addressing real world social challenges using a social innovation approach.
Supporting students with opportunities to learn and apply social innovation skills is also featured in the School of Continuing Education’s Social Innovation Professional Development Certificate.
Finally, we provide education to the broader community around changemaking, social innovation and social enterprise, including a series called Economics for Social Change.
The Social Innovation Institute explores new approaches to strengthen community engaged scholarship through developing innovative pilot initiatives.
Examples that are being explored include developing a campus-wide map of community engaged scholars and their projects as well as fostering new research clusters on innovations in a variety of social and environmental challenges.