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.
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.
A Social Innovation Fellow is an emerging leader in a social change initiative, using research, innovation and entrepreneurial approaches to address social or environmental challenges. This fellowship program is designed for individuals working on initiatives who would benefit from an interdisciplinary collaboration with other changemakers. Initiatives, as a theme, should foster vibrant urban wellness and can be based in domains including health, business, fine arts, humanities, science or engineering. Fellows will collaborate with other fellows to explore support and learn from each other.
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.
The Institute administers some funds to support changemakers on campus to develop their work and join a community of people changing the world with good ideas at Roundhouse.
Students, faculty and staff looking to use meeting and event space in Roundhouse can apply to this fund.
A Takeover is where a faculty or staff group (e.g., departments, discipline group, administrative unit, etc.) occupy a significant number of spaces within Roundhouse for the day. Some examples of a Takeover are to host a strategic planning retreat, an innovation day to redesign curriculum/programs, or a team-building day.
Groups are encouraged to engage members of Roundhouse while they are in the space to share what activities each are working on.
Students, faculty, staff and alumni engaged in interdisciplinary courses and research projects that involve community partnerships working on changemaking, social innovation and social enterprise initiatives may access Roundhouse space for the duration of their project.
Supporting student- and alumni-based enterprises that are exploring a social mission.
The Roundhouse SAMU Grant supports students interested in joining a community of changemakers with a 3-month Community Membership at Roundhouse.
Social Innovation Institute
Founding Director, Social Innovation Institute
PhD (Alberta); B.Com. (Alberta)
11-167A, Allard Hall11110 – 104 AvenueEdmonton, AB780-633-3464
5-256F, City Centre Campus10700 – 104 AvenueEdmonton, AB780-633-3269
Leo is the founding director of the Social Innovation Institute and an assistant professor in the School of Business. He graduated with a PhD in Marketing from the University of Alberta. He teaches and researches new business concepts that are aligned with socially responsible thinking and ethical decision-making, working with a generation of students who will shape our sustainable world. He has done applied research with social enterprises, taught undergraduate and graduate business courses related to sustainability and designed courses focused on corporate social responsibility.
Academic Lead, Social Innovation Institute
11-169E, Allard Hall11110 – 104 AvenueEdmonton, AB780-983-0389
Alexis brings a diverse professional background to the Social Innovation Institute. As a social worker and adult educator, her interests include evaluation, program development, facilitation and experiential learning. Alexis's graduate research focused on innovation among front-line employees in the public sector, and she continues to be curious about how different contexts, worldviews and values impact social innovation work.