Traversing the Landscape of Social Innovation

In this course, you’ll explore social innovation as a growing universe of new techniques and methods intended to unleash creative solutions to deeply rooted challenges. You’ll define social innovation, understand its history and uncover an array of tools and methods.

You’ll discover the Innovator’s Journey as a framework for social innovation tools and as a way to transform the way you see the problem itself. You will learn from individual cases, as well as from the perspectives and experiences other participants bring into the course.

You will also learn to define and redefine your problem within a larger context using whole-systems thinking tools such as causal mapping, the adaptive cycle and stakeholder mapping.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
TBA - TBA $995.00 0 -

What will I learn?

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Define and articulate what social innovation is, including the arc of its development and application 
  • Map a social problem using systems thinking frameworks and perspectives
  • Identify the phases of a social innovation during which systems thinking tools are most useful, including for problem framing, meaning-making, identifying levers and reassessing strategy 
  • Analyze the dynamics of complex problems through case examples of participants 
  • Apply the steps of problem definition and reframing using systems thinking tools in their own context 
  • Practise and share active listening and peer-coaching methods 
  • Use questions as a reflection and learning practice 
  • Understand the role of somatic, awareness-based and experiential practices and activities in support of social innovation
  • Articulate your purpose in taking the Social Innovation Certificate (if applicable)

How will I learn?

  • Advance readings
  • Individual and group exercises
  • Case studies
  • Mini-lectures
  • Group discussion

Who should take this course?

This module is suitable for professionals who want to deepen their knowledge of and ability to apply tools and concepts related to social innovation. 

How will I be evaluated?

You will be evaluated based on your class participation, in-class assignments and a post-class reflection assignment. 

If you are taking this course as part of the Social Innovation Certificate program, you may need to complete additional assignments outside of class time in order to graduate.

Textbooks and learning materials

The following books are strongly recommended for certificate students and for individual registrants. The required readings will be provided through Canvas, your online learning platform. 

brown, adrienne maree. Emergent Strategy: Shaping change, changing worlds. AK Press, 2017.

Etmanski, Al. Impact: Six Patterns to Spread Your Social Innovation. Orwell Cove Publishing, 2015.

Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Milkweed Editions, 2015. (We suggest the audiobook, read by the author to capture the beauty of the storytelling and oral tradition).

Sutherland, Kate. We Can Do This! 10 Tools to Unleash Our Collective Genius. Incite Press, 2017.

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