Monthly Archives

July 2016

A warm welcome to Tovah Paglaro and Rebecca Konsolos!

By | RADIUS Edu, RADIUS Ventures, Social Innovation | No Comments

Please join us in welcoming the newest members of our growing team, Tovah Paglaro (RADIUS General Manager) and Rebecca Konsolos (RADIUS Ventures Program Strategist)!

Tovah is taking the reins as RADIUS’ first ever General Manager, joining the senior leadership team with responsibility for successful fulfillment of all RADIUS programs and oversight of our communications and community development activities. She brings over ten years experience leading projects that inspire action on big ideas, and a unique skill set drawing on strategic analysis, systems thinking, project management and engaging storytelling. This culminated most recently with successfully leading the David Suzuki Foundation’s Blue Dot Tour, the most ambitious campaign in the organization’s history. Beginning with impressive stewardship the RADIUS team retreat last week, its clear this team just added another gear.
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Rebecca is also forging a new path for RADIUS, joining as the first Program Strategist for the RADIUS Ventures program and adding enormous value since her arrival in May. In recent years Rebecca has worked as a Boston Consulting Group Social Impact Fellow with Endeavour in San Francisco, and as an Associate out of the BCG Toronto office. Prior to this she worked with Renewal, one of North America’s leading social venture capital firms. Rebecca has taken the lead on a variety of projects to further strengthen our offerings to high impact ventures, bringing new rigour and creativity to critical portions of our work, and fitting seamlessly into our team and community of radical doers.
A huge welcome to both Rebecca and Tovah from the RADIUS team, and we can’t wait for you to meet them! (Or even join them, if you think you might be our next Operations and Communications Coordinator…)

Recommendations for a Successful Startup: Advice, Legitimacy, Logo and Online Presence

By | Funding, RADIUS Edu, Social Innovation | No Comments

The SFU Student Social Innovation Fund, a collaboration between RADIUS and Embark, provides project funding of up to $1000. Below, Butt Out Vancouver, a project team funded earlier this year, shares their advice for your startup endeavours.

So, you have a great idea about how you can make an impact in your community and want to start an initiative but don’t know where to begin. We understand – we went through that exact feeling! We knew that we wanted to focus on cigarette waste reduction but didn’t know where to start. Based on our experiences developing Butt Out Vancouver, here are the top four aspects we recommend focusing on when beginning a project of your own:

Ask for advice. We reached out to colleagues, groups and organizations that were working on our topic of interest or were addressing the issue in a similar way to how we wanted to approach our issue of interest. The Internet is your best friend for this since most (if not all) organizations have at least a contact email listed on their website. Before Butt Out Vancouver even became Butt Out, we talked with colleagues (current and past), SFU professors as well as friends and family about what we had in mind. We even met with Deputy Mayor Andrea Reimer for feedback. Click here for more details about how we did it! Here are some of the steps to take when asking for advice and developing your idea:

  • Dive into the literature and get as much information as you can on the issue you want to address – know your facts!
  • Verbalizing your thoughts and discussing it with others will help the team figure out some of the kinks and shadows in your idea.
  • Once you have read what is out there and have reached out for advice you will most likely find that your idea has changed or shifted slightly. That is okay! It is important to realize that the more you peel away the layers of any problem, the more you will find that it is not always what it seems. It is important to stay open to changing your approach!

Gain your legitimacy. Once we knew how we wanted to move forward with our idea the next issue we stumbled upon was legitimacy. People wanted to know who we are, why we were talking to them about this topic and why they should talk to or listen to us. Allies, partnerships, and collectives give the team both legitimacy and access to resources, which enables growth. Read More

[CLOSED] We’re hiring: RADIUS Operations and Communications Coordinator

By | Social Innovation | No Comments

RADIUS seeks a highly organized team player to join our team as Operations & Communications Coordinator. Reporting to the General Manager, the successful candidate will join a dynamic team in our new office space in downtown Vancouver.

Applications are due by 11:59pm on August 15 (see application details below).

RADIUS delivers cohort-based programs to empower innovators and accelerate innovation in support of social justice and social entrepreneurship. Housed within the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University, RADIUS focuses on the following program areas:

  • RADIUS Edu: With people as our starting point, RADIUS Edu is transforming the learning journeys of SFU students and participants in our Fellowship in Radical Doing.
  • RADIUS Lab: Systems focused, RADIUS Lab works with community partners to understand problems and design, test, launch and scale interventions.
  • RADIUS Ventures: Built to amplify promising solutions, RADIUS Ventures focuses on market based solutions from business model validation to early stage growth.

The Operations and Communications Coordinator will have the following responsibilities:

Office Coordination Duties

On September 1 RADIUS will move into a brand new innovation centre at 308 West Hastings, within the newest SFU building downtown. The Coordinator will be responsible for day to day operations to ensure that the space runs smoothly and is welcoming.

Responsibilities will include but not be limited to:

  • Creating and managing a hot-desk booking system
  • Basic bookkeeping and finance processing
  • Maintaining event and meeting room bookings and office calendar
  • Overseeing effective office systems (from copiers to audio-visual systems to coffee and everything between)
  • Event coordination and support
  • Supporting energy and operations in the space that reflect RADIUS’ mission

Communications Coordination Duties

RADIUS is thrilled to be part of the innovation community in Vancouver and abroad, and the Coordinator will help us to reach and engage them.  

Responsibilities will include but not be limited to:

  • Compiling and distributing our monthly newsletter
  • Coordinating our social media calendar and feeds
  • Coordinating communication deliverables across the team
  • Supporting promotions for events, programs, and partner initiatives
  • Updating our CRM

RADIUS Team Support

On an ad hoc basis, the Operations and Communications Coordinator will be called on to support RADIUS program staff in a range of activities, which may include but will not be limited to:   Read More

Trampoline Business Model Validation Program – Jan/Feb 2017

By | Accelerator, RADIUS Ventures, Social Innovation | No Comments

Are you developing a business idea that will help address social and environmental justice or ecosystem health? Are you looking to access proven expertise to help guide you in developing and testing your business plan? Do you want to join a network of other social entrepreneurs as you tackle the challenges of starting your own business?

The Trampoline program is a validation stage program for new and emerging impact ventures looking to test and refine their business model. The program is designed to support entrepreneurs and ventures to test alignment, or potential alignment, between the following three core themes:

  1. The Problem: Is your venture focused on addressing a real, meaningful, and impactful problem?
  2. The Solution: Is your proposed solution viable and effective in addressing the problem without creating new ones?
  3. The Entrepreneur: Are you the entrepreneur or team to move this project forward?

With these three core themes aligned, you are off to the races. Missing one? Time to pivot, revise, or go back to the drawing board. Trampoline is your eight-week process to find out where you and your venture stand.

The program:

The core program consists of four-hour workshop sessions every week for eight weeks. Participants should expect to spend an additional three hours per week of work outside of the classroom.

What you’ll leave with:

  • The confidence and clarity to move quickly and make it happen
  • A complete and customer-tested pitch deck
  • An action plan with your next steps to a Minimum Viable Product or Service
  • Prioritized sales channels, customer types, and revenue opportunities
  • New and lasting connections with like-minded and local entrepreneurs
  • Frameworks and processes you can continue to use going forward
  • Exposure through RADIUS communications channels and networks

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Interested in learning more? Check out what our community is saying.

“One of the great things about this program is that you come in with an idea and they really challenge you to look at that idea, break it down, and see if you can make it work… it’s an unbelievably rewarding process.” – Trampoline Alumni

“I feel a lot more prepared and confident to go out and test this product… it’s been amazing.” – Trampoline Alumni

“The instructors have been pretty fantastic, and they constantly are pushing you to think about your business in a different way and to really make sure you are asking the right questions and getting the right information.” – Trampoline Alumni

Cost: Cost: $995 per entrepreneur or $1,200 per team of two

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Apply here. Applications will be reviewed as received and we may begin pre-work with companies as soon as accepted, so apply early!

Questions? Please email us at ventures@radiussfu.com

Social Innovation Activators: Seeing Uncertainty as a Space for Possibility

By | RADIUS Edu | No Comments

Zoya Jiwa is one of our 2016 Student Social Innovation Activators, and a RADIUS Fellow alumna. RADIUS launched the Social Innovation Activators program this year to bring together three emerging SFU changemakers who will help understand, shape, and activate a stronger social innovation community, engaging all faculties on all SFU campuses. Here Zoya shares her reflections.

Over the past four months, I have had the delight of participating in the Social Innovation Activators program. In essence, we are a group of three students who are researching, mapping, and curating resources to support SFU students in engaging with social innovation opportunities during their university studies.

Our first project was organizing the Social Innovation Speaker series, which introduced students and the external community to the concepts of social innovation and social entrepreneurship. We organized three separate events, each with a unique focus. For the first two events, we invited local influencers to share their past experiences and current projects to demonstrate tangible examples of social enterprise and creative innovation in various sectors. Finally, our third event, focused on school and community engagement opportunities at SFU, brought the perspectives of three student changemakers who expressed the positive role of entrepreneurial, experiential, and community-based courses in their academic journey. Witnessing our first project unravel was rewarding and motivating for all of us.

SONY DSCWhen I was accepted into the Social Innovation Activators program, I was excited, but not entirely sure of what to expect. While a couple of key projects of the program were revealed, such as coordinating the speaker series and investigating gaps in social innovation on campus, I learned that the frameworks used to meet the goals of each assignment were flexible and at our discretion.

This has been a common theme during my short time in the social innovation sphere. Read More

Social Innovation Activators: Staying Composed Under Uncertainty

By | RADIUS Edu, Social Innovation | No Comments

Amar Singh is one of our 2016 Student Social Innovation Activators. RADIUS launched the Social Innovation Activators program this year to bring together three emerging SFU changemakers who will help understand, shape, and activate a stronger social innovation community, engaging all faculties on all SFU campuses. Here Amar shares some learnings from his experience.

When I first arrived for my interview for the Social Innovation Activators Program, I was surprised to see three glasses of water across the interviewer’s seat. It turned out that RADIUS had decided to interview candidates in groups of 3 to see which team would get the opportunity to be the very first cohort for the Activators Program. Intimidated, I was expecting it to be a complete bloodbath. However, it turned out that the team-based interview were engaging, exciting, yet probing into our motivations for becoming Activators of Social Innovation. I’m not sure why, but I knew that this was the beginning of something special.

Why did I share this story? Because it adequately describes the experience I’ve had with the SI Activators program so far. I walk in thinking one thing and then have a curve ball thrown at me, requiring me to adjust and stay composed under uncertain conditions.

Beginning the program, I thought we would have clear goals and agendas followed by quick execution of tasks, creating a lot of game-changing impact within the SFU community in a short amount of time. However, I quickly realized that change is often slow for big institutions, and in innovation, there often isn’t a clear cut plan of attack. Innovation is uncertain and impact requires patience and perseverance. For me, this was tough as I’m used to having a clear plan, checking off the items on the to-do list with pace.

As Activators of Social Innovation at SFU, our first project was organizing the Social Innovation Speaker Series. The goal of this series was to create an access point into the world of Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship for SFU students and community members. I was quickly humbled as there’s a lot more to a speaker series than one may think. Organizing this event was a challenge given the short, one month time-frame. There was the stress of finding speakers, an appropriate venue with economical catering services, marketing the event, and figuring out the structure of how everything will go. Then there’s the dependencies. You can’t market the event until the venue and speakers are chosen. Speakers wont commit unless there are a solid number of people attending. So everything is interconnected like a clump of tangled yarn, and requires patience and perseverance to unravel.

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Kuelii Smart Design: The Beginnings of a Journey

By | Funding, RADIUS Edu, Social Innovation | No Comments

The SFU Student Social Innovation Fund, a collaboration between RADIUS and Embark, provides project funding of up to $1000. Below, we get a second update from Kuelii Smart Fan, a project team funded earlier this year. Catch up by reading with their first post here.

Twas the middle of winter and in our hands was the first 3D printed and assembled model of our proof of concept. I unlatched and shoved the heavy window separating us from the cold world outside. As we gathered around, I took our model and slid it into the gap before closing the window tightly around the model. Then Cindy plugged it in. It came to life.

At least that’s the way it played out in my head.

Soon after the end of IAT 267, Dolapo, TA for IAT 381: Android Development, joined us and we took our proof of concept on a road trip down to University of Washington (UW) Startup Weekend. There we joined up with Andrew and Adam of Sodo Makerspace, Tuan from UW, and Rob to bring an MVP to life over the weekend. We came in 2nd overall! Through the process, we picked up important skills such as evaluation and validation as well as pitching and presentation (see the video we produced for the Startup Weekend UW in 24 hours below).

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Connecting with our Neighbirds and Beyond: Thoughts from the Urban Nestwork Bird Experience

By | Funding, RADIUS Edu, Social Innovation | No Comments

Urban Nestwork affiliate Anna Kraulis is passionate about birds, rewilding, ocean swimming, and outdoor adventures. Below, we get a second update from the Urban Nestwork, a project team funded through the SFU Student Social Innovation Fund.

How do we cultivate meaningful kinship with other species? How do we fit into this notion of “rewilding”…can we rewild ourselves? These are some of the questions that prompted us to design and host “The Urban Nestwork Bird Experience,” as part of the Wild About Vancouver outdoor education festival. We knew it would not be a traditional bird watching tour, nor do we consider ourselves bird experts. Rather, our goal was to create an experience to help participants engage more deeply with the natural world. Lanie Fung and I, in co-ordination with Urban Nestwork founders Azlan Nur Saidy and Nathan Ross, set about creating an afternoon that would combine experiential activities with group dialogue.

To be honest, we had no idea how the activity part would go! Getting adult participants from across the city, as well as the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, The Honourable Judith Guichon, to explore their playful side by responding to bird “cues” (i.e. dropping up and down in tandem with the diving ducks in the pond), climbing over and under rocks to create a “perch” in which to observe birds in the canopy, and so on are not really everyday things for most of us. In the end, we were relieved to hear that people actually dug getting to explore their playful side and respond to the birds’ movements. Some mentioned it made them feel more like active participants in the rhythm of their surroundings.

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The participants diving with the ducks by the pond.

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SFU needs your input on its role as a positive changemaker: Ashoka Changemaker Campus survey

By | RADIUS Edu, Social Innovation | No Comments

In spring of 2016 SFU began a process to seek designation as an Ashoka Changemaker Campus. This designation recognizes the world’s leading universities in activating their entire institution to create positive change and address social challenges.

The primary driver in this work is the belief that SFU is positioned to thrive as an institution that helps our students, staff, faculty and community build the world they want to see, to create solutions, and to become engaged citizens in a more just, healthy and sustainable society. This survey aims to help us understand what we are already doing well, and how we can improve. If you would like to be more involved in this process, you may leave your information at the end.

Take the survey here. Thank you!

Social Innovation Activators: Exploring Towards Creativity and Productivity

By | RADIUS Edu | No Comments

Christine Dyson is one of our 2016 Student Social Innovation Activators. RADIUS launched the Social Innovation Activators program this year to bring together three emerging SFU changemakers who will help understand, shape, and activate a stronger social innovation community, engaging all faculties on all SFU campuses. Here Christine reflects on the past semester. 

These past few months with the RADIUS Social Innovation Activators have been both rewarding and challenging. When I first got accepted into the program I wasn’t too sure what we were going to be doing. Essentially, we are a group of students who are researching how to better provide and articulate social innovation opportunities to students at SFU. How we do that, well, that is the outstanding question.

When I first heard about the program, I was excited to learn that I would be playing a key role in bringing awareness to social innovation opportunities for students at SFU. At first, I thought this would mean a lot of student outreach and consultation. This hasn’t been the case so far, as we have invested our time into bringing awareness to what comprises social innovation and entrepreneurship.

Anna

The first task we embarked on was organizing and delivering a Social Innovation Speaker Series for both students and external community members. The speaker series event brought together influential individuals to talk about their own experiences within the field. The first two events featured speakers who talked about their personal experiences, highlighting both their setbacks and accomplishments. The third event was focused on showcasing opportunities available to students both on and off campus. The final event featured student speakers, drawing attention to opportunities they pursued while in school. Read More

SFU is on the Road to Butt Out

By | Funding, RADIUS Edu, Social Innovation | No Comments

The SFU Student Social Innovation Fund, a collaboration between RADIUS and Embark, provides project funding of up to $1000. Below, we get an update from Butt Out Vancouver, a project team funded earlier this year.

Did you know that cigarette butts can actually be recycled? I didn’t either until a very short time ago. Did you know that one cigarette butt contaminates up to one hundred litres of water? And that’s not the only negative impact that cigarette waste has on the environment.  With over five trillion cigarette butts littered each year, they are the world’s largest litter problem, and we want to do something about it!

Our team, Butt Out Vancouver, aims to implement a cigarette waste recycling program in the greater Vancouver area, whilst encouraging responsible consumer habits in order to protect our environment.  As recent graduates of Simon Fraser University, our team is comprised of innovative thinkers who have diverse areas of expertise and are eager to bring change not only to our campus but also to the city we call home.  Our initiative started with the small idea of not throwing our butts on the ground and has since led us to an increasingly broad range of new ideas such as making pylons out of the materials made from recycled butts, educating people on the facts surrounding butt recycling, and establishing a campus wide cigarette waste recycling program. We have now been generating research from our on campus surveying and have established partnerships in the meantime which have proven to be of great value to us in both our validity and our scope.

Butt Out 1How’d it all begin, you ask? Well, when half of our team attended a music festival in Eastern British Columbia back in 2013, we were exposed to these small devices called Pocket Ashtrays, which are, quite literally, portable ashtrays that will fit into your pockets!  On these awesome little helpers were facts regarding the negative impacts that cigarette waste has on our environment, as well as words of positive reinforcement on the inside of the pouch that read, ‘Good job! You just saved 40 litres of water!’.  This not only educated us, but it also encouraged us to develop more responsible habits of our own when we were disposing of our butts. When we returned to the same festival one year later in 2014, the merchandise headquarters were actually handing out free Pocket Ashtrays with the festival’s logo on them, which meant that clearly they had made an impact! Cool, eh?

Through our outreach efforts to implement a city-wide recycling program, we developed a relationship with the folks at Brain Garden who we learned were actually the group who brought Pocket Ashtrays to this festival in the first place! Initially, our colleagues at Brain Garden handed out Pocket Ashtrays for free outside of the festival’s mandate; however, following the clean-up that year (2013), the organizers of the festival noticed a drastic decrease in the amount of cigarette waste around the grounds and realized the significance the ashtrays had for collecting such waste.  Consequently, the following year (2014) they employed Brain Garden to make customized Pocket Ashtrays for their festival and to have a collection bin on-site, where festival-goers could empty their receptacles so that the butts would later be recycled instead of being thrown into the landfill. Read More