Monthly Archives

May 2018

Fellows Guest Blog: Shagufta Pasta on Feedback, Growth & Discovery in the RADIUS Fellowship

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Shagufta Pasta is a writer, educator, social planner, storyteller and 2018 RADIUS Fellow who calls Vancouver, Toronto and Joburg home. To read more about Shagufta’s life, adventures, and the books she’s reading, check out her blog, Seriously Planning.

Photos by Matt Hanns Schroeter

I am a career and experiential educator, and the paradox about seeking to prepare students for the world of work is that the longer you work in this field, the more removed you can become from the very processes and systems you are trying to improve. Before becoming a RADIUS Fellow, I felt that there was more I needed to know to effectively contribute to issues that I care deeply about. The RADIUS Fellowship resonated not only because I felt I had reached my own personal capacity and that I needed new ideas and inspiration to do more, but because I had a desire to have experiences where I would stretch, learn new things and become uncomfortable.

The first time I visited RADIUS, I knew I wanted to be part of the Fellowship program because of the tantalizing titles calling me from the RADIUS desks. This felt comforting; when I am unsure about how to move forward in my personal and professional life, I gravitate towards books. If there is one lesson I’ve learnt over the past few months as a RADIUS Fellow however, it has been about the value of learning not only from books but from people, and that welcoming and inviting feedback into my life and into my work from myself and others is necessary to create positive change in the world.

Receiving feedback has always been a growth edge for me. In one of our early Fellowship sessions, we had the opportunity to bring a project or challenge that we were working on to our peers for open and candid feedback. The thought of being one of the four or five featured projects left my stomach queasy, and so I turned towards that fear and brought Seriously Planning, a project that centers diverse stories to my fellow Fellows. The session was structured so that I had an opportunity to explain my project and challenge to our small group and answer questions for a few minutes but then could not interject, clarify or ask any questions while the group was deliberating. In fact, I had to turn away and take notes while the group was crafting possible solutions and ways to move forward. Though asking others so directly for feedback and advice felt deeply uncomfortable, I was astonished to discover how useful the entire process was to me. Within forty minutes, our group of 5 had come up with ideas and solutions and questions that I had been unable to see from my own vantage point, and I left the session buzzing with all the potential directions for my project that opened because of the generous expertise of others.

In another session with David Hatfield, he offered us a different way to approach conflict. We all have blind spots he suggested, and when you approach conflict from the perspective that another person can see something about you that you cannot, and that conflict is an opportunity to learn more about yourself, it is possible to change your feelings about it.  In that framework, conflict is not a disturber, it can be a messenger. To help us understand this better, we had an opportunity to rehearse with a partner a conflict that we were still thinking about. While skeptical at first, I left that rehearsal session with insights and a physical expansiveness in my body that I had been unable to arrive at previously on my own. The realization that valuable feedback and learning can come not only in moments when it is actively sought but also in moments where deep conflict is taking place, was an unexpected discovery.

In another session talking about deep democracy, we learnt about how every system has things that are marginal and dominant within it. That which is marginalized can cause disturbances until it is seen and addressed properly. That is true for systems but also true for ourselves, and our RADIUS sessions have made me acutely aware that I cannot create systems change until I am rooted within myself.  The Fellowship has taught me that social change starts from within. Through asking me to become curious about my relationship to power, my connection to reconciliation, my habits, my internal states, my conflicts, my goals, my approach to self-care and so much more, this Fellowship has expanded my definition of stories to be signals or information about the world, and made me someone who is far more willing and perhaps even excited, about opportunities to receive feedback from myself and others. It is something I will take with me from my Fellowship experience for a long time to come.

We’re Hiring! Two exciting opportunities to work with RADIUS!

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We are looking to fill two unique new positions at RADIUS! Click the links below to learn about both of these exciting opportunities.


This position will be responsible for RADIUS’ Health Promotion Lab, a contained social innovation initiative designed to engage with the broader health ecosystem, and incubate solutions to solve social health issues. Your work will accelerate ventures that help people live more healthy lives, specifically via the prevention and early detection of chronic disease through healthy nutrition, fitness, and education around substance use options and choices.

View the job posting. (click “VIEW JOB POSTING” top right for role description)


At the core, RADIUS’ mandate is to support “entrepreneurship in service of systems change.” Our new Curriculum Facilitator will help contribute to building a more just, inclusive, resilient economy that is rooted in a healthy ecosystem by ensuring the successful delivery of our entrepreneurial education programs.

We’re looking for a creative educator with exceptional design thinking and facilitation skills, and experience with the world of entrepreneurship, and who is comfortable designing and delivering high impact learning experiences and able to deeply engage with entrepreneurs working to tackle real social challenges.

View the job posting. (click “VIEW JOB POSTING” top right for role description)

Please direct any questions about these postings to

CONVERGE: Canadian Lab Practitioners Exchange

By | Events, RADIUS Lab | No Comments

RADIUS SFU is excited to present CONVERGE: Canadian Lab Practitioners Exchange!

Canada is home to what might be the most diverse social innovation lab ecosystem in the world, with labs in place addressing a wide range of intractable issues that Canadians care deeply about. As RADIUS shifts its focus towards building social labs around key problem areas, we are thrilled to present CONVERGE – a gathering of 80-100 active social innovation lab practitioners and key ecosystem enablers taking place in Vancouver, BC on June 27th and 28th. CONVERGE will give participants the opportunity to connect as a practitioner community, surface and explore patterns and models in the field, and collaborate generously.

Social innovation labs have been increasing in popularity in recent years, with a proliferation of labs being established at universities, within governments, and in communities across Canada. However, most labs operate independently of each other, and as a result, there is a high degree of improvisation and a lack of coordination for greater systems change. In this fragmented state, Labs may be unintentionally recreating past work or struggling to ramp up and learn from others.

Hence, we feel it is time to converge. We believe that in order to get the best results from these projects and to support a growing ecosystem of systemic designers and leaders, practice building is needed. Modelling the very foundational values of labs, our approach in designing this exchange is rooted in abundance, transparency, convening labs across sectors and issues, and a commitment to growing impact in the field.

CONVERGE aims to:

  • Deepen relationships and trust amongst lab practitioners, laying the foundation for an active pan-Canadian community of practice;
  • Create a space for lab practitioners to add value to each other’s work;
  • Make visible the diversity and impact of social innovation labs in Canada;
  • Build a shared set of tools, practices, language, knowledge, and expertise across the lifecycle of a lab; and
  • Identify key problem/opportunity areas where Canadian labs can better align for increased coordination and impact.

CONVERGE invites those who are:

  • Lab practitioners with deep experience in the field (2+ years)
  • Early stage practitioners who need training, input and support
  • Funders of social innovation labs/ecosystem enablers
  • Key systems change facilitators, evaluators, social R&D practitioners, communication strategists, and other professionals working at the ‘edges’ of labs

CONVERGE has been made possible thanks to our partners:

If you are actively running a social innovation lab, please reach out to to learn more about CONVERGE.

Lab-curious? We’ve got something for you too! In the coming days we’ll be posting information about our June 26th public labs showcase, Labs for Social Change: Stories of Impact for the Lab-Curious

Fellows Guest Blog: “The RADIUS Effect” by Larissa Chen

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Larissa Chen is a 2018 RADIUS Fellow, Procurement Manager with Virogin Biotech Ltd, Founder of Boues, Communications Specialist & Board Member with Bridge For Health and one of Surrey’s 2018 Top 25 Under 25. Connect with her by email at chenlrss[at] or on LinkedInLarissa, along with all of the 2018 RADIUS Fellows, will be presenting at concAUCTION – RADIUS’ annual networking auction and Fellows celebration – on May 15th. Get your tickets today!

Photos by Matt Hanns Schroeter

Every morning, I used to start off my routine with a cup of coffee. I loved how it made me feel – energized and ready to take on the day – I believed that was me at my best. In pursuit of the best version of myself, I joined the RADIUS Fellowship program as I was finishing my degree in Population & Quantitative Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University, and looking for direction after graduation.

Throughout my undergraduate years, I worked in research, student governance, large-scale event planning, communications & marketing, and the list goes on, but I still felt misguided. I remembered my experience in RADIUS’ first cohort of Health Change Lab in 2016, and wanted to rediscover the explorative sense of self and enthusiastic community engagement I developed during that program. With the Fellowship, I yearned to find my people, a group of like-minded and curious locals, keen to discover, learn and strengthen our Vancouver community. I knew I was passionate about many issues and wanted to make an impact, but also wanted to become more intentional with my energy and efforts.

Soon enough, RADIUS became my compass through a perplexing transition period. I realized what I truly needed was structured self-reflection, and sought to grow more in-tune with myself. With each weekly Fellows session, retreats, seminars, coaching and networking event, I was determined to bring my best self to every RADIUS activity. Then, in a light bulb moment, I came to terms with the ‘RADIUS Effect’.

What is the ‘RADIUS Effect’? For me, when I enter RADIUS spaces after a long work day, my weary and fatigued self transforms into a spirited and attentive individual, lost in the awe of learning and fully present with my thoughts. I’ve noticed it’s so easy to be my best self, because somehow the RADIUS Effect takes over my headspace and spirit. The Fellowship sessions have challenged my own assumptions, habits, and routines, but also encouraged me to question and explore my blind spots and areas for development – particularly in discussions surrounding power and oppression, reconciliation in Canada, conflict transformation, and other complex issues.

As I continue to learn about fields outside of my comfort zone, I do so within the understanding, kindness, and resourceful support of my RADIUS family. More importantly, I’m building my toolkit of skills and knowledge; and the Fellowship has equipped me with an inclusive and open-minded lens to approach complex societal problems of today and tomorrow. In fact, I accompanied an SFU team visiting Victoria last month, to share existing activities and upcoming projects with ministers, and I heard an interesting statement: “These are complex societal problems and there’s no easy solution.” Immediately, I thought of my RADIUS experience – we must co-create and connect with our communities to approach these wicked problems. How can we work in isolation from our communities, when we ourselves are inherently so embedded within them?

Interestingly enough, my close friends have noticed a difference in me. I’ll share the lessons I’ve learned in the Fellowship to whoever is willing to listen, and become their biggest cheerleader in their ventures. Lately, my business partner has been commenting about how rejuvenated and lively I am; and strangers I meet during work will ask for my LinkedIn because they say I have this certain energy about me that is rare to find. Truth be told, I have to accredit a great deal of that to this sense of self I discovered during my Fellowship and engaging with my RADIUS family.

People used to refer to me as the “Caffeine Machine”, but nowadays, I wake up to a cup of green tea, an amazing podcast, and some mindfulness routines I learned through the Fellowship’s coaching program, and let my re-energized sense of learning, discovery and self-growth jumpstart each day. Right now, I truly feel I am at my best.