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Shawn Smith

ReframeWork: From Insights to Action

By | Events, RADIUS Lab | No Comments

ReframeWork is a national gathering of select thought leaders and innovators on the topic of Future of Work hosted by RADIUS SFU and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Over 1.5 days (Feb. 27-28) we will explore how Canada can lead in forming new systems for good work, and understand where the richest opportunities are to engage Canadians in building the new models we want to see.

The goals of ReframeWork are to:

  • Connect a diverse, cross-sector Canadian network with broad perspective and deep expertise on relevant questions about the present and future of work;
  • Build a shared understanding of areas of greatest opportunity for innovation and solution-building that can influence broader change; and
  • Inform program design and areas of focus for a multi-year national future of work innovation program to launch in 2018.

While space is limited we are still looking for additional perspectives on the future and present of work including business leaders; academics; experts in AI, machine learning and robotics; actors in decentralized economies, platform coops and wealth creation beyond wage earning; and others who see this subject as central to their work.

If you think you should be participating in this event, we would like to hear from you. Please email

ReframeWork and the multi-year innovation program launching from it build on the success of the Banff Centre’s 2016 Alt/Now: Economic Inequality innovation program.

Jennie Winhall, Co-Lead, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Shawn Smith, Co-Lead, RADIUS SFU
Kiri Bird, Program Strategist, RADIUS SFU


SFU Participating in the Skoll Global Challenge

By | Funding, Social Innovation | No Comments

SFU is participating in the Skoll Global Challenge along with other top schools from around the world. This is a unique competition focused on understanding social problems before trying to solve them and we’re looking for SFU students to participate around issues they are passionate about!

  • Who can apply? Individuals or teams of up to three people. You must have at least ONE SFU student (undergraduate, graduate or doctoral) or recent alumni (within 1 yr), and may include community members.
  • What’s the deadline? December 20th to complete the short registration form, and Feb 6th for your full submission to the SFU local competition round.
  • Do I need a solution idea for my problem? No, you just need a thorough understanding of the problem and current gaps or opportunities.
  • How do I apply? All the info you need is here – note the registration deadline is Dec 20th – this is just a 20 minute process.
  • What problem should my team work on? Anything you are passionate about – all the better if you have already been  working on something. We are particularly interested in learning more about:refugee and immigrant integration, informal economies, circular economy (and particularly clothing industry sustainability/recycling), sustainable food systems (including food waste and food security), precarious work, first nations economic development, and community health topics (inc. health, ageing, active transportation)
  • What do we submit? Pretty simple –  1) A visual map or representation of the issue, 2) a document or slide deck (max 2000 words), 3) bibliography of sources.
  • What can we win? Prize money, trips to Oxford and the Skoll World Forum, access to further funds and support, fame and glory.  SFU will provide at least $1,000 for the top SFU individual or team, and $500 for two runners up. There is a special $1000 local prize for the top team working on refugee settlement issues, and more funding at the national and international levels.
  • What support is there at SFU? We’re hosting a workshop in January and we’ll do our best to advise any teams looking for input on their work before the submission deadline in an informal manner. There are also lots of great resources posted by the Skoll Centre already.

More on the competition from the global host, the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford:

The Global Challenge is a chance for students and recent graduates to learn more about the issues they care about and present their findings to the world.

Tackling global challenges starts with understanding a problem and its wider context, rather than jumping straight into a business plan or an idea for a quick fix. Participants are asked to demonstrate a deep understanding of a pressing social or environmental issue by mapping out the landscape of the current solutions and identifying missing opportunities for positive change.

Winners will be invited to attend the Skoll World Forum and all finalists will have an opportunity to apply for further funding to directly ‘apprentice with a problem’ in a global location relating to their chosen topic.

More questions? Check out their FAQ, then register!

Feel free to contact Shawn with any questions you can’t find answers for on the website –

The Global Challenge at SFU is offered in partnership with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at The University of Oxford, RECODE at the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, and the Trico Charitable Foundation.

SFU Change Lab (Fall 2016)

By | Change Lab, RADIUS Edu | No Comments


While intending to accept a max. of 20 students, we ended up with over 30 wonderful participants from a wide variety of departments and faculties.

 Interested in getting on the wait list, or questions about a future Change Lab? Email instructors Paola Ardiles and Shawn Smith at

More information? Read on!

The general format of the class is working in teams to understand a health related challenge, then develop and test an innovative, venture based response. The course is a full day studio experience Tuesday of each week, where sessions will be a mix of limited lecture, guest speakers, hands on workshops, and open work time in your teams to advance your ideas. Teams will present to community panels for feedback mid term, and be given the opportunity to connect with community partners and leaders to help ensure they build ideas connected to the realities of our communities, and possibly to see those ideas proceed in the real world.

Commensurate with the 7 credits, you should expect this to be an intensive experience. While this is the first Change Lab focused on health solutions, the experience has run in 5 previous years with a focus on environmental and sustainability challenges, and many students have described the course as the most transformative of their undergraduate degree – but you have to be interested in and committed to developing and testing real ideas, getting out of the classroom and talking to people, and taking responsibility for the direction of your learning during the term (there isn’t a lot of mandatory reading or information to memorize – you work with us to figure out what you need to learn to effectively advance your project).

Some of the topics you will learn about are  social entrepreneurship, systems thinking, health/community health, business model development, personal development, effective teams, and more.

Thank you Maggie Knight – and good luck!

By | RADIUS Edu, RADIUS Lab, RADIUS Ventures | No Comments

We’re sad (for us!) and happy (for her!) to announce that the inimitable Maggie Knight is leaving the RADIUS team at the end of her contract this month, to take on a new challenge working with the BC Civil Liberties Association. For anyone that knows Maggie’s passion, integrity and intelligence, and the deep social justice streak that runs to her core, their work to “…preserve, defend, maintain and extend civil liberties and human rights in Canada” is about to get a serious boost.

Maggie joined RADIUS at a time when we were doubling our budget and programming for the second year in a row, and showing strains at the seams as we raced to keep up. Her original brief was to help stabilize our core operations, and position us for more sustainable growth. She did this and much more. In her time here she brought tighter processes to our organization, a rhythm to our team’s functioning, a powerful and consistent voice to our communications, and heart and soul to the RADIUS community.

She quickly became the driving force of how we work as a team and we will miss her dearly – we’re also deeply thankful as her work to entrench all of the above has left us far more capable of navigating these inevitable transitions in a growing organization.

Maggie is loved by many, so we thought we’d share a few thoughts from others she’s worked with in our community! Read More

SFU Change Lab Course – FALL 2015

By | Accelerator, Change Lab, RADIUS Edu, Social Innovation | No Comments


Then Change Lab is for you!

Change Lab is a “once in a degree” 7 credit experience (credit for BUS 453 and ENV 495) with lots of time for exploration, field trips, mentorship, hands on work time, and guest speakers and experts. You decide what direction to take your learning and at the end of this intensive experience you will have designed and implemented a social change project or  social impact venture.

Check out this awesome video from a past student!



Please continue to check RADIUS and Faculty of Environment webpages for announcements related to a 2016 offering.

 Further questions should be directed to instructors Dan Burns and Shawn Smith at <>


Nov 6th Developmental Evaluation Workshop in Vancouver!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Is your organization interested in developmental evaluation? Are you considering building developmental evaluation into your next project?

If so, you may be interested in attending an upcoming Introduction to Innoweave Developmental Evaluation workshop, delivered by  Innoweave in partnership with RADIUS on Thursday, November 6th, 2014 in Vancouver.

This workshop is designed to help leadership teams of  2-4 (including board members) start to:

  • Further explore the purpose and major characteristics of developmental evaluation

  • Assess the suitability of their intervention and the readiness of their organization to using developmental evaluation

  • Develop a preliminary scope of work for their developmental evaluation initiative.

  • Identify possible next steps for developing a budget and implementing developmental evaluation.

  • Develop a plan for success

The Innoweave Developmental Evaluation workshop builds on the Innoweave Introduction to Developmental Evaluation webinar. You are encouraged to view this webinar online prior to submitting your application to the workshop.

Event details:

  • When: Thursday, November 6th, 2014, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

  • Where: Vancouver, BC

  • Cost: $150 for teams of 2-4 (payment details will be forwarded upon acceptance to the workshop).

  • Deadline: Applications are due by Friday, October 17th, 2014. Space is limited. Successful applicants will be notified by Tuesday, October 24th, 2014.

To learn more and apply for this workshop, please clickhere. Only one application form per team is required.

Participating organizations will also be eligible to apply for a small implementation grant in January 2015 to engage a coach to help them with development following the workshop. To learn more about Innoweave Implementation Grants, click here.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

The RADIUS and Innoweave Teams

Canadian Responsible Investment Conference Tickets (free!)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Interested in the Canadian Responsible Investment Conference being held in Vancouver June 17-19? Are you a student or recent grad that can’t afford to go? Please see the announcement below from our friends at – note submissions are due on the 3rd!


Special opportunity to get free tickets for the Canadian Responsible Investment Conference 2013 is pleased to announce that there are free tickets available for university students and recent graduates for the Canadian Responsible Investment Conference 2013 taking place from June 17-19, 2013 in Vancouver!

See the exciting conference agenda at

We have a limited number of tickets available for the winners of a writing competition.

How to win a free ticket

Simply write a short passage explaining what responsible investing means for Canada’s social and economic prosperity, and how you hope to get involved. Please submit your response no later than Monday, June 3 to

The best responses, to be adjudged by a panel, will win a pass to the full conference (travel and lodging not included) and be invited to sit at a special table with SRI professionals at the conference gala dinner on Tuesday, June 18. Please see guidelines below!


  • Deadline: Monday, June 3 at 5:00 PM EDT
  • Length: 250 – 500 words
  • Submission must be in document format (.doc or .docx), with the font Times New Roman and 12pt font size.


Please respond to the following question:

What does responsible investment mean for Canada’s social and environmental prosperity? How do you hope to get involved?

Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Quality and clarity of writing
  • Your level of understanding and knowledge regarding responsible investment
  • Relevance of the Canadian Responsible Investment Conference 2013 to your professional development (How will attending the conference support your career aspirations?)

These tickets are being provided in order to engage the next generation of talent in responsible investing.

Supplementary Information

In the email that you send, please indicate the following:

  • Name
  • University
  • Program
  • Expected year of graduation (may be 2013, if you graduated this year)
  • Any relevant extracurricular activities (no more than three lines)

 Note: Selected submissions may be posted on as part of the coverage of the Canadian Responsible Investment Conference 2013. By making a submission, you consent to allowing to post your submission.

Ideas @ Beedie

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Check out the latest edition of Ideas @ Beedie – the Research and Industry Impact magazine from the Beedie School of Business. This issue features stories on David Dunne and the Active Design approach he brings to RADIUS, and RADIUS Venture Fusion Kitchen co-founder Chantelle Buffie!

PDF link here – Ideas @ Beedie

Let us know what you think – @RADIUS_SFU

Opportunity – Seeking RADIUS Ventures Lead

By | RADIUS Ventures | No Comments

RADIUS is seeking a lead for our RADIUS Ventures program!

Co-funded by Vancity Credit Union and the Beedie School of Business, RADIUS Ventures provides advisory support and services to the best and brightest emerging social ventures in British Columbia. Our mission is to nurture rising entrepreneurial talent, seed the ecosystem with high potential social ventures, and help maximize the collective impact of entrepreneurs, investors, and support organizations in British Columbia.


Download RADIUS Ventures Consultant Job Description

Apply with short cover letter and CV to Shawn Smith (

While we’re accepting applications and interviewing on a rolling basis, we will consider all applicants until at least May 31st.

How Social Innovation Can Build a Better British Columbia

By | Social Innovation | No Comments

Check out this new report from the BC Partners for Social Impact, highlighting how social innovation can build a better British Columbia:

How Social Innovation Can Build a Better British Columbia

RADIUS Director Shawn Smith and ‘Mentors in Residence’ Sean Peters and David Cameron are all active participants in the BC Partners for Social Impact community, particularly focused on its intersections with education, social finance and emerging leaders in social innovation.

For more info on BC Partners for Social Impact and social innovation in BC, check out



Launching the 2013 SFU Social Venture Accelerator!

By | Accelerator | No Comments

We here at RADIUS, with our partners Vancity Credit Union, have just launched the second cohort of the SFU Social Venture Accelerator. We’ll be having each team share their journey with you here as they refine their models, talk to customers, and get their ideas into the market this summer. First posts will be up next week, with teams asked to talk about their ideas and goals in the program, and their lessons learned from week 1.

More on the program below:

Presented by RADIUS, in partnership with Vancity, the SFU Social Venture Accelerator acts as a bridge between university and the real world, working with students to build and test high impact social venture ideas. The initiative helps entrepreneurially-minded students move their concepts towards reality and develop projects that will help address social, environmental, and economic challenges.

Students either enter as individuals or teams with an idea in place, or join a team with an idea before the class starts. They work to generate a feasible business model, spend lots of time with customers to make sure they build something people will actually pay for, and understand their impact so they create something that matters.


1. Learn what it takes to build and launch a social venture start-up. We cover business design and modelling skills, customer development, social impact considerations, and develop the start-up skills required to launch.

2. Grow entrepreneurs, not just ventures. Participants gain skills, knowledge and experience to help them in this and future ventures. Workshops, case studies, models, mentors and guest speakers help students learn how to waste less time and money in figuring out if their idea can really work.

Course Organization

Sessions have a lab-like feel, with a mix of “master class” guest lectures, case studies, mentor sessions and significant class time to work on ventures. Each team has at least one dedicated mentor, and exposure to experts, investors and entrepreneurs who will provide feedback and guidance. Each week pushes teams out of the classroom to talk to customers, partners and experts – teams don’t just think about business model components, but test assumptions about them and evolve their ideas week to week. They report on their lessons learned each week, and wrap up the program with a pitch event in front of students, community members, and potential funders.

Each team receives $300 in funding on day one, and the final week includes pitches where the top 3 teams are eligible for funding up to $3000.

“SVA is a valuable initiative,” says Andy Broderick, vice president of community investment with Vancity. “Vancity invests in social enterprise and social venture because it supports our vision of redefining wealth, blending financial, social and environmental returns for our members and their communities. Supporting students who have an appetite for turning social ideas into social enterprises is in line with how we are trying to use credit to accelerate community impact.”



EnabledLife is an online community for people with disabilities, their families and their care providers to learn, share and collaborate with each other to solve day-to-day problems. The online community is targeted towards people with any disability, and members can post questions and provide answers to posts by other members. This will allow people with disabilities to have a central platform to find the relevant information they need, which will help save  time and effort, therefore increasing their productivity and independence.

Optima Institute

Optima Institute is an alternative education model for grade 11&12 students. It gives students technical knowledge in a particular field over 2 years while they finish their high school curriculum online or through correspondence. They will also have industry mentors who will help them develop soft skills such as communication, leadership, creative thinking etc. As they learn the technical skills, they will also receive entrepreneurial training by creating projects based on the technical learning.


Trekkr is a web and mobile platform that incentivizes physical activity by allowing users to engage in activities that they may not be able to participate in otherwise due to potential time, locale, and monetary limitations; users will be able to tangibly map a goal (such as running from Vancouver to Calgary or climbing Mount Everest), track their daily progress, and receive visual updates/feedback throughout the journey. It also acts as fundraising platform that allows users (or larger groups) to organize events and accept pledges or donations. The goal is to create a social platform that connects donors and fundraisers by allowing them to join together on a virtual journey.

Dragonfly Project

The Dragonfly Project is building a community of women through an innovative, accessible learning platform. Our program encourages dialogue on issues faced by women around the globe, while inspiring confidence and empowerment in our teachers and learners.


Refilamer is concerned with the utilization of the plastic waste, accumulated due to a rapid prototyping with 3D printing technology. Our solution allows users to recycle bad prototypes and other plastic waste back into valuable filament for 3D printer. The service will bring down costs of the filament and reduce environmental impact from 3D printing.


Daycarepedia is building a daycare rating and discovery app for families, that also allows them to keep better tabs on their children throughout the day in a premium model.