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Change Lab

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Paola Ardiles: Practitioner-scholar, Social Trailblazer & Health Change Lab Instructor

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Paola Ardiles was recently appointed a Continuing Lecturer, Social Innovation, Health and Community Partnerships with SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences. RADIUS is thrilled to continue working with Paola, and to welcome her to our team of instructors for the Fall 2018 Health Change Lab!

Paola co-developed the original Health Change Lab curriculum in 2016 and has since been involved as a valued mentor and teacher to our cohort participants.  As a practitioner-scholar, Paola brings an interdisciplinary, collaborative, systems-focused approach to community health into the classroom.

Holding a BSc (hons) in Psychology, a Master of Health Science and a Masters of Business Administration, Paola has dedicated her academic career and community work to exploring the complex systems and structures that impact health and well-being. Paola is the Founder of Bridge for Health, a startup co-operative committed to social innovation for improving well-being. Over the past year, Paola has been recognized as one of TD Bank’s 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians and also received a 2017 Surrey Board of Trade Women in Business award in the Social Trailblazer Category.

Paola will be joining experienced Beedie School of Business instructors Shawn Smith and Tamara Connell to co-deliver Health Change Lab from September to December 2018. An experiential,  once-in-a-degree studio program, Health Change Lab invites SFU undergraduate students to investigate a real social, economic, or environmental challenge that impacts community health. Interdisciplinary student teams each build a creative intervention to a particular challenge and present their ideas to community influencers – all in just 13 weeks.

Applications for Health Change Lab are accepted on a rolling basis until the program is full. The Round 2 deadline is April 30th, 2018. Find program details at http://www.radiussfu.com/fall-2018-change-lab-undergrads-apply-now/

SFU Students: Apply now to Join the Health Change Lab Fall 2018 Cohort!

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Applications for Health Change Lab are reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis until the program is full. Please note that the Round 2 deadline has been extended to Tuesday May 22nd, 2018.



What is Change Lab?

Change Lab programs have been running at SFU since 2011. These unique, once-in-a-degree studio programs are intensive opportunities to hone your skills at developing practical solutions to real-world challenges.

The Spring 2018 Civic Innovation Change Lab cohort has just wrapped up, and Fall 2018 Health Change Lab applications are now being accepted.

Health Change Lab Schedule and Logistics

  • Studio days: Tuesdays 11:30am – 5:20pm at SFU Surrey.
  • Project coaching: Thursdays 2:30pm – 5:20pm at the RADIUS Social Innovation Lab (200-308 West Hastings Street, Vancouver).
  • Retreat: There is a day-long offsite retreat on September 11, expenses covered.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
 

ChangeLab Studio Day

(11:30am – 5:20pm)

 @ SFU Surrey

     
   

Project Coaching

(2:30pm- 5:20pm)

 @ RADIUS

(downtown Vancouver) 

 

What will you learn and do?

In Health Change Lab, participants work in interdisciplinary teams to investigate a community health-related challenge. Then, they develop and test an innovative, venture-based response. Teams will present to partner panels for feedback mid term and be given the opportunity to connect with community and City partners and leaders to help build their ideas with the possibility of seeing them proceed in the real world.

Sessions are a mix of hands on workshops, coaching by instructors and experts, limited content lectures, guest speakers, and open work time in your teams to advance your ideas.

Personal learning and leadership:

Ideal Change Lab students come in with keen curiosity and a willingness to explore and deepen their own leadership skills. Individual reflection and journaling are part of the course. Participants will be challenged to both give and receive feedback from peers and instructors. Openness, vulnerability, and the ability to listen deeply are highly valued.

The workload:

Commensurate with 10 credits, you should expect this to be an intensive experience. 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.

The content:

Some of the topics you will learn about are social entrepreneurship, systems thinking, public health and community health issues pertinent to Surrey, determinants of health, business model development, personal development, effective teams, and more.

The specific credits that you are awarded are:

  • BUS 453 (Sustainable Innovations) – 3 credits
  • BUS 494 (Design for Innovation) – 3 credits
  • HCSI 495 (Applied Health Sciences Project) – 4 credits

Health Change Lab 2018 Instructors

This course is co-taught by experienced instructors Shawn Smith (BUS), Tamara Connell (BUS), and Paola Ardiles (HSCI). Mentors, speakers, and project partners are sourced through our extensive networks.

The cohort

You do not need any past business or health experience to thrive in this course! Expect your changemaking peers to bring a variety of perspectives from departments and faculties across the university, a breadth of experience from their own lives, and a shared passion for social and environmental issues.

While we value experience in social change, leadership and project creation of all sorts, we also encourage anyone excited about the description here to consider applying.

Prerequisites

Note: certain prerequisites may be waived at discretion of instructors in extenuating circumstances:

  • 60 credits
  • 2.67 GPA
  • Some relevant work or volunteer experience

How to apply to Health Change Lab 2018

If the above description motivates you to apply, please email change-lab@sfu.ca with the following three documents in one PDF file (if possible):

  • A 500-word letter of motivation describing your interest in this program;
  • An unofficial copy of your transcripts; and
  • A copy of your resume/CV to outline your relevant work and volunteer experience.

From Makerspace Prototypes to Mental Health Research: An interview with student changemaker Benta Cheng

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Recent Health Change Lab alumna, Benta Cheng, sat down with Zoya Jiwa from the RADIUS team to share how her program experiences inspired her to participate in the Map the System Challenge: an international research competition that asks students to think differently about social change. The team registration deadline for Map the System is Monday January 22nd. Find details here!

ZJ: How did you hear about Change Lab, and what inspired you to apply?

BC: When I first heard of Health Change Lab (HCL), it was from a friend and alumnus from the HCL cohort a year prior. From our discussions, I immediately understood that HCL would be a breath of fresh air from my typical undergraduate lectures. In partnership with Fraser Health and the City of Surrey, HCL brings together students from different faculties to define and propose prototypes to address a community problem within the Surrey context. I was drawn to the program since it seemed experiential, challenging, and most importantly, like it would be an opportunity to consolidate my learning into a community based project with an interdisciplinary team of students. After four years as a Health Science student, I was excited to work alongside students from other faculties, all bringing their own perspectives and strengths. The mention of “Change” was also both exciting and humbling—to think that I would be able to work with closely with a community to instill positive change through a capstone project left me eager to apply and begin.

ZJ: What were your expectations going into the program?

BC: As the semester progressed, I uncovered surprising discrepancies from my initial impressions. The ‘Change’  in Health Change Lab was referring to positive change within myself. The professors wanted to see us growing fast and failing fast. Unconventionally, failing and respectful conflict was encouraged and not looked down upon. My peers and professors created such a safe space for me to improve my public speaking, learn to give constructive and respectful criticism, build effective business skills, and so much more. My classmates supported one another through our prototyping and pivots as we navigated our respective problem areas. Overall, I quickly came to understand that the magnitude of my self-improvement and growth would determine my success in the course.

ZJ: Sounds like a transformational realization early on in the program! Who was on your team?

BC: My team consisted of an International Studies student, an IAT student, and two Health Sciences students (including myself). Although our angles were different, we came together with an initial passion for youth mental health.

ZJ: What idea did you start with, and what ended up being your final project?  

BC: After numerous expert and user interviews, coupled with mind maps and root cause analyses galore, we realized there were a number of seemingly indirect but effective approaches to support young people as they grappled with becoming an adult, navigating their life post-secondary school, landing that first job, among other struggles!


Our final prototype was a Maker School for youth adults to engage with one another and with mentors through future-ready skill building. The Maker School idea is a union between a traditional Makerspace and a youth-centered education space. This space wouldn’t just be for hobbyists, but also for young people who wanted to try their hand at making things in a low-commitment space. 

ZJ: Wow, what a journey! What was it like to present your final project and wrap up the program?

BC: During our final presentation, each team proudly presented their final prototypes in front of a panel consisting of business professionals, City of Surrey representatives, and Fraser Health delegates. As nerve-wracking as it was, seeing the final product and how far we had all come in the semester was extremely fulfilling.

During our last class, there was a sense of melancholy as we sat in a circle with our instructors watching Space Kittens on YouTube and feasting on potluck food. One by one, we shared our final thoughts about the course and how we’ve changed and grown. There were tears, laughter, and lots of hugging. It was an honour to how my peers were actively working on and overcoming their deepest struggles. I mean, was this course hard? Definitely. My head was in a cloud the whole semester and I never felt like I was on stable ground. However, I truly believe that every undergraduate student should experience something like this. You won’t regret it.


ZJ: In what ways
did the lessons you learned in Health Change Lab inspire you to register for Map the System?

BC: Besides introducing and instilling the mental tools necessary to understand and navigate a problem area, the interdisciplinary nature of Health Change Lab also introduced new perspectives to understanding the system where the problem lives. Now, when I look at a problem, instead of feeling “stuck” or overwhelmed, I can unpack and dive deep into potential solution areas, and that is extremely exciting.

ZJ: What is your team researching though the Map the System Challenge? 

BC: This is very preliminary, but our team is exploring mental health outcomes (whether this is self-perceived or by clinical diagnosis is still in question) in children of first generation immigrants living in the Greater Vancouver area. This problem space is important to me, firstly, because I am a child of two immigrant parents, but also because of the conversations I’ve had with people in my community about the unique set of struggles they face with respect to family cohesion, cultural displacement, and internalizing the struggles of their parents. My team and I are looking forward to learning more about this population.

ZJ: What advice would you offer other students who are curious about changemaking at SFU?

BC: To any student who wants to engage in changemaking, you’ve already taken the first step through being curious! There are many opportunities to engage in changemaking at SFU if you look for them. In fact, every year (every month, even!), more opportunities become available. Reach out to people you admire – they could be professors, peers, or just someone you define as a changemaker. Most people are very open to coffee or a phone call.  Since you’re here, check out the RADIUS website! Finally, don’t be afraid to seek experiences offered from other faculties as well.


A warm thank-you to Benta for sharing her experiences! We wish her team all the best with participating in the Map the System Challenge.

Welcome to the 2018 Civic Innovation Change Lab Cohort!

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Civic Innovation Change Lab is a once-in-a-degree immersive experiential learning program. Undergraduate students from a variety of academic disciplines – including Political Science, Health Science, Business, International Studies, Gender Studies, Sociology, and Resource and Environmental Management – come together to form interdisciplinary teams. Together, they investigate social, economic, and environmental challenges within the city of Vancouver, build a sustainable business model to creatively respond to it, and pitch their ideas to community influencers – all in just 13 weeks.

Co-hosted by RADIUS SFU, CityStudio, Semester in Dialogue, and the Beedie School of Business, Civic Innovation Change Lab is the newest addition to the Change Lab portfolio. Civic Innovation refers to a method that improves the lives of citizens, the functions of cities, the practice of citizenship, or the state of community affairs. This course weaves together advanced knowledge in Civic Issues, Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, with the core practices of Dialogue, Design Thinking, and Business Model Development to allow students to become capable of producing impactful social innovations in cities.  Instructors Tara Mahoney and Jeremy Stone will leverage their strong academic and professional backgrounds in civic issues to host this Change Lab cohort. They’ll be joined by many mentors and partners from across Vancouver. Change Lab programs are generously supported by Scott Shaw.

Without further ado, meet the first ever Civic Innovation Change Lab cohort! We are so excited to work with these emerging changemakers.

Eliane Bowden

Passionate about sustainable living and bringing people together, Eliane is most in her element when collaborating with other students or engaging with just about anyone. She is completing her fourth year at Simon Fraser University in Business Administration and is looking forward to expanding her studies to tackle civic challenges in Change Lab this spring. She is most excited to work with the cohort to bring forward new ideas to improve Vancouver’s communities.

Jordan Arnold

Jordan is a 4th year Political Science and International Studies student focusing on international law and human rights. He enjoys spending his free time volunteering as a peer educator and mentor to incoming first year and transfer university students. He is most excited to work with students from a variety of educational backgrounds to see how they can create new and innovative ways to address social problems together.

Alica Felgendreher

Alica is a fourth year student pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. She is particularly interested in the production of inequality, gender relations, poverty, welfare, and public policy. Having witnessed first-hand how social inequality and stigmatization prohibits marginalized individuals from accessing basic healthcare and social services within their community, she feels strongly about challenging the individualization of social problems. Alica is excited to collaborate with students from different disciplines who share her interest in improving the lives of vulnerable community members. She also looks forward to learning practical skills and strategies to create impactful change in her community.

Abby Ferris

Abby moved to Vancouver from Northern British Columbia five years ago to pursue nothing in particular. With time and good fortune, she collected experiences and connected with people that inspired and propelled her forward. Abby is passionate and empathetic about the people and world around her. With a keen interest in the subtle but meaningful interactions between people and environment, she hopes to pursue a career in which she can simultaneously promote human wellness and environmental justice in urban centres through design thinking.  Abby is sincerely excited for the opportunity Civic Innovation Change Lab presents: to collaborate and engage with people who share an interest in the world around them.

Sarah McBain

Sarah is committed to sustainability by promoting social equity and business that strives to meet the triple bottom line. Currently, Sarah is a BBA candidate at the Beedie School of Business, studying Sustainable Business and Psychology. Sarah plans to attend graduate school, where she will continue to focus on policy development
 and promotion of cost effective environmental initiatives. 
Having travelled extensively and studied at Lund University in Sweden, she approaches her career and her personal life from a global perspective. Sarah is eager to work in collaboration with committed, diverse, and hard working students who share the same goal of promoting social health and civic innovation.

Melissa Nelson

Melissa is a fourth year student pursuing her undergraduate degree in Communication with an extended minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.  She is currently working as the Communications Assistant at the Women’s Health Research Institute and enjoys learning new ways to harness the power of social media for change.  Melissa is excited to work with such a diverse group of students, and looks forward to discussing the future of AI!

Jessica Mayne

Jessica is in her third year of studies in the Bachelor of Business Administration program at SFU. She has interests in marketing, entrepreneurship, and supporting local businesses. Jessica is excited to combine her interests in business and community connection for Civic Innovation Change Lab! She hopes to diversify her skill set by learning from the several disciplines of her peers. Outside of SFU, Jessica is passionate about her work as a youth ministry coordinator at her church. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys skiing, salsa dancing and baking.

Tawanda Masawi

Tawanda is a member of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s Company of Young Professionals. He is a versatile global citizen who has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and the Middle East. He has a passion for emerging trends and technology. Tawanda is currently working towards gaining competency in the application of Blockchain technology to inter-organizational data management for financial firms and supply chain management. He is excited about Civic Innovation lab, as he hopes to bring people and technology together to support and design the next generation of city services.

Maya Schofield

Maya Schofield is beginning her third year of undergraduate studies at SFU. Maya believes that positive innovation is the culmination of a community of effort. For this reason, she is most looking forward to meeting and working with people who have diverse skill sets and forward-thinking attitudes towards tackling social problems in Vancouver. Maya is also excited to learn which issues are most concerning for the communities in which we will be working, and the approaches people within the
community believe should be applied in addressing these.

Sarah Smith

Originally from Victoria, BC,  Sarah Smith is a fourth year student at SFU. Completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology and a Legal Studies Certificate, she is looking forward to being challenged in a new focus that is different from her usual field of study. Following her graduation in April 2018, she will be pursuing further education in either a Juris Doctor program or graduate program in Policy Analysis. Her extra-curricular passions include sports and outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. In Civic Innovation Change Lab, she is most excited to build connections with team members of diverse backgrounds while working towards a common goal.

Adam Rossi

Adam is a fourth year Communication student with a particular interest in social freedoms and sustainable development through information technology. He believes that in our age of connectivity, all voices should be heard. A passion for responsible development drove Adam to participate in Civic Innovation Change Lab, where he is excited to be part of a creative environment that is engaging in social entrepreneurship. As a student getting ready to transition to the business world, he hopes to learn how to grow his ideas into vehicles for social change.

Nura Safaie

Nura is a fourth year student at Simon Fraser University studying Political Science with a focus on human rights and policy analysis. Outside of school, Nura is a member of the Surrey Youth Council and is currently working on various projects aiming to better the community and environment. Nura believes that the Civic Innovation Change Lab will allow her to gain more knowledge and hands on experience in community level initiatives. She is excited to meet new people and to begin working towards creative and sustainable solutions to real world problems.

Jocelyn Singh

Jocelyn is in her fourth year at SFU studying Resource and Environmental Management. Sustainable city development is a topic that she would like to focus her degree on, so she is eager to explore topics such as, social housing, community health, and green infrastructure through Civic Innovation Change Lab. She believes that this program will give her the exposure and hands on experience she needs to better understand the complexity of urban landscapes.

Kaiqi Yang

Kaiqi is an exchange student at SFU from Sciences Po in France. She has lived and studied in China, France, and Canada, and she loves to travel. Kaiqi is passionate about communicating with intelligent and inspiring minds from all over the world. She has great interests in political science and law. She is also an enthusiastic learner of languages and photography. She wishes to work as a lawyer in Public International Law in the future and contribute to the international community. She looks forward to meeting and working with the Civic Innovation Change Lab students while contributing to the community.

Queenie Tran

Queenie is your local East Van gal studying Public Health and Gerontology. She has a repository of working in the service sector in which she elevated mundane moments and turned them more than mediocre memories. In her leisure time, she enjoys practicing yoga, running senselessly on the streets, and discovering the affluent food scene in Vancouver. Queenie looks forward to exploring urban economic resilience in the city and how to foster further community engagement.

Rachel Wong

Rachel Wong is a Communication major and an International Studies minor with a keen interest in civic engagement, urban planning, and public space activation. Outside of the classroom, Rachel is also a radio host, writer, foodie, and a musician. She is excited for the hands-on experience that the Civic Innovation Change Lab will bring, as well as learning about how the future of work will impact our cities and urban spaces.

Saba Yassemi

Saba moved to Canada in 2011. After graduating from SFU with a
Bachelor of Sciences degree, she continued her co-op placement as
a Special Education Assistant (SEA) working with children with
special needs. As a long-term goal, she is considering a career in
coaching, with the intention of improving the quality of employment
in organizations who are challenged by business management issues.
She is excited to practice and acquire leadership skills through the
Civic Innovation Change Lab experience and meet mentors and team
members who will accompany her through this journey.

Health Change Lab Retreat: Moving from Individual Interests to Interdisciplinary Collaborations

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Applications are NOW OPEN for Health Change Lab, co-hosted by RADIUS, SFU Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Beedie School of Business,

By Health Change Lab alumna Stephanie Lam

It has hardly been one month since the Fall 2017 semester has started, and being enrolled in Health Change Lab has already inspired professional, academic, and personal development for my classmates and I. Initially, I felt anxious about my ability to be in an interdisciplinary and self-directed program. Nevertheless, I approached the term with excitement and hope to see what the semester would contribute to my learning journey. When the Health Change Lab cohort attended our first team retreat at Camp Alexandra, my nerves were immediately eased.

Following an early morning drive to White Rock, I arrived feeling calmed by the serene environment of Crescent Beach. From the start, it was clear that the retreat was designed to provide opportunities for peers to bond through a series of activities and workshops while providing a safe space to learn about ourselves.

At the beginning of the retreat, we all gathered around a fire pit. Upon the request of our instructors, each student brought an object that represents our motivation behind why we are interested in social change and community health. One by one, we presented our objects and dug deep to share the emotional and inspirational stories behind our current goals and future ambitions. As we sat around in a circle, it was amazing to see where all of my fellow classmates came from. As an interdisciplinary group of 21 individuals with varying backgrounds, it was amazing to see and feel that we were all connected as students who aspire to create positive change for the people around us.

Alongside sharing our personal objects and motivations, another challenging but illuminating activity was called the Super Social Vision Portal, which took place on Crescent Beach itself. As we walked along the sandy beach and took in vast views of the sea, we engaged in an activity that helped us practice deep listening, idea flow, and envisioning of our futures. Our instructor asked us to situate ourselves one year from now, as if we could time travel to September 2018. We spoke to 3 different partners about how and what we wanted our year to look like. The only catch was that we had to talk to each partner for 5 minutes, and they weren’t allowed to say or acknowledge anything that we said. Not only was it difficult for a group of young students to speak for 5 minutes straight about their futures, but talking to someone who couldn’t respond to us or offer feedback was interesting to say the least. This activity allowed me to fully engage and listen to my partner’s words. I couldn’t interrupt, share my thoughts, or lead the discussion towards a different trajectory. Instead, I discovered how important it is  to let people be in flow with their thoughts and ideas to engage in genuine and authentic conversations. The activity taught me a valuable lesson in improving my listening skills with my colleagues, friends, and family.

I look forward to the upcoming months, where I will collaborate with my fellow student changemakers to explore and propose interventions to improve community health within the City of Surrey!

 

Welcome new Change Lab Instructors!

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The first-ever Civic Innovation Change Lab is set to be offered during the Spring 2018 term. This cohort of students will be the 10th SFU Change Lab cohort, joining alumni from across various faculties and departments at SFU.

To match the fantastic calibre of students who take the Change Lab programs, we scoured the city for interested Instructors with the most impressive and relevant skill sets, attributes, and charm. After an extensive process, we’re thrilled to be able to officially welcome Jeremy and Tara to the Change Lab team:

Jeremy Stone

Jeremy has 15 years of community economic development experience with various urban and rural communities in the US and Canada. He specializes in economic resilience, microfinance, social enterprise, and gentrification. Jeremy has a BA in Anthropology and a Master of Public Administration from New York University, focusing on International Economic Development.

Tara Mahoney

Tara Mahoney is a PhD candidate in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Using practice-based research, her work examines how amateur cultural and media production operates as a form of participatory politics in contemporary society. She is also the creative director of Gen Why Media, a non-profit creative agency focused producing public art, media and events for social issues.

We’re already getting our hands dirty finalizing planning for the Spring and can’t way to deliver this first of its kind program in Vancouver.

SFU Change Lab – An overview

Change Lab programs have been running at SFU since 2011. These unique, once-in-a-degree studio programs are intensive opportunities to hone your skills at developing practical solutions to real-world challenges. Over the course of a term, student groups work to explore and specify a user-identified problem, ideate, prototype and test possible solutions, and finally construct a business model around the proposed solution.

Sessions are a mix of hands on workshops, coaching by instructors and experts, limited content lectures, guest speakers, and open work time in teams to go out into the community to learn and test.

The fall 2017 Health Change Lab cohort is currently in session, and the spring 2018 Civic Innovation Change Lab is accepting applications until October 15, 2017.

The Civic Innovation Change Lab

Civic Innovation Change Lab is the newest addition to the Change Lab portfolio. Civic Innovation refers to a method that improves the lives of citizens, the functions of cities, the practice of citizenship, or the state of community affairs. This course weaves together advanced knowledge in Civic Issues, Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, with the core practices of Dialogue, Design Thinking, and Business Model Development to allow students to become capable of producing impactful social innovations in cities.

The Civic Innovation Change Lab is a 9-credit experience co-hosted by SFU Beedie, RADIUS SFU, CityStudio Vancouver, and SFU Semester in Dialogue. Local partners include the City of Vancouver and a network of leading community organizations. Change Lab is generously supported by Scott Shaw and SFU Innovates.

Please join us in welcoming Jeremy and Tara to the Change Lab team!

For SFU students interested in taking this unique experience during the Spring 2018 term, please learn more about the opportunity and apply by October 15th.

CIVIC INNOVATION CHANGE LAB

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What is Civic Innovation Change Lab?

Change Lab programs have been running at SFU since 2011. These unique, once-in-a-degree studio programs are intensive opportunities to hone your skills at developing practical solutions to real-world challenges.

Civic Innovation Change Lab is the newest addition to the Change Lab portfolio. Civic Innovation refers to a method that improves the lives of citizens, the functions of cities, the practice of citizenship, or the state of community affairs. This course weaves together advanced knowledge in Civic Issues, Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, with the core practices of Dialogue, Design Thinking, and Business Model Development to allow students to become capable of producing impactful social innovations in cities.

Urban Economic Resilience

The 2018 cohorts will focus on the theme of Urban Economic Resilience. The economy is more than just business: it represents the full breadth of livelihood strategies that our residents pursue on a daily basis. However, many urban livelihoods are increasingly vulnerable to a wide array of challenges such as automation and AI, gentrification, climate change, “Uberization”, and unjust social policies. This rapidly changing landscape is dramatically altering how people of all classes and backgrounds plan for and meet their basic needs, which in turn exacerbates issues such as gender and racial inequality, social isolation, generational ineqity, and the growing gap between the rich and poor.

Students projects will respond to these and explore community-orientated solutions that engage citizens and build local resilience. Topics and questions that students are encouraged to consider within the theme of Urban Economic Resilience include:

1)     The Future of Work:  What is the future of employment and business creation? What is the connection between vulnerability, stability, and the gig economy? How do we keep young people in the city? How do we create diverse and vibrant work opportunities for all residents?

2)     Economic Segregation and Isolation:  How do we better integrate vulnerable populations and those with barriers into the changing economy? How do we provide livelihood opportunities for people who may not fit within traditional work categories and structures?

3)     Entrepreneurial Resilience:  How do we protect the fabric of our commercial districts from threats like gentrification and climate change? How do we maintain the livelihood functions of neighborhood businesses for surrounding residents?

The Civic Innovation Change Lab is co-hosted by SFU BeedieRADIUS SFUCityStudio Vancouver, and SFU Semester in Dialogue. Local partners include the City of Vancouver and a network of leading community organizations. Change Lab is generously supported by Scott Shaw.

What will you learn and do?

Participants work in teams to understand a Civic Innovation-related challenge as presented by City of Vancouver staff at CityStudio Vancouver, then develop and test an innovative, venture-based response. Teams will present to partner panels for feedback mid term, and be given the opportunity to connect with community and City partners and leaders to help build ideas connected to the realities of our communities, and possibly to see those ideas proceed in the real world. Sessions are a mix of hands on workshops, coaching by instructors and experts, limited content lectures, guest speakers, and open work time in your teams to advance your ideas.

Personal learning and leadership:

Ideal Change Lab students come in with keen curiosity and a willingness to explore and deepen their own leadership skills. Individual reflection and journaling are part of the course. Participants will be challenged to both give and receive feedback from peers and instructors. Openness, vulnerability, and the ability to listen deeply are highly valued.

The workload:

Commensurate with 9 credits, you should expect this to be an intensive experience. Many students have described the program 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.

The content:

Some of the topics you will learn about are social entrepreneurship, systems thinking, civic issues, public and user engagement, dialogue, business model development, personal development, effective teams, and more.

The specific credits that you are awarded are:

  • BUS 453 (Sustainable Innovation) – 3 credits
  • BUS 494 (Iteration and Prototyping) – 3 credits
  • DIAL 461 (Field Placement in Dialogue & Engagement) – 3 credits

The cohort

You do not need any past business or civic innovation experience to thrive in this course. Expect your changemaking peers to bring a variety of perspectives from departments and faculties across the university, a breadth of experience from their own lives, and a shared passion for social and environmental issues.

While we value experience in social change, leadership and project creation of all sorts, we also encourage anyone excited about the description here to consider applying.

Pre-requisites (may be waived at discretion of instructors in extenuating circumstances):

  • 60 credits
  • 2.67 GPA
  • Some relevant work or volunteer experience

Student Blog | Weekend Journey Through the Quilotoa Loop

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Guest blogger Shanae Atkinson is a student in the Summer 2017 semester of Change Lab International: Ecuador – a unique, interdisciplinary program in global social entrepreneurship delivered by RADIUS, the Beedie School of Business, Impaqto Quito and Insight Global Education

Last weekend four of us went on a 2 day trek in the Andes called the Quilotoa Loop. We had planned to walk 3 portions of the trail, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, we left later in the day and ran out of daylight. Instead of hiking from Sigchos to Isinlivi, we took an unofficial taxi in the form of a pickup truck.  It was really fun to see the locals who were also using this mode of transportation. There was this cute elderly lady who stood up and waved at passerby’s for a good long portion of the journey.

We ended up arriving just in time for dinner at the nicest hostel on the loop, Llu Llu Llama. Even on such short notice they were able to find us rooms and serve us dinner, despite our dietary restrictions (2 vegetarians and 1 vegan).

Luckily for us, their power had gone out earlier in the day, so spa time had been postponed until after dinner! After a fairly long day of travel, albeit in vehicles, the jacuzzi was very welcomed.

The next morning, we packed up before 8 am and headed out right after breakfast. We were the first group to leave the hostel, but because we got lost, we were quickly overtaken by the others.

The first part of the journey was absolutely beautiful. We descended into a deep valley with large vibrant green hills surrounding it. We walked past many farms as we trekked alongside the river. A horse even tried to gnaw on my arm. We crossed the river on the best giant log bridge I’ve ever seen. Some of us also crossed a rotting suspension bridge for fun! But soon we were faced with the knowledge that everything that goes down must come back up. In this case, at a very steep grade. The resulting exertion as we climbed out of the canyon made the previous part of the trek seem like a cake walk in comparison.

Once out of the canyon, we were met with an absolutely amazing view of the valley. The rest of the journey to Chugchilán proved to be far less difficult, though also less interesting. Having walked 12.4 km by this point, we were delighted to reach the hostel and take a nap. The slight increase in elevation from Isinlivi to Chugchilán created a large change in temperature and we were pleased to find that Cloud Forest Hostel had warm fluffy sheets and many blankets to keep warm. The following morning, we were nearly the last to leave the hostel, as many of our friends had cheated and eaten breakfast early. We began with a quick descent into a valley followed by an even faster ascent out of the valley leading us to a farm. The owners of the farm seemed pretty used to this situation and very quickly sent two adorable small children to guide us to the rest of the trail. We unloaded much of our candy onto the children to express our gratitude (only partially because it was heavy and we didn’t want to carry it).

Next, we took a bit of a wrong turn, but thanks to the wonderful locals who didn’t get angry when we were trespassing (by accident), we were quickly given the right directions and sent on our way (once again parting with the heavy candy). The next part of the hike was a slow climb up many switchbacks to the rim of Quilotoa- where we were met with an absolutely phenomenal view and a great sense of fulfillment. I highly recommend this hike as it allows you to visit areas that would otherwise be very nearly inaccessible and to see the agricultural practices of the Andes. We saw cows, sheep, the occasional goats, and some alpacas or llamas, I’m still not sure which. We met a friendly donkey who used its body to do the equivalent of “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” when they could get some great neck rubs from us. All in all, a great experience!

Welcome the Health Change Lab 2017 Cohort!

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Health Change Lab is a once-in-a-degree immersive experiential learning course. Undergraduate students from a variety of academic disciplines – including Interactive Arts and Technology, Health Sciences, International Studies, Kinesiology, Behavioural Neuroscience, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and Business – come together to form interdisciplinary teams. Together, they investigate a local social problem, build a business model to creatively respond to it, and pitch their ideas to community influencers – all in just 13 weeks.

Hosted by RADIUS SFU, the Beedie School of Business, and SFU Health Sciences, Health Change Lab students collaborate with program partners such as Fraser Health and the City of Surrey on issues that are pertinent to Surrey. Students learn about social entrepreneurship, systems thinking, determinants of health, personal development, and effective team dynamics (to name just a few topics covered). Experienced instructors Shawn Smith (BUS), Tamara Connell (BUS), and Paola Ardiles (HSCI) leverage their networks to bring in mentors and partners who specialize in chronic disease prevention, food security, active transportation, design thinking, prototyping, storytelling and presentation skills. Health Change Lab is one in a series of Change Lab courses, including Change Lab Ecuador and an upcoming Civic Innovation Change Lab in Spring 2018. Change Lab programs are generously supported by Scott Shaw.

Without further ado, meet the Fall 2017 Health Change Lab Cohort! We are so excited to work with these emerging changemakers.

Demetra Barbacuta

Demetra is a fourth-year student obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Health Sciences, an intended minor in Legal Studies, and a certificate in Health Ethics. She loves helping others, which has driven her to pursue a career in healthcare. She hopes to work within health policy, coming up with innovative health solutions to pressing challenges. Demetra is excited to learn about social entrepreneurship and how the power of new ideas can tackle current health issues; she believes that the young minds of today contain so many ideas that can create a social impact. In her downtime, Demetra likes to hike, tap dance, and occasionally binge-watch a good show on Netflix.

Benta Cheng

An avid enthusiast of ideas, people, and sunny days, Benta is looking forward to unearthing thoughtful and enriching conversations with her Health Change Lab peers this fall. She is currently pursuing a BSc in Health Sciences with a concentration in Population and Quantitative health. Benta’s academic interests lie within (but are certainly not limited to) the global burden of HIV/AIDS on youth, and GIS and its application in epidemiology and access to health services.

TK Chisvo

TK is a business student with a passion for social entrepreneurship. He enjoys collaborating with students with diverse experiences to tackle problems that are evident in today’s world. TK looks forward to bettering his understanding of the issues affecting the health sector in British Columbia and furthering his knowledge on social entrepreneurship. He also looks forward to working with students and faculty to create innovative and sustainable solutions that will be efficient and effective.

Nazanin Boroumandzad

Nazanin Boroumandzad is a 2nd Bachelor Degree student at the school of Interactive Art and Technology at SFU. As a computer engineer with a passion for design, she is enthusiastic to learn about and work within intersecting fields such as health care and business during Change Lab. Nazanin is excited to explore and ideate creative solutions to promote community health in the city of Surrey with her peers.

Dion Chong

Dion is a fourth-year International Conflict & Security major with a Development & Sustainability minor. He’s had the opportunity to work in the healthcare sector and in health promotion across Canada, as well as in youth livelihood promotion in Francophone West Africa. With a passion for challenging social inequality, particularly for minority and marginalized populations, Dion is looking forward to the exchange of ideas and perspectives with the diverse group of students in this fall’s Health Change Lab cohort.

Katie Fajber

Katie is a fourth year Health Sciences student with a particular interest in social justice within public health. She was introduced to the idea of business as a way to intervene in health issues after interning at a small social enterprise in Kolkata, India that used a business model to support survivors of human trafficking. Katie is excited to work closely with a diverse group of students and professionals to build healthier communities.

Katrina Jang

Katrina is a fourth-year Health Science major and hopeful Kinesiology minor who loves to explore the intricacies of health and environment. After several years studying health sciences, including a year working abroad in the township of Mangun, her interests have gravitated towards: immersing herself in different cultures and perspectives; improving health accessibility in marginalized communities; and deciphering how diseases spread. She is excited to take away a business lens from Change Lab that she can apply to everyday life and health, as well as work with her peers and within the community.

Cody de Leijer

Cody is currently the President of Enactus SFU: a student-run non-profit organization that sees local challenges as opportunities to innovate and implement creative solutions. He has a passion for environmental and social sustainability throughout business. Cody is most excited to learn about the challenges facing our local community, collaborating with his peers on potential solutions, and implementing that those solutions to create a positive impact in the community.

Helen Huynh

Helen is a Business and Interactive Arts & Technology student with a concentration in Media Arts. Her involvement with the 2016 Oxford Global Challenge (now renamed ‘Map the Systems Challenge’) paired with her interest in mental health and public health persuaded her to apply to Health Change Lab with hopes of learning more about health care barriers in the community.  She is excited about the new learning environment that the program will provide and hopes to work with her peers to build tangible interventions that could serve the city of Surrey.

Kirsten Hinlopen

Kirsten is a Business Administration student, and is also completing a minor in Biomedical Physiology. She is most excited to learn about how she can combine her two interests in response to community health challenges and is also very excited to be working with like-minded individuals the Health Change Lab. Normally, people find her hanging out in her favourite room of any home – the kitchen! Kirsten loves spending time with her family and friends, preferably surrounded by some delicious food and fresh air.

Jesika Kula

Jesika Kula is a second-year SIAT student who volunteers her time serving as the Creative Director of the MetamorepHIIT Fitness Society: a non-profit organization that provides free fitness to the community. When she’s not volunteering, she enjoys travelling, hiking and working part-time as a lifeguard. Jesika is looking forward to participating in this years SFU Health Change Lab cohort, as she’s interested in learning hands-on approaches to addressing health issues within the city of Surrey.

Stephanie Lam

Stephanie Lam is entering her 4th year in the Faculty of Health Sciences in September. As the President of UNICEF SFU and Project Pulse Vancouver, she has a passion for humanitarian efforts that foster education among young people. In her free time, Stephanie likes to get involved with medical research and staying active. Stephanie is most excited to learn about the different ways business and entrepreneurship could be used to create positive change within health care.

Sophia Knowles

A creative, driven, and people-oriented individual, Sophia is most in her groove when collaborating with others who also intend to build healthier and more environmentally sustainable communities. Four years into her degree in Health Sciences, Sophia’s studies have been complemented by recent project development and management in clinical and academic research, outdoor, and classroom settings. Sophia looks forward to developing practical strategies in Health Change Lab that work towards one of her guiding beliefs: that the most effective and meaningful change is led by those directly affected. When Sophia is recharging, you’ll most likely find her holed up with her sewing machine or running one of her favourite mountainside trails.

Zeen Liu

Zeen has been an undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University since 2012. He is studying Kinesiology as his major. Throughout his degree, he has been helping people achieve their health and fitness goals in a variety of settings, including: rehabilitation, occupational support, performance, and general population. He currently works for the SFU Recreation Centre as a weight room supervisor and personal trainer. Zeen is looking forward to taking his kinesiology knowledge into to Health Change Lab to further his ambition of improving the physical and mental health of individuals on a community level.

Emma McFarlane

Emma is entering her fifth-year of undergraduate studies at SFU. Beginning her post-secondary education at Western University, she has woven her way through various areas of study, creating a unique collection of interests and skills. Now a declared Health Science and Business Administration student, Emma is excited to work with the diverse backgrounds of other students and their communities to explore social change in Health Change Lab. She hopes to one day play an influential role in developing public health projects and sees this opportunity as an incredible starting point. Born and raised on Vancouver’s North Shore, Emma loves to enjoy all her beautiful backyard has to offer and works hard to take any opportunity possible to see more of the world.

Josh McGee

Josh is a UX (User Experience) designer who has a passion for human-centered design: a process that starts with a specific group of people and ends with new solutions that are tailored to suit their needs. Josh enjoys discovering pain points through research, empathy, and countless different approaches and frameworks. He looks forward to Health Change Lab being multi-disciplinary. With this, he will get to see how students from different academic backgrounds tackle similar problems. He believes this will push him to develop new skill sets that he can later apply to future projects.

Henry Tran

Henry is in his fourth-year at SFU studying towards a major in Behavioural Neuroscience and a minor in English. This summer, he is doing an Undergraduate Student Research Award with Dr. Chris Kennedy from the Biology department. Outside of school, he works with the BC Cancer Agency and Royal Columbian Hospital supporting two projects: one for the Hereditary Cancer Program, and another for the Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Quality Improvement Project. Aside from all of that hustle and bustle, Henry is looking forward to learning about social entrepreneurship – and hopefully, be able to develop and implement a project with his peers that could create social change in the city of Surrey.

Wendy Zhang

Wendy is a fourth-year student at SFU studying Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. She is interested in biotechnology and pharmacy, and she hopes to bring a technical laboratory perspective to Health Change Lab. She is excited to learn about ways that students with interdisciplinary ideas and perspectives can come together to address challenging, systemic problems in the community.

Monique Sekhon

Monique Sekhon is pursuing her undergraduate studies in Population & Quantitative Health Sciences at SFU. Throughout her degree so far, Monique has gained many skills and has had the opportunity to conduct research and other work in interdisciplinary teams. Monique hopes to bring to her ideas, her experience in social enterprise, and her recognition of intersectional socioeconomic factors to the Health Change Lab. She is keen to work alongside current and future leaders in the health care field!

Nathan Lam

Nathan Lam is a fourth-year student at SFU’s School of Interactive Arts & Technology finishing his degree in design. He has worked in the industry as a User Experience Designer and understands the importance of looking beyond solely technological design to address real human needs and problems. He is passionate and driven by the interdisciplinary path he has taken, and he aspires to be a mentor to others inside and outside of his industry. He looks forward to sharing his knowledge, his unique perspectives, and his expertise with his peers in Health Change Lab this fall.

Nancy Nguyen

Nancy is a fifth-year Health Science student interested in health policy, community engagement, and working with marginalized communities to improve health and well-being. She is most excited to work collaboratively with other students and stakeholders to implement ideas that could address real-world challenges in the Surrey community.

We’re Hiring! SFU Change Lab – INSTRUCTOR

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SFU Change Lab INSTRUCTOR

Applications are now closed. Thank you for your interest.

RADIUS SFU is seeking an experienced, energetic program instructor for the Spring 2018 Semester. This position will hold primary responsibility for delivery of the Spring 2018 SFU Civic Innovation Change Lab program (a partnership of RADIUS SFU @ the Beedie School of Business, CityStudio Vancouver & SFU Centre for Dialogue) for 20 students.

The instructor will also be expected to attend several planning meetings, and shadow portions of the Fall 2017 Change Lab program, as part of preparation.

DURATION

Sept. 2017 – April 30th, 2018.

  • 3 days per week on average, for 13 week semester from January-April 2018, and
  • Approx. 6 planning meetings and/or shadowing sessions in Fall 2017.

LOCATION

Spring 2018 sessions will be split between:

  • CityStudio Vancouver (1800 Spyglass Place, Vancouver), and
  • RADIUS SFU, Charles Chang Innovation Centre (308 W Hastings, Vancouver).

COMPENSATION

$18,000- $21,000 commensurate with experience

ABOUT THE PARTNERS

Based at the Beedie School of Business, RADIUS SFU is Simon Fraser University’s social innovation lab and venture incubator. RADIUS operates a variety of programs in support of a vibrant social entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem at SFU and in Metro Vancouver, including the Change Lab program for SFU students.

Change Lab is a full term, cross-disciplinary and experiential studio program where students work with community to understand a social problem and develop a social venture response. In Spring 2018 the program is being run in conjunction with CityStudio.

http://www.radiussfu.com/

CityStudio Vancouver  is an experimentation and innovation hub for the City of Vancouver where City staff, experts and students from 6 universities and colleges co-create projects that support city programs. Since 2011, CityStudio has engaged over 3000 students, 113 faculty and 60 City of Vancouver staff, contributing 156 projects and over 75,000 hours of skills training and public sector innovation towards Vancouver’s Greenest City, Engaged City and Healthy City Strategies. These projects offer unconventional solutions to improve our city.

We are building the next generation of changemakers and active city builders.  Our 10 year vision is to create City Hall in the model of a “Teaching Hospital” with universities and other cities in the practice of collaborative city building.

http://citystudiovancouver.com/

Civic Innovation Change Lab, Spring 2018

A partnership between RADIUS SFU @ the Beedie School of Business, CityStudio Vancouver & SFU Centre for Dialogue

This position is responsible for leading the Spring 2018 term of the SFU Change Lab, titled “Civic Innovation Change Lab”.  Civic Innovation refers to a method that improves the lives of citizens, the functions of cities, the practice of citizenship, or the state of community affairs. This course brings together bright, innovative students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to collaborate with the City of Vancouver on civic problems and experiments.

The program relies upon an arc of learning based in Dialogue, Design Thinking, and Business Model Development, supported by knowledge of Civic Issues and Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship to allow students to become capable of producing impactful social innovations in cities. The curriculum delivery model is applied and experiential. The instructor will be responsible for delivering the core experience for the cohort throughout the term, and will be supported by supplemental modules delivered by others. Training and support will be provided.

Sessions are a mix of hands on workshops, coaching by instructors and experts, content delivery by the instructor, guest speakers, and open work time in teams to advance ideas. Participants work in teams to understand a Civic Innovation related challenge as presented by City of Vancouver staff at CityStudio, then develop and test an innovative, venture-based response. Teams will present to partner panels for feedback mid term, and be given the opportunity to connect with community and City partners and leaders to help build ideas connected to the realities of our communities, and possibly to see those ideas proceed in the real world. The experiential learning cycle is core to the course pedagogy, emphasizing iterative cycles of learning, action and reflection.

  • The course runs Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:30am – 3:30pm with additional project coaching sessions Thursday afternoons from 1:30pm – 4:30pm.
  • Portions of weekly studio time are open work periods for students, allowing instructors to utilize some class time for preparation and other course related work.

Term Length Challenge

The central framework for skills development and learning is a team based social venture design project, seeking to demonstrate how entrepreneurial approaches to civic challenges may unlock new possibilities. The instructor will be primarily responsible for ensuring students receive adequate and individualized project coaching for this work, but external mentors may be recruited as well.

Who we are looking for:

  • Confidence with design thinking and business model development aspects of course.
  • Experience as an instructor and with experience in, or keenly interested in, new ways of teaching in an experiential and studio-based environment.
  • Motivated by creating impact through the learning of students, and responding to their needs. Comfortable with student energy and activity in studio environment.
  • Equal parts confident, curious and collaborative.
  • Highly organized, detail oriented and self-directed.
  • High standard in time management, organization and communication.
  • Responsible, reliable and able to work in a dynamic and creative team environment.
  • Energetic, open-hearted and kind.
  • Comfortable with responding quickly to changing tasks and priorities.
  • Experience in Civic Innovation and/or Civic Engagement is an additional asset.
  • Masters degree or higher preferred

Responsibilities and Deliverables

  • Attendance at specific Fall 2017 Health Change Lab class sessions at SFU Surrey and/or RADIUS SFU to get a feel for how the program is run.
  • Participate in Civic Innovation Change Lab planning sessions during fall 2017.
  • Finalize design and delivery components in advance of the start of Spring 2018 Civic Innovation Change Lab.
  • Deliver curricular and experiential components of program (with support from additional speakers/presenters/facilitators for certain components).
  • Coach 20 students in 5 teams on social venture development projects over the term.
  • Liaise with external partners to support project development, with support of CityStudio and RADIUS SFU.
  • Provide 1-1 mentoring, and read and respond to individual student reflection journals.
  • Assist students with preparing for public presentations of outcomes.
  • Organize course documentation.
  • Complete grading and feedback, with support of CityStudio and RADIUS SFU staff.

Supervision and Communications

  • The Instructor will report to a RADIUS SFU team member responsible for the program.
  • Communications and requests from RADIUS SFU and CityStudio staff will be given priority and responded to within a working day.
  • The Instructor is expected to participate in monthly team meetings and events as feasible.

Application Details

  • Please include full name and “Change Lab Instructor Application” in subject of the email and submit cover letter, teaching portfolio or examples, and resume to: tconnell@radiussfu.com
  • Applications are now closed. Thank you for your interest.

Student Blog | Justine Taesa Recaps Change Lab International: Ecuador

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Guest blogger Justine Taesa is a student in the Summer 2017 semester of Change Lab International: Ecuador – a unique, interdisciplinary program in global social entrepreneurship delivered by RADIUS, the Beedie School of Business, Impaqto Quito and Insight Global Education

“Change Lab Ecuador?”

I stared at the words that I hastily scribbled into my notebook, as I had been running late into class and just caught the last bit of the presentation. I was looking for something different from my usual life in Vancouver, as well as some form of direction I could take my education. I had no idea what social innovation was, where this program would take me, or why I felt so compelled to go, but I applied the following night.

Fast forward 6 months, and here I am! I am now currently living in Quito, while learning and discovering the world of social innovation. None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t caught that last minute of the presentation, decided to apply for a program I knew little about, or made the decision to leave my work contract 2 months early to be here.

It is safe to say that I do not regret my decision one bit. Since arriving here in Ecuador, I have felt right at home. I have already had the opportunity to make some amazing connections and friendships. In addition, I have been extremely fortunate to be paired with a great company through ImpaQto – the social enterprise incubator partnered with RADIUS and Insight Global Education.

At the start of the program, all of the students were matched with an entrepreneur to assist with their start-up projects. We were to provide assistance in any way that we could, while learning about the process of starting a business. We were all extremely lucky to get our first or second choice in who we wanted to work with. I was paired with BionicsTech, a company that has developed a fully functioning bionic hand, which would be available at a fraction of the price of those already on the market. The BionicsTech entrepreneurs themselves are still learning about how to market and turn their product into a business, and I have the opportunity to assist in the project’s growth.

Despite my not being a business student, they are excited to receive input from a different perspective, while also gaining assistance in the communications department. So far, I have been doing a lot of translating, while also editing applications for grants and conferences in English. Through this work, I have learned a lot about the complexity of the entrepreneurial process. It is incredibly inspiring to work with this team of talented and dedicated entrepreneurs.

However, this trip has definitely not been solely about work! On the weekends we have many opportunities to go about and explore. Between the activities on the coast, the Andes and the Amazon, there’s no shortage of places to go. Last weekend, our entire cohort took a trip to Baños, a small mountain town that is the centre of adventure tourism here. The magic of Baños is hard to describe- but just imagine colourful streets, towering mountains, and abundance of friendly travelers.

Not only did we get to experience the lush plant life in the wilderness, but we also had the opportunity to zipline right over some truly unique views of the Andes, flying hundreds of feet over the ground. A few of us then went to the Pailon Del Diablo, a massive, thundering waterfall that we were able to climb up behind and get soaked.

On our final day in Baños, our luck with the weather had run out and the rain had set back in. However, this did not stop us from getting out to see the famous Casa Del Arbol, which features a massive swing overlooking the Tungurangua volcano. Unfortunately, the fog was too thick to see much of the mountains, but the swing was exhilarating nonetheless. We left Baños feeling the abundance of good vibes from the city, ready for another work week in Quito.

I don’t know where the rest of this trip will take me – both work wise and travel wise, but I look forward to every opportunity I get. I am excited to explore everything I possibly can throughout Ecuador.

SFU Changemakers are in Oxford for the Global Challenge Finals!

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After rising to the top of the Simon Fraser University and Canadian national rounds of the Oxford Global Challenge, a team of SFU undergraduates – comprising Change Lab alumni Alec Yu and Iman Baharmand (Faculty of Science) and Kimberley Venn (Beedie School of Business) – are headed to the Saïd Business School to compete in the Global Challenge Finals! The team, accompanied by RADIUS Co-Director Shawn Smith, will be competing with thirteen other finalists from institutions around the world in front of an international panel of judges.

We caught up with the SFU team before they set off for Oxford to ask what they had learned as undergrads that had allowed them to succeed as changemakers. Here’s what they had to say:

Iman Baharmand | We are usually encouraged to ask questions but I think we are naturally scared to question our own decisions. The most important thing I learned as an undergrad is that you will have days when you doubt yourself and ask if ‘this’ is even something you want to pursue. But you shouldn’t neglect these thoughts – you should acknowledge them, reflect on them and talk about them with people who are close to you!

Kimberley Venn | I think the importance of recognizing strengths and weaknesses and knowing when to ask for help is underrated in the innovation process. What I have learned in my undergrad experience is that change can’t be made alone. Being a part of interdisciplinary teams and reaching out to others allows us to develop areas we lack knowledge, create friendships, and in the end, become better innovators.

Alec Yu | It really helps to be a jack-of-all-trades, or to work with a close-knit interdisciplinary team, or both. Stagnant and inefficient systems are often deeply rooted within organizations or societies, and it takes expertise in fields that may seem disparate at first to have the leverage to accelerate change.

The RADIUS community wishes Alec, Iman and Kimberly the best of luck in the Global Challenge Finals on May 1st! We look forward to following their remarkable achievements as they continue with their academic and professional journeys.

The Fall semester of Health Change Lab – an interdisciplinary, once-in-a-degree studio course that allows students to develop practical solutions to real-world challenges – is currently accepting applications. Learn more here.

Join our Team: Seeking a RADIUS Program Coordinator

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RADIUS seeks an organized, creative, and diligent Program Coordinator to support our suite of programs for SFU based changemakers and our RADIUS Fellowship Program.

Reporting to the SFU Programs and Fellowship Manager and working closely with the rest of the RADIUS team, this role will play an integral role in supporting a number of key initiatives for early stage changemakers.

Applications are due by 11:59pm on April 7th (see application details below).

About RADIUS Social Innovation Lab & Venture Incubator

RADIUS delivers cohort-based programs to Radical Doers at various phases of exploration, launch, and growth. All of our programs build from a core focus on:

  • developing personal leadership,
  • creating peer-based learning and doing environments,
  • bringing Doers from broad perspectives and backgrounds into the innovation and entrepreneurship community; and
  • cultivating connections between the Radical Doers we work with and the broader ecosystem of partners, mentors, investors, lenders, learned ones, and other kick-ass doers.

Job Description: SFU Programs and Fellowship Coordinator

The SFU Programs and Fellowship Coordinator will provide support to the following program areas:

  • SFU Changemaker Campus process
  • The RADIUS Fellowship
  • External training programs delivered by RADIUS
  • SFU student focused programs run by RADIUS including:
    • SFU Change Lab – a flagship studio program for SFU students interested in working deeply with community build social venture responses to pressing social challenges.
    • SFU student Social Innovation Activators program, working with a team of students to identify and respond to opportunities for advancing the social innovation at SFU.
    • The Student Social Innovation Seed Fund: in partnership with Embark, this program provides small grants for student social innovation initiatives across SFU.
    • Competitions, events and workshops supporting the advancement of social innovation and changemaking at SFU.

Responsibilities will include but not be limited to:

  • program promotion and recruitment
  • supporting participant screening and intake processes
  • program delivery coordination (securing speakers, coordinating content, etc)
  • co-chairing the Seed Fund selection committee
  • coordination and production of related events
  • metrics tracking and reporting
  • day to day meeting planning, logistics
  • writing and communications related to programs, including report production
  • meetings with program stakeholders and coordination of related networks
  • on an ad hoc basis and coordinated within work plan, supporting other RADIUS initiatives

Are you our SFU Programs and Fellowship Coordinator?

The ideal candidate is likely early in their own career as a Radical Doer and will:

  • see themselves as a change maker
  • be excited about creating opportunities for students, learnings and early career radical doers to thrive and grow
  • have experience working with students in a university or related learning environment
  • be comfortable meeting respectfully and effectively with people in a variety of positions of influence, from first year students to those leading change from various positions within and outside the university
  • have a clear track record of delivering projects on time and with strong outcomes
  • work well in a self-directed fashion and be comfortable making decisions, and responding to emerging opportunities and a changing environment
  • be motivated to help build a transformed economy, one geared to be both inclusive and innovative, and one that is more just, sustainable, resilient and healthy
  • be a strong writer and communicator, in person, on social media, and in more formal written reports
  • be comfortable giving, receiving and asking for feedback and;
  • be comfortable with performing a variety of logistical and planning tasks within their role, from taking minutes, to planning event and meeting logistics, and processing paperwork

Strong assets include:

  • familiarity with RADIUS SFU programming models
  • experience as a facilitator
  • networks in social innovation and entrepreneurship either at SFU or in the broader community
  • comfort with the language, approaches and mindsets of entrepreneurship and innovation
  • experience as a changemaker or entrepreneur

Contract and Compensation

This is a 1 year contract position with a 3 month mutual assessment for fit, and projected to be renewable pending funding. RADIUS is a living wage employer and the compensation range for this role is from $40,500 to $50,500 commensurate with experience.

RADIUS strives to build a team that reflects the diversity of the communities we work in, and encourages applications from traditionally under-represented groups such as women, visible minorities, First Nations, people identifying as LGBT*QI, and people with disabilities.

How to apply

To apply, send your resume and cover letter in one file to Tamara Connell at tconnell@radiussfu.com by April 7th at 11:59pm with the subject line “Application: RADIUS Program Coordinator.”

In your cover letter, please concisely address the following in no more than two pages:

  • Why are you interested in the position?
  • Why do your experience and skills make you a good fit?
  • What would be the one question you would ask to better understand whether this job is a fit?
  • Tell us about a time you built something awesome (program, project, event, organization, etc!).

We thank all applicants for their interest in joining the RADIUS team. We expect to hold interviews between April 11th and 24th.

Summer 2017 – Change Lab International: Ecuador

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Change Lab is going international! 

Want to spend your summer in South America learning Spanish and creating a sustainable social venture? Change Lab International: Ecuador combines three unique components – study, design, and travel – to explore social venture design from a global perspective.

RADIUS, in partnership with Insight Global Education, SFU’s Beedie School of Business, and Impaqto Quito, is excited to present this unique opportunity for current students to collaborate and innovate in one of Latin America’s most entrepreneurial economies and one of the most biodiverse countries on earth: Ecuador!

The program is open to undergraduate students of all backgrounds, and runs from late May to mid-August, 2017. No previous experience or education in business is required to thrive in this program. Gain career-relevant experience, travel, study, and explore South America – all while earning credits towards your degree!

Learn more here.

Seed Funding Awarded to Four SFU Student Social Innovator Groups

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The SFU Student Social Innovation Fund, a collaboration between RADIUS and Embark, provides project funding of up to $1000. The next funding deadline is May 17th – apply here!

We are proud to announce four outstanding students groups – Ophthalight Digital Solutions, Kuelii Smart Fan, Urban Nestwork, and Masala Chai Mondays –  have been selected to receive funding through the Social Innovation Seed Fund in the 2015-16 cycle. 

The project teams write:

Ophthalight Digital Solutions is designing and testing the O-Glass, a proprietary technology that enables eye-care professionals to assess patients for the presence of optic neuropathy in very early stages. It is a smart-glass technology that leverages wireless communication to perform automated eye tests, store, analyze and share the results, easier and faster. Read More

SFU Change Lab (Fall 2016)

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APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED FOR THE FALL 2016 COHORT 

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 change-lab@sfu.ca

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.

Change Lab cohort wraps up with presentations to social innovation judges

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SFU’s Change Lab, a hands-on semester building skills in social innovation, wrapped up on Wednesday. Led by RADIUS Director Shawn Smith and social entrepreneur Heather O’Hara, Change Lab students explored, researched, and prototyped social innovations in Vancouver’s False Creek Flats.

Their final presentations to a panel of social innovators and entrepreneurs showcased their learning and their plans for the future. Read More

Experiential Learning: Motivation, Personal Growth, and Teamwork

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Dorothy Ng - WL BioChange Lab student Dorothy Ng is a third year student studying Political Science and Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Simon Fraser University who likes to read plot summaries on Wikipedia before watching movies. Some items on her bucket list include giving a TEDx talk, going bungee jumping, building a business, and eating a steak with her hands.  She can usually be found looking for the “homiest” coffee shops around town, strolling along the Seawall, or napping on transit.

As a third year student, I’ve enrolled in a variety of classes from different disciplines, each with their own perks and quirks. However, I’ve noticed that from Political Science to Statistics, the courses are structured in a similar manner: you go to class, submit assignments, write an exam or two, and get a grade based on that. You put in a fair amount of effort so you can get a good grade, regardless of whether or not you are interested in the class. Instead of keeping up with your readings throughout the term, you cram two days before the midterm and five days before the final. Why is this the case? Can it be changed?

I never noticed how disengaged I was in some of my classes until I enrolled in Change Lab in Fall 2015 and compared the two experiences. Change Lab is an all-day studio course that fuses environmental sustainability and innovation that challenges you to design a venture within four months. This is an experiential learning experience and, believe me, it is so different from the traditional classroom experience.

Let me tell you why. Read More

SFU Change Lab: A Community of Students Committed to Creating Sustainable Change

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By Change Lab student Amar Badh

Change is inevitable. Whether good or bad, our lives and the world around us is constantly changing. In fact, you are a different person now than you were when you began reading this sentence. This blog is about change, and in particular how a team of students at SFU are in the midst of making a positive change that has the potential to alter Vancouver’s landscape on a local and global scale! That’s what the Change Lab is all about. So what exactly is Change Lab? And how has the experience been? Since I’m all about making connections, I will gladly answer these two questions so that you can feel connected to some of the changes that are occurring in Vancouver.

What is Change Lab?

Change Lab is an innovative course offered at SFU where students from different faculties join forces to tackle some of the toughest problems facing our city. Taught by Shawn Smith and Heather O’Hara, the Change Lab is about experimentation and engaging our curiosity to try to solve problems in a sustainable and agile way. This semester we are working with the City of Vancouver, the Greenest City Action Plan team, the Vancouver Economic Commission, City Studio and the False Creek Planning Committee to help make the False Creek Flats the, “[G]reenest place to work in the world.”

Change Lab Retreat: Camp Alexandra, Crescent Beach, Surrey

With a warm Tim’s steep tea in my hands, excitement fuelling my steps and curiosity accompanying my thoughts I enter the open grass courtyard of Camp Alexandra. The objective of this retreat was to better understand ourselves and our peers. One only needs to hear a few of the words that people used to describe their weekend to grasp the effectiveness and impact this weekend had on us as a team. Words like, “friendship,” “explorationIMG_20150912_210751,” “self-expression,” “self-discovery,” “team” and “community” were just a few of the common words used to describe this weekend. Kudos to Shawn, Dan and Heather for finding the right balance between organized workshops meant to help us dig deep within ourselves, and freedom to interact with each other, whether this was by playing charades and soccer, or by chilling together on the beach under a silent black sky painted in stars. I feel as though I am a part of a community of friends, and there is something special to be taken from that. Who knew a weekend could transform a group of strangers into a group of friends all determined in creating a single positive change.

Alone we are raindrops evaporating in the sun’s rays.
Together we are a robust river turning mountains into valleys.           

A bike tour of the False Creek Flats: A ride meant to get our creativity and understanding circulating

IMG_20150916_135226The bike tour kept the momentum from the weekend rolling. A bunch of us rented bikes and rode to Granville Island, which was an amazing excuse to get to know some teammates better. The actual tour of the False Creek Flats was really beneficial, as it allowed us to see the space we were working with and its unique characteristics. This tour validated the importance of really experiencing the problem, versus just reading about it.

My Change Lab team: EZ Transportation Inc.

Our team can be captured by our name. What is EZ Transportation? It’s Environmentally Zealous Transportation, Ethically Zealous Transportation, Economically Zealous Transportation and plain and simple, it’s easy transportation. Our team not only bears a deeper meaning than just four students working together; it signifies the creative potency that we possess in articulating a meaningful and versatile solution. Shawn’s famous question is “What keeps you up at night?” For me, it’s the potential our team has to create meaningful change. The words of Erasmus encapsulate our team and the other Changemakers:

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other”
– Desiderius Erasmus

IMG_0565Amar Badh is currently completing a joint major in Molecular Biology/ Biochemistry with Business Administration at SFU, as well as SFU’s new Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Prior to SFU, Amar completed an Associates in Arts: English Literature degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Amar is often considered “a charismatic chameleon” amongst friends and family, due to his comfort adapting to his environment and his ability to adjust his demeanour to make the person he is talking to feel comfortable. Amar’s academic endeavours provide insight to what he is really passionate about, making connections: connecting people to their own personal goals and abilities, to other people or to the world around us. Amar sees the world as a vast network where everyone and everything is connected; his challenge is connecting the dots.

Learning & Listening – The Fall 2015 Change Lab way

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By Change Lab student Naomi Ambrose 

Thanks to the Fall 2015 Change Lab program, I learned that it is possible to use the beauty and peacefulness of nature to further develop my listening skills, while learning about the passions and values of others.

Change Lab Retreat - Sept 2015 - 1I came to this realization on the last day of our opening retreat to Camp Alexandria. My fellow Change Lab classmates and I, along with our facilitators, went for a walk from our campsite to a nearby beach. When we arrived on the bumpy yet beautiful gravel road that eventually led to the beach, our facilitators asked us to walk in pairs:  one person would speak for 5 minutes about the goals he accomplished and/or pursued a year later after completing the Fall 2015 Change Lab program, while the other person had to listen to the speaker recount the details of his year – without interjecting or commenting. Sounds easy, right? I can assure you this listening exercise was not easy.

Change Lab Retreat - Sept 2015 - 3I had to make a concerted effort to stay silent when my classmate Nathan told me about the environmental projects that he completed over the last year. I wanted to say: “Wow Nathan, that’s awesome that you completed and participated in these environmental initiatives and projects. I wanted to tell him: “Your love for the environment and nature is commendable and evident” when he showed me some of the plants and trees he replanted as we passed the thousands of green trees and plants, nestled in between the gravel road. (No worries though, I did eventually commend Nathan on his love for nature and the environment in another exercise my classmates and I participated in!)

One of my biggest takeaways from that listening exercise on that sunny September Sunday afternoon at the Change Lab retreat was that, while it might be difficult for us to stay fully engaged and to listen attentively during a prolonged conversation or class lecture, it is nonetheless worthwhile and possible to make an effort to listen to the speaker for at least 5 minutes – with the help of journal, a pen or pencil.

Thanks to that exercise, I also learned that it is a great idea to write down and reflect upon something I learned from the conversation, or maybe something I learned about the speaker’s personality, values, interests or goals. Thanks to the learning that I gained from that exercise and with the help of my Change Lab classmates and facilitation team, I think can officially say that I am on my way to becoming a good listener – 5 minutes at a time.

Change Lab Retreat - Sept 2015 - 4