The RADIUS Health Promotion Lab Launches its Slingshot & Trampoline Programs!

By | Health Promotion, RADIUS Lab | No Comments

RADIUS is accepting applications for the 2018/19 Health Promotion Slingshot Accelerator and Trampoline Business Model Validation Program cohorts!

RADIUS’ Health Promotion Lab uses venture incubation and systems engagement to support the prevention and early detection of chronic diseases, particularly those for which lifestyle is a contributing factor. Working at the intersection of behaviour change and systems change, the Health Promotion Lab will help drive innovative interventions in pressing health crises, including the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and different cancers. Areas of interest for the Health Promotion Lab include but are not limited to:

  • Food and nutrition
  • Physical activity and exercise
  • Responsible use of tobacco or alcohol
  • Healthy habit formation

We are thrilled to announce the start of applications for the fall cohorts of the Health Promotion Lab’s Slingshot Accelerator and Trampoline Business Model Validation Program!

Slingshot Accelerator

The Health Promotion Slingshot Accelerator is a six-month intensive program that supports early stage health promotion ventures in becoming investment, market and growth ready. The Slingshot program combines cohort-based learning and direct mentorship, embedding participants in a supportive network of peers, as well as broader networks of experts, advisors, partners, funders and clients.

Since launching the Slingshot Investment Fund in 2017, RADIUS offers a $25K equity investment in each venture that successfully completes the Slingshot Accelerator program. Slingshot participants have on average more than doubled their annual revenue in the first 12 months post-program, and matched success on business and impact goals.

LEARN MORE about the Slingshot Accelerator program.
for the Fall 2018/19 Health Promotion Slingshot Accelerator!

Trampoline Business Model Validation Program

The Trampoline Business Model Validation Program is an eight-session incubator for very early stage social ventures. The Trampoline program tests your business model for alignment in three key areas:

  1. The Problem: Are you addressing a real and impactful problem?
  2. The Solution: Is your potential solution viable and effective?
  3. The Entrepreneur: Are you ready to move this project forward right now?

LEARN MORE about the Trampoline Business Model Validation Program.
for the Fall 2018/19 Health Promotion Trampoline Program!

If you have questions about these programs, or about RADIUS’ Health Promotion Lab, please get in touch with Lab Manager Kelsey Klaver at kklaver[at]

Beyond Borders Applications NOW OPEN

By | RADIUS Lab, Refugee Livelihood Lab | One Comment

Applications for Beyond Borders, the core program of RADIUS’ Refugee Livelihood Lab, are OFFICIALLY OPEN!

Click here to apply for the 2018/19 Beyond Borders program!

What is Beyond Borders?

Beyond Borders is an applied learning experience of 11 full days over the course of five months for change-makers, new and experienced leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs who are passionate about breaking through boundaries to create practical solutions for refugee livelihoods. Participants will radically reimagine  what is possible, designing social businesses or projects that enhance refugee communities’ social and economic inclusion in Surrey, BC. The underlying question participants are working to answer is this: how might we go Beyond Borders in current approaches to co-create pathways by which refugee communities can move from survival to meaningful livelihoods?

Who should apply?

We invite people with different experiences and perspectives to apply, including people with lived experience as refugees and other racialized newcomers who are: leaders; entrepreneurs; academics; students; settlement workers (both frontline and/or management); advocates; policy makers; employers and business service leaders; and others who see refugee economic and social inclusion as central to their work.

Is Beyond Borders for you?

Can you answer YES to these questions?

  • Do you have a passion for addressing challenges such as credential recognition, English language barriers, discrimination, poverty and social/economic exclusion of refugee communities?
  • Do you have ideas about refugee communities’ social/economic inclusion that you want to put in action but have not yet found a way?
  • Do you believe in the value of collaboration with the people most affected by these issues AND people with access to institutional power?
  • Are you willing to invest in your personal leadership and growth?
  • Are you able to commit a minimum of 11 days over five months to this process? (scholarships and income replacement are available as needed)

What will participants do?

Participants will receive support and training in systems thinking, user-centred design, ideation and prototyping in order to co-create new ventures. Together we will:

  • Critically Map the existing system, sensing and exploring with new tools, new eyes
  • Re-imagine refugee social and economic inclusion in Surrey beyond survival, transforming limiting structures towards a life of meaning
  • Break down boundaries between people with access to institutional power and people with the power of lived experience being a refugee
  • Address challenges which may include credential recognition, poverty, trauma, English acquisition, transportation, reactive funding cycles & systemic discrimination
  • Draw on opportunities including a growing refugee youth population who believe they can make a difference, cultural pride and identity, existing skills, desire to contribute, and expanding markets in Surrey.
  • Go beyond what is known, cope with the uncertainty, let wise solutions emerge, and then act fast to put practical initiatives on the ground

Why join?

  • Build your networks and transformative learning with a powerful group of people.
  • Develop project designs and business models which will provide deeper insight to the current problems and solutions.
  • Engage with organizational leaders, communities and policy makers who want to affect systemic change.
  • Actively lead and contribute to an area of personal passion.

Program commitment

The total commitment for the Beyond Borders program is 11 days between September and January. Beginning in March, participants will have an opportunity to extend their work to further develop and test social ventures developed in Beyond Borders.

Retreat dates are:

September 16-18
October 4-5
November 1-2
December 6-7
January 17th-18th
March-June 3 hours/week (optional) – to be announced.

Beyond Borders will be facilitated in English with interpretation supports as required. There will be a participation fee for those who have institutional support, and a scholarship program available.

Labs for Social Change: Stories of Impact for the “Lab-Curious”

By | RADIUS Lab | No Comments

Canada is home to what might be the most diverse social innovation lab ecosystem in the world. Social innovation lab practitioners are working tirelessly across a wide range of intractable issues that are important to Canadians – including reconciliation, sustainable energy transitions, poverty reduction and civic participation. With the increasing popularity of labs in recent years – and their proliferation at universities, within governments and in communities across the country – the time has come to showcase and share this work!

On June 26th, you’re invited to join RADIUS SFUSFU Public Square and SFU Continuing Studies for a evening of storytelling with Canadian lab practitioners. These systems change leaders will share stories about the insights, new solutions, and tangible and intangible impacts their work is having on shifting resource flows, mindsets, and culture. Labs for Social Change will showcase the diversity and impact of the social innovation lab work being done across Canada, and create a space for the lab-curious to learn from more experienced practitioners.

Are you…

  • Looking for strategic approaches to address complex problems?
  • Engaged in collaborative or multi-stakeholder initiatives?
  • Interested in social innovation or social change?

If you answered “yes”, or even “maybe” to these, we’d love to see you at Labs for Social Change: Stories of Impact for the Lab-Curious!

Labs for Social Change will be the public kick-off event before CONVERGE: Canadian Lab Practitioners Exchange, an invite-only gathering of 100+ of Canada’s leading lab practitioners taking place at SFU on June 27th and 28th. If you are actively running a social innovation lab, please reach out to to learn more about CONVERGE.

Labs for Social Change: Stories of Impact for the Lab-Curious will take place at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue on traditional, ancestral and unceded Coast Salish territory.

>>Register here<<


Diane Roussin

Boldness Project – Indigenous Child Welfare, Winnipeg, MB

Diane Roussin is a dedicated community leader and a proud member of the Skownan First Nation. Diane has worked tirelessly for over two decades with organizations and projects that respect the ability and the right of Indigenous families, children and individuals to care for themselves and thrive. Most recently, she became the Project Director for The Winnipeg Boldness Project, a research and development project focusing on improving outcomes for children in the North End of Winnipeg through social lab processes. Diane holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Work degrees. She is a cherished member of a large extended family and a loving mother of two daughters whom she adores.

John Purkis

Natural Capital Lab/GTA Housing Action Lab, Ottawa, ON

John Purkis is a sustainability expert, facilitator and systems change specialist. He works with all orders of government, businesses and other organizations to generate and implement bold visions for a sustainable future. He designs and facilitates transformational change processes with organizations both in Canada and around the world. Recently, as the Director of The Natural Capital Lab, John lead a group of approximately 40 senior level innovators to explore barriers and policy changes required at a federal, provincial and municipal scale to integrate natural capital into decision making and accounting practices. John also co-managed the GTA Housing Action Lab and was a member of CMHC’s Sustainable Community Planning Committee.

John holds a BSc in Environmental Science from Brock University (1995) and a graduate Diploma in Institutional Administration from Concordia University (2000). He also completed independent studies in business at Concordia University (1996-1997). He enjoys woodworking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and photography.

Kiri Bird

Local Economic Development Lab – Economic Inclusion, Vancouver, BC

Kiri Bird is a process designer, strategist and facilitator of collaborative systems change initiatives. Kiri is founding Manager of the Local Economic Development Lab (LEDlab), an initiative of Ecotrust Canada and RADIUS at Simon Fraser University. LEDlab is a place-based social innovation lab in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, which incubates community-driven solutions for a more vibrant and inclusive local economy. In 2016 LEDlab was the recipient of the RECODE-Cities for People Civic Innovation Award, and in 2018 the City of Vancouver’s Healthy City for All Leadership Award. Kiri has a background in communications, community engagement and economic development both locally and internationally. She holds a Master’s degree in Resource and Environmental Management and Planning from Simon Fraser University, and is passionate about addressing inequities and advancing happiness, well-being and resilience in cities.

Lindsay Cole

City of Vancouver Solutions Lab, Vancouver, BC

Lindsay Cole is currently leading the creation of the Solutions Lab at the City of Vancouver – a place where breakthrough, transformative solutions to some of the city’s most complex problems are being sought. She’s worked on a variety of exciting projects with the City, including leading the planning and public engagement process for the award-winning Greenest City Action Plan. Prior to joining the City, Lindsay co-founded and co-directed Sustainability Solutions Group, a workers cooperative consulting company doing climate change and sustainability work. Lindsay splits her time between Vancouver and Roberts Creek, and in addition to her work life she’s also an active volunteer in community economic development, a PhD student, and the parent of an incredible 9 year old.

Moderator: Darcy Riddell

J. W. McConnell Family Foundation

Darcy Riddell leads the instructional team for SFU’s Social Innovation Certificate program and is the director of strategic learning for the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. She has spent 20 years advancing sustainability and social change as a campaigner, strategist, process designer and facilitator. Darcy completed a PhD in social innovation/social and ecological sustainability at the University of Waterloo, where she researched strategies for catalyzing and scaling innovation in complex systems.


CONVERGE: Canadian Lab Practitioners Exchange

By | Events, RADIUS Lab | No Comments

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

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

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

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

CONVERGE aims to:

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

CONVERGE invites those who are:

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

CONVERGE has been made possible thanks to our partners:

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

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

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


We’re Hiring! Program Design Lead: Refugee & Newcomer Livelihood Lab

By | Jobs, RADIUS Lab | No Comments

RADIUS is currently seeking a part-time Program Design Lead to support the Scoping phase of the Refugee and Newcomer Livelihood Lab. This position will be responsible for ethnographic research and interviews with refugees and newcomers, as well as interviewing and convening stakeholder groups to support mapping of problem space, existing actors and solutions, and opportunities for innovation, leading the design of the full program, and co-leading fundraising.

View the full job posting here. [CLOSED]

Interested candidates, submit a resume, cover letter, and references to ssmith[at] by midnight Saturday, December 2, 2017.


Vancouver’s LEDlab presents a replicable funding & program model for social labs in higher ed

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

This article was re-posted with permission from the RECODE Blog.

Local Economic Development Lab Program Manager Kiri Bird outlines the LEDlab program model, and sheds light on the opportunity that universities have to leverage the Mitacs Accelerate Research Grants for social change. To learn more about leveraging Mitacs partnerships, register for Kiri’s webinar on May 17th

In the Fall of 2014, RADIUS SFU, a social innovation lab and venture incubator at Simon Fraser University entered into a three-year partnership with Ecotrust Canada to create the Local Economic Development Lab (LEDlab) in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Drawing on Ecotrust Canada’s 20 years of on-the-ground community development practice, we worked to understand the local community’s priorities for economic development and innovation. Building on this foundation, we drew from RADIUS’s expertise in process innovation, and social venture development to build a unique program. The model developed at the LEDlab works at multiple scales to incubate community-driven social ventures, while building community capacity to identify and act upon opportunities for systemic change.

The LEDlab leverages a Mitacs Accelerate Research Grant to incorporate 30 living wage, four-month, full-time graduate internships over three years. Graduate interns provide actual human capacity, research and prototyping support to under-resourced community organizations to advance innovative ideas. We use a cohort model for projects, students, and community partners to develop shared skills and knowledge, collaborate, and change the economic system in support of the local community over time.

Now approaching the third and final year of our planned three-year initiative, the LEDlab has evolved as a platform for systems change that works alongside a broad network of partners to build, test and scale solutions that put money in the pockets of Downtown Eastside residents; enhance the capacity of individuals, organizations and networks for social innovation and social enterprise; and positively disrupt traditional patterns of power and resource use in the community.

Lesson Learned: Be Flexible in your Process and Committed to Emergence

Whether you like it or not, a social lab will take on a life of its own. In our opinion, labs should not be defined by rigid process, but should be committed to responding to emergent needs and opportunities, with a clear focus on assessing each opportunity for its potential impact. Through a rigorous learning and reflection process, we constantly ask ourselves and our partners: What does the system need now? How can we add unique value? We try to be flexible to the needs of our partners and broader community, and we build our processes in response to these needs.

Challenge: Organizing Research around Community Impact

Engaging faculty in traditional research has been a challenge. While our grad students have been prolific in research outputs, working with faculty to develop SHHRC or other large grants hasn’t been possible to date. Reflecting on this challenge, I would design future community-university lab partnerships to have a research mandate clearly defined and supported by the University from the outset, ideally with interdisciplinary or pan-university faculty advisors commitment.

Opportunity: Leveraging Mitacs Partnerships for Social Change

To the best of our knowledge, in 2015 we were the only social innovation lab leveraging a Mitacs Accelerate cluster grant for social change. Since then others have adopted the model, such as the Creative Publics Lab at SFU. Mitacs recently received an additional $221 Million dollars in funding in the 2017 Federal budget and are accepting partnership applications on a rolling basis. We are hoping that more universities will take an interest in becoming active solution-building partners in their communities, and will adapt it for their own use.

With a goal of scaling social innovation labs within higher education through meaningful campus-community partnership, we will be hosting a webinar in partnership with RECODE in May, where we’ll share the details of the Mitacs partnership and funding model in the Local Economic Development Lab. Please register for the webinar, and don’t hesitate to sign up for the LEDlab newsletter to learn more about our evolving work in the labs space.

LEDlab is Hiring!

By | RADIUS Lab | No Comments

The Local Economic Development Lab (LEDlab) – a joint initiative of RADIUS and Ecotrust Canada – is hiring for a great new Project Manager position!

LEDlab partners with community organizations to explore innovative ways to build a more vibrant and inclusive local economy in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We are seeking a highly organized relationship-builder, storyteller, and project manager to lead LEDlab’s 2017/18 cohort of innovative projects, and to help tell and share stories of impact from the lab and its community partners.

The Project Manager will…

  • Assist in scoping 2017/18 projects,
  • Recruit, manage, and mentor a team of graduate student Project Coordinators,
  • Manage LEDlab website, and lead digital storytelling through blogs and newsletters,
  • Maintain and grow LEDlab relationships and collaborations with inner city networks,
  • Support program administration, and
  • Support in activating knowledge mobilization events and workshops.

The ideal candidate…

  • Is passionate about advancing equity and diversity in our cities, as well as in the social innovation space.
  • Is comfortable working in a community setting, with a high degree of self-awareness.
  • Has strong consulting and customer service skills.
  • Is able to listen to the needs of others and frame opportunities around them.
  • Facilitates generative and impactful small group meetings.
  • Can manage and mentor a team of 4-5 Project Coordinators.
  • Is an experienced storyteller, excellent writer and editor, and creative in their approach to knowledge dissemination both online and offline.
  • Is comfortable working in WordPress, Campaign Monitor, and can learn new digital tools as required.
  • Has an understanding of social innovation labs, and design thinking methodology.
  • Has relevant experience in economic development, poverty alleviation, entrepreneurship, or urban (economic) planning.
  • Enjoys working in independent, highly dynamic situations with multiple stakeholders and deadlines.
  • Is organized and detailed oriented.
  • Is thoughtful, tenacious, and has a sense of humour!

Bonus Skills Wish List:

  • Social enterprise development, entrepreneurship
  • Experience in the Downtown Eastside (DTES)
  • Graphic design

For more information including application instructions, download the full job description.

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

We’re letting go our Connected Kitchens collaboration: here’s why

By | Food for thought, RADIUS Lab | No Comments

How do you know when to pivot an ambitious idea to something more realistic? How do you let go of an idea that inspires you? LEDlab Program Manager Kiri Bird explores lessons learned from our Connected Kitchens project with Carnegie Community Centre and shares audio clips from a recorded project debrief. 

In September 2015, LEDlab launched with four graduate students matched to community partners seeking to accelerate community-driven social enterprise projects that would put money in the pockets of DTES residents. One of these  projects, Connected Kitchens — in collaboration with Carnegie Community Centre –was framed as an ‘inquiry-based project’ which would test the assumption that there is untapped potential for food startups in the DTES, specifically in the community kitchens programs of SRO (single room occupancy) hotels.

Carnegie and LEDlab planned to spend one semester (four months) in this inquiry phase and then decide if there was enough traction or uptake to continue the work into in the new year. Three months into Connected Kitchens, all the partners were disappointed with what had been accomplished.

We hadn’t been able to pin down a core team of DTES residents that would help lead the project, and we hadn’t started using community kitchens to produce food to sell. When we couldn’t find traction or community buy-in, we trusted ourselves enough to take a step back and reexamine our commitments and priorities. After careful discussion, the Carnegie team and LEDlab decided not to continue with the Connected Kitchens project for a second semester.

Read more and listen to clips from the team’s conversation on the LEDlab’s blog.

LEDlab is an initiative of RADIUS and Ecotrust Canada, and the current expression of RADIUS Lab

Join us! Potluck Cafe Society launches new employment platform for Downtown Eastside residents

By | Events, Media Releases, RADIUS Lab, Social Innovation | No Comments

Knack collaborators

Knack matches employers with trained workers desiring casual or part-time work

Potluck Café Society has launched a new employment platform for Downtown Eastside residents. Developed in partnership with RADIUS SFU and Ecotrust Canada’s joint initiative LEDlab, Knack expands Potluck Café Society’s social impact hiring model.

“We’ve seen firsthand how successful the model has been with Potluck,” says Colin Stansfield, Executive Director of Potluck Café Society. “We started this initiative because we can see how an expanded model would benefit businesses and DTES residents alike.”

Knack overviewKnack offers a series of free weekly workshops to people who face barriers to traditional employment. The workshops teach eight fundamental ‘soft’ skills developed from Work BC guidelines and consultations with employers.

Workshop participants earn ‘badges’ that indicate a proficiency in a particular skill. The program will provide a reference to participants once they have earned all eight badges. Those who complete the workshop series then gain access to a pool of opportunities with businesses looking for part-time or casual employees.

“We’re currently running our third series of job training workshops,” says Knack program coordinator Anna Migicovsky. “Participant who have gone through the Knack workshops are currently employed at social enterprises like Sole Food Farms and Hives ”

Knack is currently looking for more businesses to join their social-impact hiring platform. Read More

New Local Economic Development Lab Cohort Up and Running

By | RADIUS Lab | No Comments

Our newly named Local Economic Development Lab, a partnership with Ecotrust Canada, welcomes four new graduate student team members. Over the next eight months, Anna Migicovsky, Daniel Mundeva, Priyanka Roy, and Chris Puzio will work with community partners to support innovative projects in the Downtown Eastside. We’re delighted to partner with Potluck Cafe’s Recipes for Success program, the Carnegie Community Centre, the Binners’ Project, and the DTES Street Market in undertaking this work.

Anna Migicovsky

Anna is thrilled to be joining the Local Economic Development Lab to design, test and advance ideas for a new economy in Vancouver’s inner city.  With a background in Environmental Science and Cultural Anthropology, she has always been drawn to learning about complex social and environmental issues happening in the world around her.

Growing up in Vancouver, Anna spent a lot of her childhood in nature (camping, kayaking, hiking, skiing) as well as surrounded by a robust community of like-minded individuals. She has been fortunate to live abroad and travel extensively, experiencing different cultures and methods of social interaction and inclusion. This has fueled her passion for creating positive change in our society.

After having worked in both non-profit and for-profit ventures, she decided to pursue a Masters in Business Administration with the aim to bridge the gap between business and social impact. As a MBA Candidate at Beedie School of Business at SFU, she is eager to bring her skills and experience to find long-term sustainable solutions.

In her spare time, Anna can be found playing Ultimate Frisbee or at her pottery studio where she is allowed to get messy and play with mud.

Daniel Mundeva

Daniel Mundeva is Masters of Arts student at Simon Fraser University. His greatest passion is people, development and the environment. He strongly believes that creating a society where everyone feels valued, supported and respected is crucial to ensure social and economic stability.

Coming from a developing country and humble background, Daniel understands not only the experiences and struggles of marginalized people but also their potential to succeed when given the opportunity. His experiences span from community development to environment sustainability, with his works being conducted in three different continents. He is joining the Local Economic Development Lab team as an intern to support the improvement and expansion of the Downtown Eastside Street Market. In his position, he hopes to improve the breakeven of the market and strengthen relations amongst all stakeholders, namely, vendors, shoppers, community members, City of Vancouver officials, and law enforcement units.

He is an avid hiker (having hiked the Westcoast trail on the Vancouver Island and also having summited Mount Kilimanjaro three times) and a recreational biker.

Chris Puzio

Chris is beyond excited to join the team at Local Economic Development Lab and to begin working with the Carnegie Community Center project this Fall.  He is currently enrolled in the Masters of Urban Studies program at SFU where his research interests include community and social planning.  He knows working with the Carnegie Community Centre Project will give him firsthand experience in seeing social innovation policy in practice, and that’s exciting!  He’s had some experience working with the DTES community and he is glad to return and to work in a much greater capacity than he did previously.  He is sure some amazing ideas and projects will emerge over the next 8 months that will have a positive impact on the community, and again, that’s exciting! He is also very excited for the learning experiences and collaboration that will take place over the next 8 months inside and outside of the Local Economic Development Lab.

He’s mentioned he’s excited at least 4 times in this short bio – he’s really excited to get this project started, meet and collaborate with great people, and hopefully work with delicious food and create positive change for a community!

Priyanka Roy

With a background in Architecture and currently finishing her masters in Urban Planning at UBC, Priyanka has always been deeply interested in working with communities. She has prior experience working as a social planner at the municipal level and has also worked with several non-profits based in the DTES. She is currently working with the Local Economic Development Lab on the Binners’ Project. She lives in Vancouver, loves riding her bike and has a pet turtle.

Paid 8 Month Graduate Internship Opportunity with Ecotrust Lab @ RADIUS

By | RADIUS Lab | No Comments

The Ecotrust Lab @ RADIUS is working with community to design, test and launch new approaches to sustainable urban economic development. Based in Vancouver’s inner city, our goals are to improve economic outcomes for inner city residents and to build the community’s capacity to advance future innovations.

Through close collaboration with inner city partner organizations and focused on helping the City of Vancouver advance key community economic development goals, your role will be to help research, test and advance high potential innovations for the inner city and its residents.

The Lab is an initiative of Ecotrust Canada with RADIUS SFU.

You must be currently enrolled in a Canadian graduate studies program to apply for this position. No exceptions, sorry!

Applications are due by July 26th – details below.

The Opportunity

We are looking for four pro-active, dynamic, curious and driven graduate students to join our team for eight months beginning in September 2015. In our inaugural year, the Lab will work with four core community partners on distinct projects with cross-cutting themes.

Each Team Member will have a key stakeholder (client) and a set of objectives and deliverables. You will receive orientation and training in design thinking, community economic development, social innovation, business model development, and developmental evaluation. You will be primarily responsible for determining appropriate methodologies for your work and project management, with close mentorship and support from the Lab manager and a faculty member connected to the RADIUS Social Innovation Lab and Venture Incubator at Simon Fraser University. You will be accountable to the Lab Manager, as well as your community client.

Position descriptions:

Carnegie Community Centre Position Description
DTES Street Market Intern Position Description
Recipes for Success Position Description
The Binners Project Position Description

How to Apply

Please thoroughly read all positions descriptions and apply to only one position. Apply by sending a CV and cover letter to by midnight, Sunday July 26th, 2015. Identify which position you are applying for in the subject of the email.

Please address the following questions in your cover letter:

  1. Why are you interested in a Team Member role with Ecotrust Lab @ RADIUS? (max 200 words)
  2. Briefly summarize what makes you a good candidate for this position. (max 300 words)
  3. What first steps would you take to initiate the project proposed in the position description? (max 300 words)

Interviews will be conducted Wednesday July 29th and Thursday July 30th.

The Fine Print

  • You must be currently enrolled in a Canadian graduate studies program. Master’s, PhD, and Postdoctoral candidates may apply. This opportunity is ideal for students who are mainly finished coursework and are in the internship or thesis stage of their degree program.
  • We are open to applicants from diverse backgrounds, but preference will be given to candidates with interdisciplinary professional and academic experience in, for example, design, business, community economic development, social innovation, economics, social or political science.
  • Experience working with marginalized or vulnerable populations a plus.
  • Funding for this position is provided by Mitacs Canada. Stipends are provided as fixed rate scholarship grants for current graduate students at Canadian universities (no exceptions, sorry!). This is not an employee position.

A Little More About You

You know there is something wrong with our current social and economic systems. You feel a deep sense of purpose in creating positive social change.

You’re part art and part science: you tap into your creativity and don’t shy away from voicing your most off-the-wall ideas. Meanwhile, you delight in observation, pattern identification and meaning-making. You’re willing to listen longer than feels comfortable and you are systematic in testing your hypotheses.

You’re motivated by challenge, love autonomy in your workplace and are self-starting. You value transparency, integrity and generosity and are jazzed on the idea of working on real problems and the real people affected by them.

Does this sound like you? Apply now!

RADIUS & Ecotrust Open Call for Graduate Interns

By | RADIUS Lab, Social Innovation | No Comments

Intern Posting Cover PageThe Ecotrust Lab @RADIUS is seeking multiple graduate interns to support our work on Urban Economic Innovation, in both the Sept 2014 and Jan 2015 academic terms. A collaboration between Ecotrust Canada and RADIUS—a social innovation lab at the Beedie School of Business, SFU—the Lab is modeled on social change labs worldwide and works with inner city communities to identify and co-design solutions to improve economic and social conditions. We view our internships as a training pipeline for Canada’s next social innovation leaders.

  • Term: Full time from September 3 to December 19
  • Compensation: $12,000 CAD
  • Fall applications close Thursday, July 31

Read full job announcement for more information about the role and how to apply.

Using Disruptive Strategies to Help Create a New Vision for BC’s Small-Boat Fishermen

By | RADIUS Lab, Social Innovation | No Comments

Guest Blog By Joanna Kipp

The author getting a closer look at the work.

In the fall of 2013, through RADIUS and Ecotrust Canada, I was given the opportunity to pack my bags and head to Prince Rupert, British Columbia for three months to research and write an unconventional business plan for Ecotrust Canada’s unique and ground-breaking fisheries monitoring initiative.

The experience proved highly valuable for me because I was able to put into practice many of the creative and collaborative techniques that I learned while in the SFU MBA program. Moreover, I believe that these techniques directly contributed to my ability to build trust in the community and develop a more effective and desirable monitoring system. Below, I will share three examples.

Gaining Empathy

I started by orienting myself to Canada’s Pacific fishing industry—the general ins-and-outs, frustrations and successes, and the changes that are currently taking place. Although the fisheries monitoring program design was well-underway by the time I started my work in Prince Rupert, it was still crucial that I understand the users of the monitoring system and the context in which they operate. Gathering this information helped me to empathize with these hard-working entrepreneurs, and allowed me to understand how the fisheries monitoring system I was helping to build would affect their lives and livelihoods each and every day of the fishing season.

Entrepreneurship and the Lean Start-up

Ecotrust’s fisheries monitoring initiative is a perfect example of their entrepreneurial approach to problem solving. When a fishermen’s association approached Ecotrust to explore whether they could create and offer a more accessible and affordable fisheries monitoring system, the Lean Startup approach allowed the organization to design and create a small number of prototypes for the boats in the association. Starting with a small number of clients allowed Ecotrust Canada to receive detailed, individual feedback from the fishermen on how the system should work, before putting it into practice on a larger scale.

The fishing fleet in the golden hour at Prince Rupert

The fishing fleet in the golden hour at Prince Rupert

There is nothing more valuable than this. Instead of trying to guess what the user wanted, the ongoing conversation between designer and user allowed the design to be an iterative process, with feedback contributing to the prototype during the design process instead of after. This permitted a more agile and flexible design, with the best possible products and services at the end.

Visioning Session

I think my favorite part of the internship was our community visioning session. Having just completed an MBA based mostly on traditional business concepts, I was really excited to participate in a meeting that centered around how our products and services could benefit the user—not just how the user could benefit the corporate bottom line.

Here’s the result of the visioning session:

We envision commercial fisheries that are sustainably governed using sound management policies that include harvester input and recognition of the social value of the fishing industry and not just the economic value of the landed catch.

The vision is based on the following principles:

  • Collaboration: Builds trust, empowers fishermen, and increases the flow of information between industry, regulatory bodies, and monitoring service providers through working together towards the common vision of sustainable fisheries.
  • Affordability: Using pricing models that support scaling and continuous development instead of maximizing shareholder value will improve fishermen’s margins and demonstrate that these models are sustainable.
  • Accessibility: Aims for all those that need/want monitoring to be able to access it, whether it is mandated or voluntary.
  • Adaptability and Integratability: allows a base monitoring system to be customized for different fisheries at a lower cost and allows the monitoring system to be seamlessly integrated with other existing compliance tools to offer a comprehensive monitoring and compliance toolkit which will contribute to more sustainable fisheries.

I believe that these unique and disruptive strategies will help to bring success and sustainability to BC’s fishermen and coastal communities, and the resource they depend on. Widespread use of these methods would undoubtedly have an impact on resource management around the world.

Radical Doer Internships at RADIUS LAB

By | RADIUS Lab, Social Innovation | One Comment

The LAB program at RADIUS is getting it done

Launched in 2012, the RADIUS LAB program is an interdisciplinary collaboration with Ecotrust Canada and the Beedie School of Business. Graduate level students are provided first-hand experience in the field of social and ecological innovation, working on real-time projects with professionals and people-in-place. Our work to date has covered 3 cohorts, 9 students, and 13 projects.

In an ecosystem of labs that spans the globe, our program can be categorized alongside other Canadian ‘Social Innovation’ labs — we are focused on developing breakthrough solutions to intractable problems, we bring new components together in new relationships for disruptive change, and we’re working to tip systems in the direction of greater resilience in sustainability.

Zaid Hassan has defined ‘social innovation labs as “social, experimental, and systemic.” More than a singular tool or methodology, we represent a particular social technique that combines the best of a number of pre-existing social technologies. We’re continuously improving and we’re excited to have a chance to learn from Hassan when he visits Vancouver in April.

We’re tackling big issues and having fun doing it

Resource development, social license, impact investing, and supply chain management have all been on the table. Our teams have worked on product traceability, emissions reductions, new business model generation, and pay-for-performance models of social finance.

What ties these projects together is a common focus on developing integrative solutions to complex social problems. We do this through a process of creative problem-solving that combines academic rigour with insightful exploration. We mix empathy and empiricism with equal measures of audacity, humility and humour; what results are Radical Ideas Useful to Society.

We want you to join us

Systems are a function of people and purpose – our LAB is no different. We rely on a diversity of perspective and we thrive on challenging assignments. Bring us your problem, lend us a hand and join in the process of strategic exploration.

We’re looking for graduate students who are interested in learning first-hand what it takes to tackle systems change. We’re also seeking ‘firms of endearment’ who want to share in the adventure and can lend some practical expertise.

If you’re interested in joining us or if you want to learn more, reach out to me, Colin Stansfield.