Charles Chang Innovation Centre: No better place to build solutions

The following is an amended version of the speech delivered by Shawn Smith, Director of RADIUS, at the opening of RADIUS’ new office at the Charles Chang Innovation Centre on September 27th 2016:

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to be here, and of course to Charles for his commitment to the next generation of changemakers at SFU. We are incredibly excited to call this inspiring space our new home.
Founded in 2013 at the Beedie School of Business, and serving SFU’s broad community, RADIUS works with social innovators and entrepreneurs to build a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive economy.
Complex problems from ecosystem degradation to economic inequality become more urgent by the day, and ideas about how things could be different are plentiful, but to build breakthrough solutions we must work across sectors and silos, creating permeable boundaries and rich collisions of perspectives. This space is that, manifest – a bridge between a world class business school at Canada’s leading engaged university, and a rich community of innovators, entrepreneurs, and everyday citizens working hard to put new ideas into action.
We are a place for these Radical Doers, from explorers in undergraduate classrooms to established entrepreneurs, developing, testing and growing new models for the better economy we all wish to see. Many are here today, and three you see displayed around the room:

  • The first, Knack, is a startup initiative of Potluck Cafe Society that connects employers who want to achieve community impact with a labour force that is experiencing barriers to employment.
  • Riipen is a web-based platform that enables Higher Education Institutions to provide meaningful project-based experiential learning at scale.
  • And Coast Protein uses modern sustainable processes to cultivate crickets for use in protein powder-based products.

There is, with all sincerity, no better place in the world to be doing this work. At this school and university, in a city and province known as global leaders in social innovation, in a country that remains open and curious while much of the world grows closed and fearful, and has the resources, and on our best days, the imagination to ask what the good life really is, and how we might all get there.
We are in a moment in time when so much feels broken or breaking, and yet everything is possible. Today will go a long way to helping us ensure we unleash that potential.

The Charles Chang Innovation Centre (located at West Hastings and Hamilton) is an open concept hub where we offer workspace and amenities to RADIUS cohorts, rent desks and hotdesk space to innovators and mission-aligned professionals, and support the development of a dynamic and impactful social innovation network within SFU and beyond. Join the RADIUS community or email General Manager Tovah Paglaro at tpaglaro[at] to learn more.  

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