Are you looking for a very unique learning opportunity where you can build real-world skill sets solving an actual problem in the community?
Civic Innovation Change Lab is the opportunity you’ve been looking for!
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” 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. Students delve into the core practices of dialogue, design thinking, and business model development to become capable of producing impactful social innovations in the city of Vancouver.
Civic Innovation Change Lab runs yearly during the Spring Semester.
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Resiliency refers to our ability to adapt or recover from difficulties; to be tough. When we refer to resilient neighbourhoods, we include economic, social, and environmental perspectives, as each is necessary to support the others. The quest of neighbourhood resiliency is to build strong, diverse, and dynamic communities where residents can meet their human needs within the constraints of our socio-ecological system.
While resiliency will look and feel differently in each local context, examples of what it could include are:
In the Civic Innovation Change Lab, students’ projects will respond to the challenges faced within City of Vancouver neighbourhoods and explore community-oriented solutions that engage citizens and build local resilience.
Participants work in teams to understand a Civic Innovation-related challenge as presented by City of Vancouver staff, then develop and test an innovative, entrepreneurial response. Students will spend much of the term out in community – gaining input and insight from community members to better understand the complexity and nuances of the problem space. Teams will present to partner panels for feedback at the mid-point and end of semester. Sessions are a mix of hands on workshops, coaching by instructors and experts, guest speakers, limited content lectures, and open work time in your teams to advance your ideas.
3rd or 4th year SFU students from any discipline who:
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.
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:
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, civic issues, public and user engagement, dialogue, business model development, personal development, effective teams, and more.
Credits that you are awarded are:
Dates: The program runs every Spring Semester (January – April).
Official class times:
Students participate in a day-long off-site retreat, all expenses covered.
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. Pre-requisites (may be waived at discretion of instructors in extenuating circumstances):
Please email your application to firstname.lastname@example.org
Include the following three documents:
Deadline to apply: Applications will re-open in September 2020.
Click the button below to get notified when applications re-open in the Fall.
The Civic Innovation Change Lab will be stewarded by the following team of individuals. This team will also invite in a variety of guests from the local community.
Alia is a social entrepreneur and lecturer at Simon Fraser University where she teaches Sustainable Innovation and Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Passionate about the fields of sustainability, poverty alleviation and impact investing, Alia is the Founder of Luv The Grub an emerging social enterprise that operates at a number of levels in the food system by capturing produce seconds that would otherwise go to waste, hires newcomer refugees and immigrants through a paid employment training program and produces delicious chutneys and spreads for the local market. In addition, Alia is also the Co-Founder of Liv & Lola; a fair trade home decor business which works with artisans in rural areas of Nicaragua, Guatemala and Thailand where employment opportunities are scarce in an effort to lift them, their families and their communities out of poverty.
Tim is responsible for the implementation of the collaborative strategic direction of both Plan Institute & PLAN, a role that he has held for five years. Tim has also served as a community connector for PLAN, sat on the board of Plan Institute and worked for three years as General Manager for Tyze—an online personal networking service and a certified B-Corp Social Enterprise developed by PLAN. Tim also teaches Sustainable Innovation and is a Mentor in Residence at Simon Fraser University and the Venture Connection. Before working In the Not for Profit sector Tim was the Managing Director and Vice President of an International technology company and worked in Canada, the USA and Europe. Tim brings over 25 years of experience in business, sales, management, and personal development and is passionate about helping people and organizations create success and sustainability.