Social Innovation Activators: Exploring Towards Creativity and Productivity

Christine Dyson is one of our 2016 Student Social Innovation Activators. RADIUS launched the Social Innovation Activators program this year to bring together three emerging SFU changemakers who will help understand, shape, and activate a stronger social innovation community, engaging all faculties on all SFU campuses. Here Christine reflects on the past semester. 
These past few months with the RADIUS Social Innovation Activators have been both rewarding and challenging. When I first got accepted into the program I wasn’t too sure what we were going to be doing. Essentially, we are a group of students who are researching how to better provide and articulate social innovation opportunities to students at SFU. How we do that, well, that is the outstanding question.
When I first heard about the program, I was excited to learn that I would be playing a key role in bringing awareness to social innovation opportunities for students at SFU. At first, I thought this would mean a lot of student outreach and consultation. This hasn’t been the case so far, as we have invested our time into bringing awareness to what comprises social innovation and entrepreneurship.
The first task we embarked on was organizing and delivering a Social Innovation Speaker Series for both students and external community members. The speaker series event brought together influential individuals to talk about their own experiences within the field. The first two events featured speakers who talked about their personal experiences, highlighting both their setbacks and accomplishments. The third event was focused on showcasing opportunities available to students both on and off campus. The final event featured student speakers, drawing attention to opportunities they pursued while in school.
Our first event, although a success, still left us wondering how to communicate this information to the larger community. The speaker series helped prove to us that students are interested in this area and that we need to figure out how to share opportunities better. Over the next few months our intent is to develop a map of opportunities for students.
I mentioned earlier that I wasn’t entirely sure what it is we’re supposed to be doing. At the beginning of this program this uncertainty drove me crazy. However, a large part of my growth has been learning to see the value in uncertainty. In many ways uncertainty allows one to be more creative and adventurous. Reflecting back, I think this was especially prevalent in the creation of our speaker series event. Given the lack of guidelines and prescribed information, our team was free to experiment with new ideas and ways of capturing people’s attention. Had we been given direction, we likely would not have produced as creative an event.
Moving forward, I still feel I lack an understanding of what we’re going to be doing in the future. However, instead of seeing it as an obstacle to overcome I’m comfortable with embracing this uncertainty. This program has taught me that uncertainty is still productive, as it allows for one to be more involved and engaged with the process.