At odds or an opportunity? Exploring the tension between the social justice and social innovation narratives

This article is the seventh in a series on social innovation. In 2013, the team at Ryerson University’s Faculty of Community Service invited me to join them as the inaugural John C. Eaton Chair of Social Innovation. The faculty has deep social justice roots and it created the position just as Ryerson became Canada’s first Ashoka Changemaker…

Unpacking the Social Innovation Strategies of Canadian Foundations

This article is the fifth in a series on social innovation. Social innovation has become a popular policy buzzword globally, prompting strategies across all levels of government, as well as in business and philanthropy. Unfortunately, as many of us interested in philanthropy have noted (Lorinc 2017; McGoey 2015; Pue et al. 2015; Policy Research Initiative 2010), it…

July 2017 Paul Dotey

Innovation on the Rise: Achieving Systemic Change

This article is the fourth in a series on social innovation. The challenge with understanding systemic change is that it is like describing a lake in which you are currently swimming. In Part I of this reflection on Robert Couchman’s 1992 article in The Philanthropist, titled The Politics of Resistance to Change in Innovative Programming, we…

Sept ans plus tard : retour sur l’article Patterns, Principles and Practices in Social Innovation

Cet article est le deuxième d’une série consacrée à l’innovation sociale. À certaines heures, non seulement l’avenir mais aussi le présent semblent bien obscurs. C’est ne pas voir comme le monde où nous vivons est déjà transformé, et non seulement par des cauchemars comme le réchauffement planétaire et la mondialisation, mais aussi par des rêves de…

April 2017 Paul Dotey

Seven Years On and Seven Years Out: Revisiting “Patterns, Principles and Practices in Social Innovation”

This article is the second in a series on social innovation. “This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both.” – Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities Introduction In 2010, The Philanthropist published several…

Qu’est-ce que l’innovation sociale?

Cet article est le premier d’une série consacrée à l’innovation sociale. En Colombie-Britannique, des douzaines de pêcheurs de la région du Lower Mainland qui utilisent des bateaux de pêche appartenant à leur famille ne peuvent plus capturer des prises de la taille exigée par les grossistes. Ils ont donc formé une association dirigée par ses…

What are we talking about when we talk about social innovation?

This article is the first in a series on social innovation. In British Columbia, dozens of Lower Mainland fishers operating family-owned boats no longer have the size to sell to wholesalers. Instead, they band together to create a membership-driven club; subscribers can purchase fresh catch right off the dock. The result: sustainable food production, improved…