Profiles

HireUp

Paul Klein discusses Hire Up from Social Innovation Generation on Vimeo.

For young people who have experienced homelessness, there are myriad barriers to finding full-time employment, including: stigma, self-confidence, access and opportunity. Chief among the barriers, however, is stable housing…and stable housing requires employment. It can be a vicious cycle. HireUp is a systematic social change machine that works in four ways to help youth who have experienced homelessness find stable employment.

Read how they the are making change.

Exeko

Exeko on the street

The Problem

Many people in Canada face degrees of social exclusion. This can be caused by a myriad factors – absence of social and economic opportunities; physical, psychological or mental health challenges or ethnic and racial prejudices. From a policy and social service standpoint, these types of challenges tend to be addressed on an individual basis – rather than focusing attention on the root causes. From a broader societal standpoint, the manifestation of our inability to address isolation results in some of us talking down to, misrepresenting or ignoring the contributions of those in society most marginalised by the systems we all operate in.

The Innovation

Exeko uses creativity as a driver for social transformation, promoting social inclusion for people experiencing or at risk of exclusion. They operate from a core ethic: the presumption of equality of intelligence. For Exeko, intellectual marginality happens whenever someone (or a program, service, organization etc) dares to think in the place of some- body else – often because it is believed that the individuals can’t think for themselves. Exeko mly believes that everyone has the potential to re ect, analyze, act, create, and to become an integral part of society, irrespective of their social status or life course.

The Exeko approach is called Intellectual Mediation, which means approaching an individual taking into account their potential, not their problems; positioning oneself in an open dialogue on an equal footing.

Read how they are making change

The Winnipeg Boldness Project

Ways of knowing, being, feeling, doing

The Problem

Canada’s social systems, particularly its social welfare systems, have been designed for critical care intervention with families. Child welfare work is difficult work, but as a system, it’s about child protection, not about family unity. Legacy systems held in place by regulation and assumptions about best interests prevent the long-term growth of strong, interdependent families and thriving communities.

The Innovation

The Winnipeg Boldness Project is a holistic 6-year strategy aiming to create large-scale systems change in order to improve outcomes for families and communities in Point Douglas, Manitoba, particularly in the area of early childhood development. It will achieve the following three objectives:

  1. Generation of a strength-based narrative or community story that challenges negative perceptions of the North End of Winnipeg.
  2. Combining Collective Impact and Indigenous approaches the strategy will introduce a new lens for development based on ways of knowing, being, feeling and doing.
  3. The Winnipeg Boldness Project will collaboratively design and implement a preventative early childhood development six-year strategy. The intention is to keep families together in their communities, fortified with adequate supports and programs that will be more effective in producing positive outcomes.

Read how they are making change

Registered Disability Savings Plan

rdsp

The Problem

Due to improvements in life expectancy for people living with a disability, many are now outliving ther parents and close relatives. While this is a welcome change, it presents a new problem as it pertains to saving for health related costs into the future. Strict benefit guidelines prevent them from building financial assets that will allow for independence in their later life.

The Innovation

The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a powerful savings tool similar to a registered education savings plan, but designed specifically for people living with a disability. The Plan allows those living with a disability financial security well into older age avoiding the poverty trap and enabling independence.

The RDSP allows anyone eligible for the Disability Tax Credit to invest up to $200,000 in savings tax- free until withdrawal, and to spend the money in whatever way will benefit them most. Family mem- bers and friends can contribute to someone’s RDSP, and help plan for that person’s long-term financial security. The federal government matches contribu- tions through Canada Disability Savings Grants and Bonds. The Bonds – available without contributions – are especially valuable for people with limited financial means.

Read how they did it

Tags: Registered Disability Savings Plan, RDSP


Roots of Empathy

Roots of Empathy

Photo Credit: Melanie Gordon

The Problem

The Empathy Deficit: The absence of empathy underlies war, genocide, neglect, racism, abuse and marginalization of all kinds. Without empathy there is insufficient traction for conflict resolution and altruism is not possible. Empathy – the ability to understand how others feel – is at the core of our humanity.

The Innovation

Roots of Empathy’s mission is to build caring, peaceful, and civil societies through the development of empathy in chil- dren and adults. Developing empathy is the key to building understanding and breaking cycles of violence. The Roots of Empathy innovation is the discovery that we can do this most effectively with a tiny baby providing experiential learning for children in their classrooms.

Read how they did it

Tags: Roots of Empathy, ROE


Jane’s Walk

Jane's Walk

Photo Credit: Marko Peterlin

The Problem

Jane’s Walk is directly addressing problems associated with the walkability of cities and neighbourhoods. Walkability is a measurement of how inviting or un-inviting an area is to pedestrians. Improving walkability creates better social cohesion and stronger neighborhood relations.

The Innovation

Jane’s Walks are neighborhood tours coordinated and lead by local people. Jane’s Walks value local knowledge and community building. Part of the innovation of Jane’s Walk is acknowledging that everyone has a perspective on their neighborhood – no matter how long they have lived there. Underlying Jane’s Walk is the premise that people actually know more than they think they do about their city. One need not visit the central library to find out about a neighborhood’s history. Jane’s Walks use walking as a way to connect neighbours, local merchants and the broader community.

Read how they did it

Tags: Jane’s Walk, social innovation, community


JUMP Math

JUMP Math

The Problem

When it comes to learning, there is an assumption that some children are naturally gifted while others are not. This assumption creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure for many students. Left unchallenged, this myth results in huge economic and personal losses across a lifetime.

The Innovation

JUMP Math – Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies – challenges teaching and societal norms, creating a new education system that eliminates the assumption that there are natural hierarchies of ability. JUMP Math is a set of teaching tools: student assessment and practice books, guides for teachers with full lesson plans, and professional development.

The JUMP Math method of instruction, called “guided discovery,” takes account of various strengths and weaknesses of the brain that cognitive scientists have found play a key role in learning.

Read how they did it

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The Atmospheric Fund

GT-2 Exterior web

The Problem

The main contributors to climate change today are greenhouse gases. There has been a significant increase in the emission of greenhouse gases since the time of industrialization. Since 1980, damage due to climate change, storm damage and flooding has totalled more than $1.6 trillion worldwide. For municipalities globally, tackling greenhouse gas emissions is both a financial and a health imperative. Finding alternatives to a system dependent on fossil fuels is key.

The Solution

Launched in 1991, The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) was the world’s first municipal agency designed to innovate solutions to climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve air quality.

TAF produces outcomes by applying a rigorous methodology that leverages partnerships to expand its capacity and take pilot projects to scale. In this way, TAF uses a lab-like process to research, design, facilitate and implement the most effective solutions for emissions reductions.

Read how they did it

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Institut du Nouveau Monde

The Problem:

Citizens are not engaged with the decision-making process governing our democracy. They feel disempowered, disengaged and/or  incompetent. Without dialogue and a sense of contribution to the political process, democracy is compromised and representation shallow at best.

The Solution:

The Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM) is a non-partisan organization whose mission is to promote civic participation and renewal of ideas in Québec. Today, the main fields of expertise are MNI: citizen participation, participatory democracy, social acceptability, participatory governance, social entrepreneurship and social innovation.

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 Tyze

Tyze Users

The Problem

While 80% of care is given informally by loved ones in Canada, almost 100% of funding goes to the formal health care system. Despite this funding, formal health care dollars are severely stretched and cannot respond to the needs of an aging population and increasing numbers of people managing chronic and complex diseases. Supporting informal care in the community is a practical approach to reducing escalating health care costs and helping people to stay at home longer.

The Innovation

Tyze is a private and secure online community centred around a person requiring care. Like an online social network, individuals, families, friends, neighbours and care professionals use Tyze to connect to each other, track and strengthen the health and well-being of a loved one and/or patient and report back on progress. As a result of a Tyze network, health, happiness and work retention rates increase and formal health care costs are reduced as people are enabled to stay in their homes longer and out of the formal health care system.

Read how they did it

 

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