Research and Innovation

Across our programs, there are elements of the work that require us to look more critically at how our systems are being held in place. We ask ourselves and our peers, can we influence changes in the flow of resources in search of more equitable and sustainable outcomes?

Image by Solen Feyissa

Diverting flows

It is often apparent that good ideas and better ways of doing things are prevented from entering into the mainstream by a lack of resources, a missing connection or an inflexible process. 

We examine current resource flows – be they capital, knowledge, know-how, supports or permissions – and explore their capacity to change course. Social R&D practitioner, Jason Pearman likens it to changing the plumbing of a system.

At SI Canada, we are part plumber, part project manager, looking to invite in a cohort of plumbers to work together on redesigning and redeploying capital flows to achieve more equitable, sustaining change. 

Read the articles “All Hands On Deck: Enabling Social Innovation,” to see how this approach could play out if applied to government investment in post-secondary innovation; and the landscape report, Canada’s Social Innovation Ecosystem.

Bettering practice

The field of social innovation practice has evolved greatly over the past 20 years. What was largely confined to academic literature now appears as Offices of Social Innovation in government, dedicated Social Innovation Labs, policies, enterprises,  design studios, undergraduate programs and more. 

While the concept is not new, it is more present than ever before. 

This increasing attention creates opportunities to understand what works in practice and what needs adjustment, redesign or shelving. At SI Canada, we contend that approaches to social finance, social enterprise, labs, impact measurement, community innovation, Social R&D and more, comprise the ecosystem of social innovation, and each approach is imperfect, invites critique and is capable of improvement. 

Continuing to examine the processes and approaches we use and socialize with others, is part of the work to seek better outcomes. It’s its own kind of R&D for social innovation.


Are you working upsteam on systems challenges?