Applications are now being accepted for the 2019 Civic Innovation Change Lab co-hosted by SFU Beedie, RADIUS SFU, CityStudio Vancouver, and SFU Semester in Dialogue. Local partners include the City of Vancouver and other leading community organizations.
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, with the core practices of Dialogue, Design Thinking, and Business Model Development to allow students to become capable of producing impactful social innovations in cities.
2019 Theme: Neighbourhood Resilience
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:
- Fostering social cohesion
- Developing more localized economies
- Producing and distributing food locally
- Transforming our lifestyles to tread more lightly on the environment
- Finding new ways to include marginalized groups (eg. seniors, folks with disabilities, etc.)
- Engaging more citizens within decision-making processes
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.
What do students learn and do?
Participants work in teams to understand a Civic Innovation-related challenge as presented by City of Vancouver staff, then develop and test an innovative, venture-based 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.
Personal Learning and Leadership
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:
- developing and testing real ideas,
- getting out of the classroom and talking to people, and
- taking responsibility for the direction of your learning during the term.
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.
The specific credits that you are awarded are:
- BUS 453 (Sustainable Innovation) – 3 credits
- BUS 494 (Iteration and Prototyping) – 3 credits
- DIAL 461 (Field Placement in Dialogue & Engagement) – 3 credits
The official class times are the following:
- Tuesdays 11:30am – 5:20pm at CityStudio Vancouver.
- Thursdays 2:30pm – 5:20pm at the RADIUS Social Innovation Hub
You will also have access to CityStudio’s studio space and group rooms from 9am-11:30am on Tuesdays, and all day Wednesdays. If your schedule allows for it, we recommend leaving those times free from other classes so that you can work with your group during these times.
There is a day-long (9am-5pm) offsite retreat on Jan. 15, 2019, expenses covered.
Change Lab programs are open to SFU students only and are application-based. There are typically many more applicants that spaces available. The first round of applications will be open from September 20 to October 15, 2018. The second round will open October 22, 2018 if spaces remain available.
You do not need any past business or civic innovation 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):
- 60 credits
- 2.67 GPA
- Some relevant work or volunteer experience
For more information and to learn how to apply, visit the RADIUS SFU website.
Sponsors & Partners
Change Lab programs are generously supported by Scott Shaw. Civic Innovation Change Lab is collaboratively offered by RADIUS SFU, Beedie School of Business, SFU Semester in Dialogue, and CityStudio Vancouver.