2013's First Tuesday, facilitated by Brian Hoessler of Strong Roots Consulting, focused on social innovation. How do we create solutions to those complex social issues that can't be solved by a silver bullet or a best practice? What needs to be done to support social innovation locally and in Saskatchewan?
Perceptions and communications. It was a readily identified barrier to fostering #socent gy the group
How do you pitch a radically new idea to a potential funder or supporter who may think your idea is a bit off the wall?
We quickly realized that we need to do a better job at promoting local success stories in social innovation. Saskatchewan has been at the leading edge of innovation in the past - think universal healthcare or the co-op movement - and continues to be home to innovative people doing amazing things to improve our communities. We need to celebrate those past and current successes to help convince funders and other gatekeepers to support new ideas.
Building a supportive network; another must.
True innovations often breed pushback from those who benefit from the status quo or simply can't see another way of doing things. Bringing people together to share experiences and resources can help take an idea from the back of a napkin to reality despite the naysayers. Networks and foundations that support social innovators operate nationally and internationally, such as Echoing Green, Ashoka, and the McConnell Foundation, but nothing like that exists here in Saskatoon or Saskatchewan ... yet.
Building a supportive environment in Saskatchewan for social innovation won't happen overnight, but there was definitely interest and enthusiasm for continuing the conversation past this First Tuesday! One idea that Brian will pursue is hosting a larger meetup of people interested in the topic, inviting funders, nonprofits, government officials, philanthropists, businesses, community members, and of course the social innovators themselves. This event will of course be innovative itself, using an "unconference" model like the tech-focused Barcamp Saskatoon http://barcampsaskatoon.org or Open Space Technology Watch this space for news on that front, and if you're interested in participating or helping bring this forward, drop Brian a line!