Maximizing the Capacities of Advanced Education Institutions

Creative Placemaking

September 27, 2018

Building Social Infrastructures for Canadian Communities

Society faces challenges and uncertainties that threaten social cohesion and community well-being in Canada and around the world. Advanced education institutions are uniquely positioned to invent and scale the solutions needed to enable a better quality of life for all of society within planetary thresholds. Many of these solutions can be found in their existing assets and capacities, which, when directed at building social infrastructure, can reveal the pathway for citizens and their institutions to thrive.

This paper sets out the social imperative and the business case for accelerated social innovation, and introduces a typology of assets that advanced education institutions can harness. Further, it defines a social infrastructure architecture to facilitate this essential transition. It concludes with a set of collaborative actions that advanced education organizations can pursue together to foster breakthrough ideas, and poses questions for further research and investigation.

Students are at the heart of the advanced education mandate and central to catalyzing and scaling social innovation at institutions and beyond. This paper builds on this central idea, and thus turns its attention to other aspects of the institutional mandate that are complementary. Readers are encouraged to consider how students can be engaged in bringing the ideas represented in this discussion paper to life.


Written by Coro Strandberg. Commissioned by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s RECODE initiative and Simon Fraser University

© 2017. All rights reserved.

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