OUR STORY

The ABSI Connect Fellows formed in August 2015 to get at the heart of the question:

How can we do better at solving complex social and environmental problems in our province?

Inspiring this question was the diverse and rich research, initiatives, networks, interest and questions surfacing around social innovation in Alberta.

Here are a few of the milestones that ignited and influenced our journey:

MARCH-DEC 2014 The Social Innovation Endowment is born and then cancelled. Created by the Government of Alberta in 2014

MARCH-DEC 2014

The Social Innovation Endowment is born and then cancelled.

Created by the Government of Alberta in 2014

mid'14-sept 2015 Social Innovation Ecosystem Mapping: Preliminary Findings for Alberta released. Co-facilitated by the Government of Alberta’s Social Innovation Team and the CoLab, located within Alberta Energy

mid'14-sept 2015

Social Innovation Ecosystem Mapping: Preliminary Findings for Alberta released.

Co-facilitated by the Government of Alberta’s Social Innovation Team and the CoLab, located within Alberta Energy

In response to these milestones, interest grew in the creation of ‘community builder fellowships’ to meaningfully enrich the social impact community with a shared capacity to embrace and accelerate social innovation...

The ABSI Connect Fellows were born!

 

PHASE 1

From August 2015 - April 2016, the inaugural cohort of Fellows put social innovation full-time in the middle of our desks, with a bold mandate to...

  • To deeply and critically explore the ‘social innovation ecosystem’ in Alberta;

  • To provide capacity - resources, time, convening, connecting, storytelling - to nurture the growing social innovation movement and tell a shared story of social innovation in Alberta; and

  • To develop a common agenda for moving forward on social innovation together.

To fulfill this mandate, we looked for those who were going beyond the status quo to better understand and address the root causes of our province’s most complex economic, social and environmental challenges.

We learned from people quietly pursuing radical opportunities leading to incredible impact and we were surprised, challenged, inspired, humbled and honoured by what we heard.

Our term came to a close on April 8, 2016 with the release of our report: "The Future of Social Innovation in Alberta" where we shared the story of social innovation in Alberta as we heard it, as well as the both powerful and daunting patterns around how we speak about, fund, take risks, grow and plan for transformational impact. 

To really put social innovation to work in Alberta, we believed these patterns must be named, noticed and either responded to or enriched.

To that end, we suggested pathways forward for each pattern named, leading to what we see as a common agenda for moving together in a uniquely Albertan way toward a stronger, more resilient social innovation ecosystem.

PHASE 2

Phase 2 is our new chapter. How do we put what we have learned into action and in service to the ecosystem as a whole? How do we support the move from common agenda to common action?

Now in Phase 2, we seek to weave the social innovation ecosystem in Alberta together, developing stronger relationships between the disparate parts to support social innovation in action.

As we go forward, it is our pleasure to share - from our desk to yours - what we hear, learn and see as opportunities for us to put our desks together to pursue some radically, fruitful social change in Alberta.