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Shining light on our thinking & doing, our epiphanies & struggles, & our movement.

“ALL Inn.”: Building Alberta’s Social Innovation Environment

The harsh reality is new ways of doing things in an old system typically yields old results. It’s akin to planting a flower in the middle of a desert. Embracing the recommended core disciplines (‘action’, ‘learning’ and ‘leveraging’), guided by new mindsets (‘co-creation’, ‘electric judo’ and ‘systems health’) and an ecosystems approach presents the best chance of producing the culture change we need, serving the goals of the government, and maximizing the potential of the SIE for all Albertans.

Perhaps the crux of the matter was addressed in one question within the consultation documents: “How can we leverage ALL types of innovation?”

The acronym for “action”, “leveraging” and “learning” added to “innovation” could be “ALL Inn.”

This could be Alberta’s rallying cry and represent:
• Innovation will be everywhere.
• Innovation includes everyone/everyone has a role.
• Alberta is committed to the innovation agenda.

We applaud the Alberta Government for taking the bold step of creating a Social Innovation Endowment. As a partner in this work, we see ourselves as accountable for doing all we can to ensure the success of the SIE in Alberta and championing its future. We believe that Government should hold the social innovation sector to high account as a partner in this work and empower it to do the work needed so that all Albertans may benefit from the opportunities that social innovation holds.

If the SIE is to achieve its ambitious, arguably audacious, goal of solving ‘wicked problems’, Alberta will have to go “ALL Inn.”.

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Key Elements of a Federal Government Social Enterprise Strategy

At its core, social enterprise embodies two elements: the passion for addressing social challenges and the generation of market-based revenues in support of that social purpose. Regardless of whether the social enterprise is an individual or an organization, regardless of their choice of incorporation – non-profit or for-profit, these two elements are the driving force.

Those two elements aren’t just identifiers. It is the conjunction of those two elements, bringing together the power markets and social purpose, which is at the heart of the incredible promise of social enterprise. While it has always been assumed that business activity produces an indirect benefit to its community (e.g. through employment and tax revenue), social enterprise brings the power of ‘social’ more deeply into the business world, daring to ask what profits could be made and advances could be achieved if businesses embedded in their value propositions a commitment to directly solve the world’s biggest and most perplexing social challenges. For social organizations, social enterprise brings the power of markets to make them more financially sustainable and take their social impact to the next level.

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