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Teach Cdns how they can develop their ideas without fear of others 'stealing' them

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 10/31/2016 1477947382
Most are ignorant to how patent law and copyright law works. Most ideas are never shared for fear that someone else will take and make money that shou .... Read more

Most are ignorant to how patent law and copyright law works. Most ideas are never shared for fear that someone else will take and make money that should be theirs.

I think we should treat this 'social or urban myth' with examples of how ideas can be shared and just as importantly, why they should be shared.

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Set 10 audacious goals for 2030

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 10/27/2016 1477603409
Establish 10 grand challenges for Canadian institutions and citizens to collectively solve by 2030. Align federal departments to champion and collabor .... Read more

Establish 10 grand challenges for Canadian institutions and citizens to collectively solve by 2030. Align federal departments to champion and collaborate cross-departmentally and across sectors around their particular challenge.

  • For example: Eradicate Child Poverty
  • Aligned Departments: ESDC; Heritage Canada – Status of Women; Finance Canada; Governor General of Canada; Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; & Intergovernmental Affairs.
  • Collaborate with provinces, cities, nonprofits & multi-sector platforms on aligned strategies and resources. For example, partnering with End Poverty YEG and Alberta’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, etc.
  • Integrated innovation approach: Activate integrated innovation assets to rapidly develop, prototype and look to scale proven interventions
Credit: Social Innovation Generation

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Accelerate Social R&D

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 10/27/2016 1477603337
The OECD estimates Canada spends over $300 billion on social outcomes. Unlocking Canada’s social assets, and dramatically improving Canada&rsquo .... Read more

The OECD estimates Canada spends over $300 billion on social outcomes. Unlocking Canada’s social assets, and dramatically improving Canada’s social performance, requires the intentional acceleration of Canada’s research and development capabilities across the social sector, aka “Social R&D:”

  1. Broaden eligibility for R&D funding and other federal support programs, to include nonprofit social impact organizations.
  2. Support the development of Social R&D open data infrastructure, metrics and assessment to accelerate impact as a learning sector.
  3. Expand and continuously update national well-being indices building on the Canadian Wellbeing and Social Progress indices.
  4. Support a dedicated Indigenous Innovation Demonstration Fund (IIDF) housed at Grand Challenges Canada.
  5. Provide long term funding for the applied research capabilities of universities and colleges to expand and integrate strong knowledge building, transfer and experiential learning partnerships with community organizations and business for social impact; examples are: the Community College Social Innovation Fund, ResearchImpact, LabWise, the UNB 7-lab network, the Systemic Design Exchange, CityStudio, Radius @SFU, RECODE, etc.
  6. Support development of a Pro Bono Marketplace (PBM) for skills-based volunteering that gives non-profits access to specialized management skills, tools and experience found in the private sector that they need in order to address specific challenges and opportunities, improve overall organizational learning and performance, and further strengthen working partnerships with the business community.
  7. Expand resources available for Social R&D through a contribution to the establishment of an arms-length multi-sector and multi-department fund that aggregates, reviews, and disburses philanthropic, private and public capital for high-impact experimentation. The fund would structure deals in a way that minimizes risk to public capital.
Credit: Social Innovation Generation

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Own it - Building Canada’s Brand

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 10/27/2016 1477603149
Establish Inclusive Innovation as Canada’s global brand, identified as all sectors combining strengths to develop new value capable of deploying .... Read more

Establish Inclusive Innovation as Canada’s global brand, identified as all sectors combining strengths to develop new value capable of deploying solutions to Canada’s big challenges in lockstep with economic objectives. Celebrate our storied legacy of inclusive innovation as part of Canada’s sesquicentennial, targeting the next 150 years as the era of inclusive innovation.

Credit: Social Innovation Generation

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An Integrated Inclusive Innovation Agenda

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 10/27/2016 1477603059
Successfully evolving Canada’s innovation system to generate inclusive growth and advance Canadians’ prosperity requires a concerted and c .... Read more

Successfully evolving Canada’s innovation system to generate inclusive growth and advance Canadians’ prosperity requires a concerted and comprehensive strategy integrating STEM, business and social innovation with coherent supports and platforms for co-creative innovation, incubation,market access, procurement, talent development, social financing and partnership building. Combining STEM, business, and social innovation leverages our national innovation assets in achieving inclusive innovation, reaping the benefits of inclusion as both a process and outcome of Canada’s innovation agenda.

Deploying an integrative strategy will mean federal funding and policy bodies accelerate:

  1. The integration of STEM, business and social innovation as the cornerstone of Canada’s Agenda, focusing innovation policy on achieving linked economic and social goals (shared value).
  2. A targeted plan to leverage social innovation as a mainstream practice of innovation and further develop the ecosystem of social innovators in response to core Government goals around reconciliation, youth leadership, the next economy, climate change etc.
Credit: Social Innovation Generation

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Fostering Innovation from Non-Traditional Sources

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 10/27/2016 1477536302
In a true innovative culture, innovation can and does come from many different sources.  Some may be traditional established companies or university .... Read more

In a true innovative culture, innovation can and does come from many different sources.  Some may be traditional established companies or university researchers, but in the modern age where access to information and ease of networking, collaborating and sharing of ideas have never been greater and “crowdsourcing” is increasingly becoming common, significant innovation is also being driven outside of these traditional sources.  Small startups, individual entrepreneurs, researchers and hobbyists, private collectives of innovators such as “hacker spaces”, and student teams and organizations are all filled with highly talented people and highly original ideas.  Moreover, these small, non-traditional innovators are typically much more nimble and have far less overhead than their larger, more established counterparts and as such can do “more with less”. 

Moreover, their work serves not only as a potential source of commercially viable products, technologies and future companies, but also as a direct, hands-on means of fostering learning, skills development and creativity that is invaluable in helping those who engage in it to reach their full potential as innovators and contributors to the creative economy.

To truly foster a culture of innovation, the government and its agencies should actively strive to make Canada among the most favourable countries in the world for this rapidly growing group of innovators.  The government should make it policy to recognize the existence of these small, non-traditional innovative groups and individuals as potentially valuable sources of both innovation and hands-on skills development, and ensure that support is specifically available to them that recognizes and is responsive to their unique needs, capabilities and situation, rather than being solely available to or heavily biased towards larger established companies and universities only. Such support may take the form of grants or funding, but could also include tax incentives, access to government facilities and government experts.

Not all innovators are the same, and the needs and abilities of individual or small groups of innovators are inherently different from those of large organizations, established companies and universities.  By ensuring support is specifically available to individuals and small groups engaged in innovative work, this large and growing source of innovation can be encouraged.

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Embrace & Support Social Innovation

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 10/13/2016 1476376836
We believe strongly that Canada's innovation agenda must include and embrace social innovation, which will enhance the well-being of Canadians and con .... Read more

We believe strongly that Canada's innovation agenda must include and embrace social innovation, which will enhance the well-being of Canadians and contribute to economic growth. An equitable, resilient, and sustainable Canada results in strong economic growth in the same way that the business world’s client-centric strategies deliver exponential growth and success to a corporation. As we see it, social innovation invites new thinking, new products and new ways of improving the lives of all Canadians. In order to stimulate, strengthen and scale up social innovation in Canada, the time has come to create a thriving social innovation ecosystem

Credit: United Way London & Middlesex

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Make it easier for Impact Investors to support nonprofit led social enterprise

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 09/16/2016 1474051233
There is a lot of interest in impact investing in Canada.  The concept of doing well while doing good is a very attractive triple bottom line proposi .... Read more

There is a lot of interest in impact investing in Canada.  The concept of doing well while doing good is a very attractive triple bottom line proposition.  Impact investors can provide longer term patient capital and take returns that are based on a return on inspiration as well as financial yield.

Despite the interest and the curiosity in impact investing, many would be investors in social enterprise are reluctant to give up an expectation of high financial return from perceived high risk investments in social enterprises.  This is particularly problematic for nonprofit social enterprises where mission is balanced with financial return.

Policy makers would do well to find innovative ways to support impact investing in nonprofit led social enterprises.  Patient capital with modest financial return expectations invested in nonprofit led social enterprise will yield high benefits on social, environmental and reconciliation goals.  Thoughtful tax policy, creative leverage opportunities and creation of pooled funds that can absorb some of the due diligence and monitoring costs can result in less dependence on government and help build the world we want for our grandchildren.

Credit: New Market Funds; Vancity; Renewal Funds; Tides Canada

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Support Nonprofit Social Entrepreneurs

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 09/16/2016 1474046097
Canada is rich with nonprofit social entrepreneurs who see market forces as a powerful tool to help change the world.  Realizing that government and .... Read more

Canada is rich with nonprofit social entrepreneurs who see market forces as a powerful tool to help change the world.  Realizing that government and foundation dollars will never be enough to meet social and environmental needs, nonprofit entrepreneurs are looking for ways to advance their mission with products and services that have commercial value.  What is missing is the funding to help get things started. 

Restricted by CRA regulations from the equity capital market, limited by a lack of collateral from debt financing, as charities unable to use credit cards and friends and family money, nonprofit social entrepreneurs have nowhere to turn for early stage capital to support business planning and market testing.  Grant funding is needed to provide nonprofit social enterprises with the resources to develop new ideas, test them in the market and put together the business plans to launch.   

Investment in nonprofit social entrepreneurship will yield triple bottom line results that can help address social, environmental and reconciliation challenges without growing dependence on subsidy dollars.  Early investment has to be in the pre-launch activities of idea formation, concept testing, market research and business planning.  Not all will succeed but those that do will help change the world.

 

Credit: Ecotrust Canada; Potluck Cafe; Climate Smart; The AMP; Ecotrust Canada Capital; the Binners Project

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Small changes that create ripple effects in standard business practices

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 09/07/2016 1473274118
Social Travel creates a group travel buying environment for all NGOs across Canada, and reinvests net profits into travel sustainability, while maint .... Read more

Social Travel creates a group travel buying environment for all NGOs across Canada, and reinvests net profits into travel sustainability, while maintaining current market prices.  All NGOs and socially conscious individuals are welcome to become member and enjoy an Uber like service meant to disrupt the centralization of travel buying today.

Credit: Matthew, Cloutier, Ashutosh Jha, Tim Ciostigan, Tanya Surman, Eryn Corbeil, Nadeem Qureshi

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Small changes that create ripple effects in standard business practices

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 09/07/2016 1473274117
Social Travel creates a group travel buying environment for all NGOs across Canada, and reinvests net profits into travel sustainability, while maint .... Read more

Social Travel creates a group travel buying environment for all NGOs across Canada, and reinvests net profits into travel sustainability, while maintaining current market prices.  All NGOs and socially conscious individuals are welcome to become member and enjoy an Uber like service meant to disrupt the centralization of travel buying today.

Credit: Matthew, Cloutier, Ashutosh Jha, Tim Ciostigan, Tanya Surman, Eryn Corbeil, Nadeem Qureshi

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Adopt an inclusive and coordinated approach to innovation programs, across disciplines and communities.

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 09/02/2016 1472843342
As Minister Bains recently said, “Canada needs a bold, coordinated strategy on innovation that delivers results for all Canadians.” It is .... Read more

As Minister Bains recently said, “Canada needs a bold, coordinated strategy on innovation that delivers results for all Canadians.” It is vital that in 2016, our approach to innovation is both an inclusive and coordinated one. A strategy that benefits only certain regions, industries, or disciplines will be insufficient for innovation leadership.

Without careful planning, the shift towards an increasingly tech-driven, globalized economy may exacerbate existing social disparities. An inclusive approach to innovation will make the most of the skills, qualifications, and ideas held across Canada’s diverse population, and in particular women, Indigenous peoples, and new Canadians.

Canada’s strategy must also promote new partnerships across sectors and borders, while avoiding duplication of efforts. Enhanced collaboration and greater integration among players in Canada’s innovation ecosystem must be a priority if public funds are to be invested as strategically and effectively as possible.

Mitacs supports these objectives by working with provincial, national and international partners across disciplines and sectors to improve Canadian productivity and growth. Our expansive network allows Mitacs’ innovation internships to be integrated into complimentary initiatives, avoiding duplication and presenting a simplified point of access for participants. Specifically, Mitacs has worked to support this coordination through partnerships with organizations like CIHR, SSHRC, NSERC, Genome Canada, NRC-IRAP and many more federally supported entities promoting Canadian innovation.

Finally, an inclusive and coordinated approach must recognize the continued importance of basic research. Mitacs encourages the federal government to support Canada’s granting councils, and to promote basic research at colleges, polytechnics and universities across Canada. Often, basic research leads to new discoveries, and support for untargeted research is important to our innovative future.

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Invest in Social Innovation & Social Enterprise Acceleration

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 09/01/2016 1472766620
Supporting social innovation will not only create more jobs & grow our economy, it also promise to address root causes and ultimately save governmen .... Read more
  1. Supporting social innovation will not only create more jobs & grow our economy, it also promise to address root causes and ultimately save government money by solving concrete social, environmental, cultural & economic challenges for generations to come.
  2. Support the entire social enterprise pipeline from inception to scale like any business sector e.g. auto, tech, bio-tech, mining, oil & gas etc.
  3. Increase Canadian access to education on complexity, innovation & design thinking
Credit: Centre for Social Innovation

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Play a Greater Role in International Social Innovation Leadership

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 08/26/2016 1472223620
Québec's social economy and Canada's co-operative movement are internationally recognized. This fall, Canada is hosting the Global Social Economy For .... Read more

Québec's social economy and Canada's co-operative movement are internationally recognized. This fall, Canada is hosting the Global Social Economy Forum, and the International Summit on Co-operatives, two of the largest conferences in the world on the social economy and co-operatives. Canada's rich social economy and co-operative leadership should be celebrated on the world stage by supporting the participation of Canadian organizations and institutions in international networks such as the United Nations Task Force on the Social Solidarity Economy, the OECD Forum on Social Innovations and others.

Credit: Canadian CED Network, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, Chantier de l'économie sociale

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Facilitate Social Innovation Knowledge Transfer

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 08/26/2016 1472223541
Adapt Québec's program for OLTIS (organisations de liaison et de transfert en innovation social) to create pan-Canadian social innovation knowledge t .... Read more

Adapt Québec's program for OLTIS (organisations de liaison et de transfert en innovation social) to create pan-Canadian social innovation knowledge transfer centres modelled after the TIESS.

Credit: Canadian CED Network, Chantier de l'économie sociale, Territoires innovantes en économie sociale et

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Invest in an Enabling National Ecosystem for Social Innovation and Inclusive Growth

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 08/26/2016 1472223467
Support innovation networks and communities of practice to connect relevant stakeholders across sectors, such as through the Social Enterprise Ecosyst .... Read more

Support innovation networks and communities of practice to connect relevant stakeholders across sectors, such as through the Social Enterprise Ecosystem Canada initiative being led by the Canadian CED Network, the Chantier de l'économie sociale, the Social Enterprise Institute and Buy Social Canada.

Credit: Canadian CED Network, Chantier de l'économie sociale, Social Enterprise Institute, Buy Social Canada

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Centralize and disseminate community information

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 08/23/2016 1471976610
When government departments announce events, initiatives, grants, programs, etc they should submit information into a central database, tagged with us .... Read more

When government departments announce events, initiatives, grants, programs, etc they should submit information into a central database, tagged with user selection filters (eg Heritage,Arts,Science,Aboriginal,Digital,Ontario etc), and dated. Allow Canadians to register and select the tags of interest such that new information is automatically pushed or emailed to interested parties. This way Canadians are proactively informed of news relevant to their needs, instead of finding out by accident, or never, as is most often the case. Searching through myriad government documents scattered over diverse platforms isn't practical. Think Google Alerts system for the Canadian government. Keep us informed EASILY.

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Create opportunities for multi-sectoral collaboration

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 08/19/2016 1471645425
Social entrepreneurs approaches complex challenges by bringing all the tools of all sectors to play on the challenge. This is different from social en .... Read more

Social entrepreneurs approaches complex challenges by bringing all the tools of all sectors to play on the challenge. This is different from social enterprise wherein it is mostly about NFP organization generating income to better meet their mandate (the UK is a leader in this space) or social purpose business like B Corps using a business first approach to develop socially or environmentally appropriate products and services (the US is a leader here). Canada can lead by creating opportunities for multi-sectoral engagement that allows different groups to come together to redefine and ultimately solve our complex challenges. This includes the work of places like the MaRS Solutions Lab; the creation of a pro bono marketplace being led by the McConnell Foundation, MaRS and Aimia; Studio Y; and the work of the Centre for Impact Investing to help fund this approach using the innovation tools of social finance. Let's hold a competition to determine which big challenge to address and then focus all we have to solve it by using our neutral spaces for cross sectoral collaboration facilitated by design and systems thinking. 

Credit: JW McConnell Family Foundation; MaRS Discovery District; Social Innovation Generation (SIG)

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Build An Online Global Mentoring Wisdom Tool - WisePeers.com

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 08/03/2016 1470237949
My idea for Canada to create a program called WisePeers. The idea to create a social media crowd sourcing platform that allows peers with diverse back .... Read more

My idea for Canada to create a program called WisePeers. The idea to create a social media crowd sourcing platform that allows peers with diverse background and located in different part of Canada and then in the world to connect positively. The connection will result in either improving an existing skill or brainstorming to resolve a problem facing one of the peers. It is an interdisciplinary online mentoring tool that helps different type of peers to interact and help each other in a chosen field. Canada will help make the world light wisdom one Wise Peer at a time in different categories mainly social entrepreneurship.

Canada will be the leader in creating the most positive social media site in the world that will light wisdom. Phase 1 of the project will be focused in Canada and different provinces and once results shows success we can move to Phase 2 and open it up globally.

WisePeers will let users choose a skill to be worked on from a predefined list created from the following common mentoring categories:

1) Youth related issues at school such as: lack of motivation to study, bullying, obesity, drug use, depression, lying,cheating, or expressing anger.

2) Career Development issues within private and public sector organizations such as: leadership, project management,career building, or learn new skill. mentor refugees to take the next step.

3) Entrepreneurship issues such as: risk taking, business planning, financial help, marketing, organization structure, or legal help.

Canada WisePeers innovation advantages:

- Can help information exchange and experience transfer.

- WisePeers can run on a larger scale than face to face mentoring interactions.

- Wise Peers can be assigned on an ad hoc basis without a centralized program.

- Allows peers to collaborate, reflect and connect as they are in one place which reduces the feelings of isolation.

- Ability to think through wisdom thoughts and questions prior to responding.

- WisePeers will offer global awarding ranks for both peers that they can build on to improve and become a wiser person in this world. It also provides a record of interactions. These ranks and records can used to build trust and recorded personal accomplishments. The ranking will be helping to define a realistic score for most influencing people in the world.

- WisePeers can make it easier for a peer to seek out more experiences peers based on complementary or similar skills and interests rather than superficial characteristics.

- Not constrained by geography and have huge potential to integrate all over the world.

- WisePeers can be advantageous for women and persons with disabilities due to a reduced emphasis on status,geographic location and demographics.

I own the rights for the name wisepeers.com and I have a complete design for the program that is not public yet and willing to share and take part in it.

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Encourage Social Innovation in Business

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 07/24/2016 1469378394
The Federal Government can develop policies, incentives and programs in collaboration with industry / business / trade associations and civil society .... Read more

The Federal Government can develop policies, incentives and programs in collaboration with industry / business / trade associations and civil society to encourage business and industry sectors to advance social innovation in business.  The government can use its procurement to encourage and engage its suppliers in pursuing social value through their businesses, rewarding those suppliers which excel in social value creation. The government can also require all recipients of any public funding (including grants) to demonstrate their social contributions and impacts. The government can build upon and promote this guide to corporate social innovation: http://corostrandberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/social-value-business-guide-corporate-social-innovation.pdf  

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Fab Labs Nation

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/11/2016 1468243720
Le français suit. The “Fab Labs Nation” project proposes a concerted strategy to equip Canada with a digital manufacturing interstructur .... Read more

Le français suit.

The “Fab Labs Nation” project proposes a concerted strategy to equip Canada with a digital manufacturing interstructure that makes it possible to promote, entrepreneurship and the creation of jobs of the future as well as innovation in communities and businesses.

A Fab Lab is a collaborative innovation laboratory equipped with digital production machine tools (3D printers, laser cutters, digital milling machines, etc.) and an innovation accelerator where students, engineers, inventors, creators and all those who have a project gather to go from the idea to the object. The Fab Lab offers its users the means necessary for professional digital design to conduct collaborative innovation projects, access to quick prototyping.

A true international community gravitates around the Fab Labs, by implementing laboratories in hundreds of cities and villages. The potential which emanates from them for economic and social development steadily increases and is explored in numerous sectors: health, creativity, education, entrepreneurship, etc. The Fab Labs are part of an open innovation movement and are the tangible tools of a Smart City.

 

L'initiative « Fab Labs Nation » propose une stratégie concertée pour doter le Canada d’une interstructure de fabrication numérique permettant de favoriser l'entrepreneuriat et la création d'emplois d'avenir, l'innovation dans les communautés et les entreprises.

Un Fab Lab est un laboratoire d’innovation collaborative équipé de machines-outils de fabrication numérique (imprimante 3D, découpe laser, fraiseuse numérique, etc.) et un accélérateur d'innovation où les étudiants, les ingénieurs, les inventeurs, les créateurs et tous ceux qui ont un projet entrepreneurial se réunissent pour passer de l’idée à l’objet. Le Fab Lab offre à ses usagers les moyens de conception numérique professionnel nécessaires pour mener des projets d’innovation collaboratifs, l'accès au prototypage rapide.

Une véritable communauté internationale gravite autour des Fab Labs, par l'implantation de laboratoires dans des centaines de villes et villages. Le potentiel qui en découle pour le développement économique et social croit sans cesse et est exploré dans de multiples secteurs : santé, créativité, éducation, entrepreneurship, etc.. Les Fab Labs font partie du mouvement d'innovation ouverte (open innovation) et sont les outils concrets d'une Ville intelligente (Smart City).

 Source : http://www.communautique.quebec/portfolio-items/fablabs-nation/?portfolioID=33

 

 

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Social Innovation of Collaborative Commons - to Complement Rapid Technological Innovation

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 07/10/2016 1468165446
Rapid technological advances are both enabling and driving a shift toward Collaborative Commons (CC) as a socio-economic paradigm of the future (see B .... Read more

Rapid technological advances are both enabling and driving a shift toward Collaborative Commons (CC) as a socio-economic paradigm of the future (see Background below). 

Social innovation, parallel to technological innovation, is needed to

  • Maximize the opportunities and benefits for ALL Canadians from CC
  • Minimize the inevitable disruption to lives during  transition to CC
  • Enable graceful transitional or sustained interplay with existing socio-economic models (as needed)
  • Discover the limits and avoid any pitfalls of CC
  • Engender trust among participants in CC
  • Develop a minimally intrusive Canadian regulatory framework to facilitate the above

To that end, the following is recommended:

  • Increase funding for Collaborative Commons academic research in social sciences and economics with the above objectives.
  • Establish a social entrepreneurship fund to support creation of specifically micro Collaborative Commons, and functional elements of Collaborative Commons.  Evaluate results.
  • Hold national events and competitions in Collaborative Commons innovation.
  • Develop prototype regulations relating to Collaborative Commons and run regulatory pilots to discover what works, before enacting (or not) fully into law.
  • Engage Canadians about Collaborative Commons to gather maximum diversity of ideas and input and generally garner buy-in (or not).
  • Collaborate with like-minded democratic states for additional innovation diversity and synergistic global implementation of Collaborative Commons

Background and Why

Society (and economy) is on the cusp of a dramatic disruption due to exponential rise in technological capability.   Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics borne out of radical escalation of compute power, coupled with advances in sensor and communication technologies, and the ubiquity of the Internet have spawned the Internet of Things (IoT).  IoT is resolutely driving us into the Fourth Industrial revolution dominated by cyber-physical systems.  This will not only sharply reduce the need for human labour, it will also increasingly chip away the volume of human intellect and oversight needed.

At the same time, the Web is enabling the sharing economy.  It’s taking hold due to the inherent pull of convenience and cost savings, personal economic necessity, and desire for environmental sustainability.  The latter is also driving the Circular Economy, where materials and energy embedded in end-of-life products are recirculated into new goods and energy.  Both the sharing and circular economies will reduce the total volume of manufactured goods and raw materials needed, again correspondingly reducing the total human labour, intellect and oversight needed.

The double whammy of efficiencies and the reduced need for goods from above will, for many, reduce or eliminate the means for equitable living and ability to retain agency in society and economy.  Under the existing socio-economic paradigms, this concern will only deepen with ongoing technological advancements, further hollowing out the middle class.  The answer is definitely NOT to stall or stop technology.  On the contrary, Canadian technological innovation must forge ahead at full steam to enable us to compete internationally and grow the total national wealth.  However, social innovation must be tapped to enable ALL Canadians to both contribute to and take from the common wealth, and have full societal agency.

Fortunately an emerging “COLLABORATIVE COMMONS” paradigm shows promise as a new socio-economic order – both organically enabled by the Internet of Things, as well as a reaction to its impacts and side effects.  Collaborative Commons (CC) is characterised by open source information, technology and energy; the blurring of consumer vs. producers into prosumers; access to products becoming the norm over product ownership; and rise of the gig economy over traditional employment.  Basically, it’s a society where citizens and organizations openly collaborate to both create common wealth and draw from it.

While ad-hoc CC instances in some sectors are already generating benefits for its constituents, there are still many unanswered questions and challenges going forward.  What are the trade-offs between different CC models and what model(s) work best?  How can trust, which is critical to collaboration, be engendered and supported among participants? What might be some negative side-effects of CC?  How does CC interplay with traditional market economies, what sectors are best suited for CC, and what are the transition timeframes and trade-offs? What regulatory supports are needed to enable, ease transition, and protect against undesired aspects of the CC?  A heavy dose of Social Innovation is needed now to address the unknowns so that civil society can come out whole on the other side of the transition into Collaborative Commons.

This and related topics are skillfully covered by economist Jeremy Rifkin in The Zero Marginal Cost Society, and related works such as The Sharing Economy by Arun Sundararajan, and Makers and Takers by Rana Foroohar.

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