Social Innovation or Program Design? (Community Inc. Field entry 14-10-01)

Bystander: Hey how was that social innovation webinar last week?

Community Inc: It was okay. A lot of great ideas but I wonder if any will actually get off the ground?

Bystander: Why wouldn’t they happen?

Community Inc: I think a lot of people talk about social innovation but really they are talking about program design. People think of innovative programs that will benefit those they serve but they don’t take a step outside of the box and engage their stakeholders in meaningful ways.

Bystander: But when people think of Policy change it ends up being all talk and no walk, no?

fishingCommunity Inc: Well there are people that can do both but it is very hard to be a “Leader in Action”. It’s hard to catch a fish if you don’t have a fishing pole.

Bystander: Why is that?

Community Inc: Well, I find that many groups, organizations, teams, and board still operate from an insular mentality of territoriality. They think they want to collaborate and perhaps they have some partners but it always seems forced by the funder and not driven by those whom the organization serves.

Bystander: Well that seems silly. Why can’t they develop their programs by asking those that they serve?

Community Inc: A-ha! Now we’re talking social innovation. I agree. Unless you are developing a stakeholder engagement philosophy from the grassroots level then really you are only pandering to the whim of your funder.


Bystander: Well how do I make that change in my organization?

Community Inc: Well I believe there are two ways. The first is that you take a Positive Risk and rethink your Board Governance model. The second is attend our workshop on November 20th in Kelowna or November 21st in Vancouver and learn about the Building Better Practice model that focuses on Community Governance.

Bystander: What is this model?

Community Inc: The model is comprised of four unique parts. I’ll tell you what: I will write my next four blogs on each of the four topics that I will be covering in the workshop on November 20th. But in the meantime they are:



LEAD through a Community Governance model


PLAN through a Non-Traditional Strategic Plan


ACT after you engage in Community Dialogue


EVALUATE with your constituents through Shared Leadership.


Bystander: What will this workshop do?

Community Inc: This workshop will give you the tools to take an innovative idea, develop meaningful partnership with your constituents and develop a Social Innovation using inclusive, welcoming, and outreach strategies. Then you will be ready to change your Leadership style.

Bystander: Cool, I want to sign up. How do I?

Community Inc: you can register here: or call me at 604-307-0454

About johnthornburn

Masters in Leadership graduate from Royal Roads University. An Engagement specialist engaged in various avenues of organizational and community development. Currently interested in social innovation, planning and engagement. View all posts by johnthornburn

One response to “Social Innovation or Program Design? (Community Inc. Field entry 14-10-01)

  • Ann Pedersen

    Hi John. Like the concept, but distance and current commitments (live and work in Manitoba) prevents me from participating in person. Will there be a podcast or web posting of some kind after the event has concluded?

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