Social Innovation Bootcamp 2017

Posted on November 03, 2017

“Great speakers sharing real-life experiences and motivations behind leading social innovation”.

-       Casandra George, AMBA’18

On October 13th & 14th Smith School of Business students came together for the Social Innovation Bootcamp to gain knowledge and skill development in social innovation and values-based leadership. The Bootcamp, designed for Smith students who are earning their Certificate in Social Impact alongside their degree, is an engaging opportunity for students to connect with like-minded peers and business leaders to develop impactful and effective solutions to social challenges.

The Bootcamp kicked off with keynote speaker Hamoon Ekhtiari, Founder and Managing Partner of Audacious Futures.  Hamoon shared how leading with your values can present career opportunities and make a positive difference in the world.  He challenged the group to look at 10 essential technologies, such as blockchain, big data, and artificial intelligence, and consider how they can be applied to social issues by using social innovation approaches.  Ann Mathulla, BCom’20, shared what she learned from Hamoon’s talk: “…it challenged me to be innovative. We identified a social issue and created a holistic solution. We were encouraged to ask 'why' and discover the causes behind problems to create effective solutions. The session allowed me to expand my thinking and to dive beneath the surface level to find intersections with technology, philosophy, and humanity.”

Hamoon’s session set the stage for the design thinking workshop with Patrick Glinski, Senior Vice President at Idea Couture and BCom’04 graduate. Patrick’s work focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration between business strategy and social sciences, and the opportunity to transform the quality of health and wellness experiences.

Patrick guided student teams through a process of creative problem solving that takes a human centered approach. Design thinking considers different points of view and experiences in the design process, and brings together business strategies, design sensibilities, and user appreciation to advance a solution.  Patrick’s exercise illustrated how insights into a consumer’s experience can generate a deeper understanding of possible solutions.  Gaining insight into people’s experiences is one step toward designing products and services that help to create meaningful and relevant solutions for clients, and inspire change. 

New skill sets such as design thinking add value that can enhance students’ careers and their ability to serve their communities. Students in the Certificate in Social Impact program devote their time advancing social impact in their communities through volunteer outreach work. During the event, we heard directly from Smith AMBA graduates about their experiences volunteering on foundation and community organization boards and how these leadership roles provide them with further opportunities for skill development while also advancing community initiatives.

The 2017 Social Innovation Bootcamp was well-received by all who attended. The combination of speaker insights and applied practice present a unique opportunity for students to think about how they can use social innovation approaches in their careers and communities to advance social change. As Hilary Burgi, B.Com'19 reflected: "every speaker provided their own unique and intelligent perspective, which opened my eyes to the many channels one can go about creating social change. I learned a great deal while networking with people who shared my passions,”

The Centre wishes to thank each of our speakers for their participation:

Hamoon Ekhtiari, Founder and CEO, Audacious Futures

Patrick Glinski, Senior Vice President, Idea Couture Inc.

Ahilan Kumaraverl, Business Management Associate – Global Banking & Markets, HSBC Canada

Lisa Orr, Founder and Chief Etiquette and Protocol Consultant, Orr Etiquette and Designer, LaBroga Inc.

Anthony Sturgeon, Account Manager, Export Development Canada









Tags: Events