Changing course: New program paves the way for innovation
When you’ve got a big question with no clear answer, it’s time to innovate.
That’s what drew Glenda Tarnowski to Royal Roads Graduate Certificate in Corporate Social Innovation program.
As the director of professional practice for the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA), Tarnowski provides leadership support to licenced practical nurses (LPNs) in the delivery of safe, patient-centered care.
As the healthcare landscape changes and an aging population increases, so does the need for specialized and responsive healthcare.
She, along with the leadership team at CLPNA asked themselves, “How do we best prepare LPNs to meet the care needs of the changing demographic?”
Social innovation was made for questions like these, says Colleen McCormick, who teaches in the graduate certificate program and brings the principles and practices of social innovation alive as director of Connected Communities BC in the Ministry of Citizens’ Services.
“Social innovation is about co-creating solutions with the people who are living the problems,” she says. “Bringing diverse people and sectors together to radically collaborate on addressing a complex issue at the systems level is what makes the field of social innovation so fascinating to study and play in.”
McCormick says social innovators are driven by social impact, so they don't care much for “Band-Aid” fixes.
“These solution-seekers want to tackle problems head-on. This is not your traditional way of doing business.”
The six-month program is offered through Professional and Continuing Studies and is designed for those looking to incorporate social concerns and solutions into the very fabric of their organizations—whether in government, business or the non-profit sector.
Michael Lavis is the executive director for Creative Options Regina (COR), a non-profit organization that provides supports for adults and youth experiencing disability. He registered for the program to help him identify blind spots within the organization.
“The program is helping us better understand what drives innovation and to dissect and build a strong, healthy vibrant organization that has value for stakeholders,” he says.
Lavis says COR realized the benefit of focusing not only on the people who access supports, but also on caregivers. He says COR knows a strong, vibrant care team is key to providing exceptional care.
“We intentionally shifted our focus and looked at who all of our stakeholders are and what we’re doing to nurture those relationships,” he says. “The program is really helping us frame that.”
Assoc. Prof. Robert Mittelman, one of the program designers, says organizations are increasingly looking to build social needs into their business models.
“Corporate social innovation is about looking forward. It’s about using an intervention to address a social issue, whether it’s a new product, service or a change to how your organization operates,” Mittelman says. “It’s about putting that social issue at the centre of your business strategy.”
The blended program includes three applied courses that introduce participants to the foundations of corporate social innovation, design thinking and the principles of measurement and scale.
“Students go back to their organizations the next day, after a new module is released, and build change right from the start of the program,” Mittelman says.
Register to join Robert Mittelman online Sept. 6 for a webinar on the Graduate Certificate in Corporate Social Innovation program. Learn more about the program, application requirements and the Royal Roads University student experience