Learning to identify & change system dynamics that create complex problems in the first place

At the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR), we are committed to generating trans- and inter-disciplinary knowledge about social innovations and the social innovation process (the dynamics of learning, adaptation and resilience).

Our approach is to pursue collaborative research and projects that bridge University of Waterloo departments, involve researchers from around the world, and engage those beyond academia.

WISIR seeks to mobilize this knowledge through a range of new curriculum offerings and training opportunities - both within and outside of a university setting.

Origins

The Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) is an outcome of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and Social Innovation Generation (SiG) project at the University of Waterloo (SiG@Waterloo).

SiG is a national initiative focused on advancing understanding of and building the capacity for social innovation in Canada. The work has been carried out by a collaborative partnership of The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, University of Waterloo, the Mars Discovery District, and the Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) Institute

The project's ultimate goal is to support whole system change through changing broader economic, cultural and policy contexts in Canada to allow social innovations to flourish.

Purpose

Knowledge generation, dissemination and facilitation

WISIR is committed to generating inter-disciplinary knowledge about social innovations and the social innovation process in Canada and internationally - particularly the dynamics of learning, adaptation and innovation in the arena of sustainable development and in the mental health domain (identified as one of the most pressing challenges of engaging vulnerable populations).

To achieve this goal, WISIR pursues collaborative research projects that bridge uWaterloo faculties, engage researchers from different universities, and extend beyond the academic community.

WISIR mobilizes this knowledge through a range of curriculum offerings and training opportunities within and outside the university setting, including the Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation.

Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience logo

Foundational work

social innovation generation logo

Strategic focus of SiG@Waterloo, 2007-2015

Since the SiG project began in 2007, we have sought to disseminate new knowledge through publications and learning events from graduate programs to lecture series developed inside and outside the university research community. 

Why University of Waterloo?

University of Waterloo is Canada’s most innovative university, its recognized expertise is in a range of disciplinary areas concerned with systems, complexity and innovation, and its demonstrated commitment to cross-sectoral collaborations provide a rich and supportive environment for WISIR.

WISIR is housed within the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development in the Faculty of Environment.

The work of WISIR further reinforces and help realize uWaterloo’s statement that,

In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow.