Getting to Maybe: Social Innovation

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Social innovation is any initiative that challenges and, over time, contributes to changing the defining routines, resource and authority flows, or beliefs of the broader social system in which (the initiative) is introduced. Successful social innovations have durability, scale, and transformative impact. –Frances Westley

Social innovation mindsets and skills are needed now more than ever to tackle the urgent challenges of our times. Complex problems confront individuals, organizations, and communities in many different sectors. Whether your concerns lie with culture, climate, industry, justice, or policy, creating the change we need in the world depends on gaining knowledge and finding new approaches. The Getting to Maybe program prepares participants to delve into systems change and make an impact.

Please note: the Getting to Maybe residency is currently undergoing a thoughtful redesign for the next iteration of programming. Sign up for our newsletter to receive information about an upcoming launch of new, exciting social innovation programs beginning in spring 2020. The application period for these programs will open in late fall 2019. 




Residency Partnership

Getting to Maybe: A Social Innovation Residency is a collaboration between Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and the faculty and staff affiliated with the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience at the University of Waterloo, with the generous support of Suncor Energy Foundation.


Suncor Energy FoundationWaterloo Institute for Social InnovationSocial Innovation Generation


Co-directors: Dr. Frances Westley and Dr. Julian Norris

Faculty: Cheryl Rose, MSc; Dan McCarthy, PhD; and Don McIntyre.

For faculty biographies and a full program overview, please visit our Getting to Maybe program page


Episode One: The Discomfort Zone: Some uncomfortable truths about changing ourselves for social change. 


Maybe is a podcast series about the realities of working for social innovation. This series is inspired by participants in the Banff Centre’s social innovation program, Getting to Maybe—a Leadership residency with the ambitious goal of helping committed change-makers learn how to significantly impact whole systems. In these podcasts, you’ll listen to people who must thoughtfully consider just what it will take to be and know and act in very new ways for the kind of future we all hope for. Listen to how they’ve made friends with risk and uncertainty, witness their commitment to always being in learning mode, and be inspired to believe that the change the world needs is possible!