Getting to Maybe: A Social Innovation Residency 2018
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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
The Getting to Maybe residency has ambitious goals; we help committed change-makers learn how to definitively impact whole systems. The residency offers multiple opportunities to explore these kinds of significant objectives. It is simultaneously a retreat, a community, a course, a deep dive, a toolkit, and a crucible – a place where you bring specific challenges or projects and reimagine them to reveal new possibilities and strategic action for system change.
What does the program offer?
Who should apply?
This residency focuses on a broad spectrum of social and/or environmental justice domains. Therefore, participants are recognized as the experts in their challenge areas. We invite nominations of, or direct applications from, enthusiastic, self-reflective, committed individuals. Leaders from the private, social benefit, government, or philanthropic sectors with a passion and vision for change are invited to apply. We also welcome applications from innovators within arts and culture, and Indigenous communities.
This residency will benefit you most if you are:
- Passionate about refining your ideas that aim to address a complex problem
- Committed to finding ways to impact the relationships and energy flows within whole systems, even if that means changing how you work, who you work with, or what your project's impact looks like
- Ready to challenge your assumptions about your self, as well as your project – and the connections between the two
- Interested in deepening your understanding of the systems in which you live and work
- Eager to develop the self-awareness that leads to both internal and external transformation
- Open to exploring social innovation concepts through the powerful lenses of creative practices, collaborative thinking, and inspired learning, all rooted in Banff’s physical environment and Indigenous perspectives
- Sensing that in order to go ‘forward’, you may have reached the point where you need to go ‘deeper’
This residency is an outstanding opportunity for those holding the capacity and/or authority to catalyze others to join systems change efforts. We are particularly interested in impactful social innovators who also have experience with Indigenous leadership, creative practice, and/or environmental stewardship.
Join us for a free, one-hour live informational webinar and Q&A period on Friday, October 27 at 12:30 p.m. MST or on Tuesday, November 21 at 10:30 a.m. MST.
To register for this webinar, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this residency program, you will live and learn together at Banff Centre for 28 consecutive days in the incredible natural setting of Banff National Park. The program begins with an opening dinner and evening welcome activities.
The following four weeks will be as follows: 4.5 weekdays with a half day off (one afternoon per week) and 2 days off (weekends), with an assignment to complete before the next week begins.
Participants are required to live on-site and attend all program sessions.
Optional programming will be offered some evenings and weekends for those interested; possibilities include explorations of creative process, Indigenous culture, and wilderness experiences.
Learning Activities and Outcomes
In addition to classroom and personal engagement work, you will apply learning in multiple ways, including:
- Experiences in and with nature, the arts, and traditional cultural activities
- Journal writing and small group reflections
- Weekly written assignments to integrate and apply learning
- One-on-one learning sessions with faculty
- Facilitated application of learning to the development of your project idea
- Final presentation on the change in yourself and your project during the program
- Regular virtual connection with external, individual advisory groups
- Shared insights into the pressing issues that currently challenge individuals, organizations, and society as a whole
- Mapping complex systems to identify the real opportunities for change
- New theories on innovation, systems thinking, and complexity
- Introduction to design thinking and implications for strategy and actions that break through barriers
- Moving from theory to practical application in life and work; new ways to explain how change happens
- Begin to develop innovation strategies with the potential for durable, broad impact
- Exploring the key leadership qualities required of a system entrepreneur; learning to play this system leadership role effectively
- Guest speakers
Individual Reflective Learning
- Enhanced capacity to ‘stand still’ and to be reflective, to make meaning of complexity within the internal and external
- Deeper sense of empathy across usual barriers of difference and power
- Capacities to attend, to pay attention, and to deeply listen to yourself as well as systems
- Insights into your own biases and limited perceptions
- Increased understanding of concepts related to complex adaptive systems, resilience, and social innovation
- Enhanced skills to identify cross-scale opportunities, recognize relevant patterns, and act purposefully to help create conditions for system change
- New levels of comfort with uncertainty and risk
- Renewed energy and affirmation of your abilities for the ongoing work of social innovation
- Engage with the larger artistic and thought leadership community of Banff Centre, and attend performances and events
All Leadership participants who choose the Accommodation and Meal Package are provided private rooms with ensuite washrooms in one of our two onsite hotels, the Professional Development Centre or Lloyd Hall. Room upgrades may be available upon request at an additional cost.
If you choose the Accommodation and Meal Package, all of your meals from the start to the end of your program are included; most of your meals will be at Vistas Dining Room, but there may be some special dining events scheduled as well. Please also feel free to visit the Maclab Bistro, Le Café, Three Ravens Restaurant and Wine Bar, but note that these outlets are not included in your meal plan, and thus will be at additional cost.
Enrich your experience and get to know other artists on campus by taking advantage of the activities and support provided by our Participant Resources team.
The Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre is located in the lower floor of the Sally Borden Building, and provides all guests with access to our swimming pool, hot tub, steam room, climbing gym, fitness centre, spin studio, and gymnasium. Massage and physiotherapy appointments may also be booked ahead of time.
Fees & Financial Assistance
The Suncor Energy Foundation has provided financial support to cover all costs associated with tuition and food and accommodation for this program. This generous gift is offered with the goal of reducing financial barriers for leaders who are committed to meaningful self-discovery and dedicated to the development of creative ideas that might catalyze social innovation in very complex problem domains.
It is the Foundation’s hope that this support will result in a number of long-term, positive outcomes for the individuals who are the beneficiaries, as well as for durable, positive change on some of our communities' most pressing problems.
Travel to and from Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Alberta is the responsibility of each participant. A limited number of travel bursaries will be made available to applicants who demonstrate genuine financial need. Accommodation support for this residency includes accommodation and meal plan at Banff Centre for the duration of the program.
Support for Organizations
If your absence from an organization for the program’s four weeks would be a significant hardship, you may be eligible for financial support for offsetting some of the required human resources to take on organizational responsibilities. This support element is particularly relevant for very small organizations with limited staff.
Support for Families
If you have significant family responsibilities for care of young children, the elderly, or other dependent family members, you may be eligible for accommodation support. A limited number of family rooms will be available so that those who meet certain requirements can bring dependent family members with them for the duration of the residency. This support is particularly relevant for parents of young children who cannot be easily separated/substituted for an entire month. Please carefully consider the pros and cons of bringing dependent children with you while immersing yourself in this intensive learning and self-development program.
How to Apply
Signup or login to an existing account in our online SlideRoom portal. You may login and edit your submission as often as required. However, once your application materials have been submitted, no further changes will be allowed. Once you select submit, you will be notified that your fee is free and has been paid (this fee has been covered by Banff Centre).
Letter of Intent
Submit a letter of intent, limited to three pages double spaced.
Your letter of intent should:
- Identify the system(s) that you are hoping to change, and your capacity for and/or experience with working at a systems level.
- Describe your sense of how this program would be relevant, timely, and useful both personally and professionally for you.
- Describe your comfort or familiarity with practices to cultivate self-awareness and personal development, especially in relation to your calling as a social innovator. Include a statement on your openness to reassessing your personal relationship to this issue area.
- Describe your comfort or familiarity with exploring theoretical concepts through an academic lens for applied practice.
- Include an example of one of your current "big" questions about the system(s) that you operate within and/or the change that you hope to catalyze.
Refer to the following questions to guide your letter of intent:
What is your current involvement in a social innovation?
- What attracted you to your current project?
- How does it relate to who you are?
- What are your concerns, hesitations, and/or doubts about this project?
- What are your short and long term goals/ambitions regarding this project?
Would you like to nominate an outstanding candidate? We are accepting nominations on an ongoing basis.
Once a nomination is submitted, you and the candidate will receive a confirmation email, and the candidate will be invited to submit a resume and letter of intent (see above). Candidates who meet initial criteria will be provided with the full application package. Candidates are responsible for submitting all required application documents.
Nomination letters should include the below, and should be no longer than three pages in length:
- A description of the potential for the candidate’s capacity for learning, strategic leadership experience, and her or his creative, intellectual, and professional promise.
- Your thoughts on the relevance of this program to her or his career and life.
- How would the program’s focus on complex problems, systems thinking, and innovation strategies be relevant and useful in terms of the goals and objectives of the candidate’s work?
- The name, email address, and organization of the candidate.
Letters of nomination can be sent to email@example.com and should be in PDF format.
Application for this residency is adjudicated as follows:
- First stage of application: Signal your interest by completing the Online Information Form and uploading a current resume and letter of intent (see details below) by December 19, 2017.
- Wait! The selection committee will review all first stage submissions and you will be contacted before January 19, 2018 if you meet the criteria to move to the second stage.
- Second stage of application: Provide additional information and upload additional materials upon invitation.