York Region’s Innovation Clubhouse / Le centre de l’innovation de la région de York

By David Phipps, RIR-York

What do you do on a sunny Saturday? If you are an innovator or entrepreneur in York Region you would be playing in your innovation clubhouse, the Markham Convergence Centre. RIR-York was there.

Que faites-vous par un samedi après-midi ensoleillé? Si vous étiez un innovateur ou un entrepreneur de la région de York, vous seriez probablement présent à votre centre de l’innovation, le Markham Convergence Centre. RIR-York y était.

There are 14 Ontario Regional Innovation Centres, part of the Ontario Network of Excellence. York Region is proud to have ventureLAB. All of the Regional Innovation Centres have strong connections to universities, colleges and local businesses. ventureLAB is one of the few who welcome social innovation.

ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR), represented by RIR-York, exhibited at the September 24, 2011 Markham Convergence Centre (MCC) Open House. MCC is home to ventureLAB as well as Innovation York, York University’s industry outreach service, and other industry service providers such as the York Technology Alliance (YTA), Markham Small Business Centre and Markham Board of Trade. The Open House featured remarks by Robert Haché (Vice-President Research & Innovation, York University), Jeremy Laurin (CEO, ventureLAB), Bill Fisch (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Regional Municipality of York) and Frank Scarpetti (Mayor, Town of Markham). Mike “Pinball” Clemons was on hand to talk about team work, collaboration and about finding the sweet spot. He observed that the MCC agencies demonstrated that character and education are required for innovation. He also talked about social services and community learning as important outcomes of innovation.

Working as a clubhouse the innovation organizations at the MCC practice knowledge mobilization every day. Through networking events similar to KM in the AM and York’s KMb Expo, both of which we have held at MCC, they broker relationships between industry, government, academic and community sectors so that innovators and entrepreneurs can collaborate and new products and social services.

Michael Johnny and David Phipps staffed the RIR booth at the MCC Open House. They spoke to companies, angel investors, Regional and municipal staff and politicians about York University’s KMb services. It is these KMb services that help produce social innovations like the Green Economy Centre and the PARC Heat Registry.

It was great to hear about York Region technology companies and the services provided to help them grow. It was also great for Pinball Clemons to stretch the concept of innovation to include collaboration and social outcomes. And among all of this energy York continues to put the social in innovation.

2011 York KMb Expo – Putting the Social In Innovation / L’Expo MdC 2011 de York – Mettre le social dans l’innovation

By Michael Johnny (RIR-York)

On June 15, York’s Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) Unit hosted its 5th Annual KMb Expo. Social Innovation was the central theme for the day, linking knowledge mobilization as a process that leads to social innovation.

Le 15 juin, l’Unité de mobilisation des connaissances (MdC) de York a été l’hôte de la 5e édition de l’Expo MdC. L’innovation sociale en était le thème central. On y a en effet expliqué de quelle façon la mobilisation des connaissances, en tant que processus, menait à l’innovation sociale.

For five years York’s KMb Unit has been creating relationships between York University and agencies in York Region and beyond. The outcomes of these relationships are social innovations that create new solutions to persistent social challenges. KMb Expo 2011 focused on these social innovations, which are the outcomes of the knowledge mobilization process. KMb Expo 2011 also looked to create the vision of how we can collaborate on a system of social innovation in York Region.

On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, approximately 100 university researchers, community leaders, community-based researchers, and government policy professionals gathered at the Markham Convergence Centre for networking, speakers, and workshops designed to introduce and inform people about the KMb Unit’s support of a broader social innovation agenda for York Region. There were five main components to the agenda:

  1. Emerging Opportunities for Ontario’s Community Sector: Newmarket Councillor and Co-Chair of York Region’s Human Services Planning Board, John Taylor, introduced York Region’s ‘Making Ends Meet’ report, aimed to introduce residents to the Region’s priority items and blueprint for action to address human service priority issues. Among the notable points was a direct call to York University to partner to leverage its research capacity to help address the priority area of poverty reduction for York Region.
  2. How University-Community Collaboration Produces Social Benefits: Two case studies were presented by community organization leaders, Valerie Ryan, CEO of Nottawasaga Futures, and Janice Chu, Director of Community Investments for the United Way of York Region. Each study highlighted KMb Unit involvement as a catalyst to support action-oriented change within their respective organizations.
  3. Lunch Keynote: Stan Shapson and Daniele Zanotti spoke of the importance of social innovation for York Region and York University. Daniele announced Change Inc. as an incubator to promote and develop social innovation within York Region.
  4. Networking Break: All attendees visited 8 exhibitor booths and had their Passport to Collaboration stamped with a chance to win a fabulous prize. The opportunity to network remains one of the most sought after goals by attendees of our Expos.
  5. Optional Capacity Building Sessions: Attendees could opt in to attend one of the following sessions: Research 101, KMb 101, or Social Media 101. The opportunity to utilize KMb as a platform to build capacity for our community partners to engage in research and knowledge-based collaborations is an emerging priority.

The outcomes from the day were positive, with a high response of satisfaction with the agenda items.  The positive feedback for the Passport to Collabortion as an innovative networking solution was notable, as was the chance for people to hear actual stories of social innovation. Of course, we listen to all feedback and respect the desire people had for more interaction; our Expo is merely an introduction to dialogue on certain issues and topics.

Be sure to continue to follow our blog for news of new activities in the Fall and Winter months as well as for ongoing opportunities to engage with researchers, government, and community leaders on topics and priorities that are important to you. But you’re more than welcome to contact the KMb Unit directly to discuss any research or knowledge-based needs you may have. We’re a very social group here and happy to assist you!

YorkU’s KMb Expo 2011- there’s still time to register!

Join us next week on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011, when York University’s KMb Unit will host their annual KM Expo at the Markham Convergence Centre.

The theme of the YorkU KMb Expo 2011 is “Putting the Social in Innovation for York Region”. The 4th annual York KMb Expo will explore the relationship between knowledge mobilization and social innovation in York Region. The day will feature plenary discussions, networking sessions and optional workshops. Registration is free but space is limited to 80 participants. Attendees can sign up for the whole day or just for one of the afternoon workshops. Register now at kmbexpo2011.eventbrite.com

Overview – For four years York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit has been creating relationships between York University and agencies in York Region and beyond.  The outcomes of these relationships are social innovations that create new solutions to persistent social challenges. Knowledge Mobilization Expo 2011 will focus on these social innovations that are the outcomes of the knowledge mobilization process. Knowledge Mobilization Expo 2011 will start to create a vision of how we can collaborate on a system of social innovation in York Region.

Date: Wednesday, June 15th

Time: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Location: Markham Convergence Centre
7271 Warden Avenue, Markham (map below) Continue reading

What determines your health? / Qu’est-ce qui détermine votre santé?

By David Phipps (ResearchImpact, York)

A KM in the AM on social determinants of health brought consensus on the challenge but fell short of imagining solutions. At ResearchImpact-York we will continue this dialogue to try to nudge the discussion forward. What will you do?

La dernière matinée de mobilisation des connaissances (KM in the AM) portant sur les déterminants sociaux de la santé a permis d’arriver à un consensus concernant les défis, mais n’a pu dégager clairement des pistes de solution partagées. Chez ResearchImpact – York, nous poursuivrons le dialogue afin de faire avancer la discussions. Et vous, qu’allez-vous faire?

Denis Raphael (School of Health Policy and Management, York University has written, “the primary factors that shape the health and well-being of Canadians – the factors that will give us longer, better lives – are to be found in the actual living conditions that Canadians experience on a daily basis.” WHO defines these conditions as social determinants of health (SDOH), “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels, which are themselves influenced by policy choices. The SDOH are mostly responsible for health inequities.” On April 12, ResearchImpact-York hosted a KM in the AM on social determinants of health (SDOH). Part of our suite of KMb services, KM in the AM is a monthly breakfast meeting where university researchers and non-academic stakeholders exchange information and sow the seeds of future collaborations.

Mina Singh and Beryl Pilkington from York’s School of Nursing presented along with Carolyn Mooi from the Heart & Stroke Foundation and Nicky Wright from the York Region District School Board. The presentations kicked off a discussion among the 18 attendees from community and municipal agencies and throughout York Region. Discussion (and there was plenty) focused on the health outcomes related to SDOH: immigration, poverty, homelessness, disability, seniors with people experiencing increased health challenges when more than one of these SDOH intersect. Everyone in the room could speak to the challenges but few were moving to solutions. Local solutions like Mississauga’s investment in community fitness program like Pilates were cited as one example. Nicky charged us to go home and help one person that evening illustrating that we all bear responsibly for being part of the solution.  Continue reading

YorkU’s KMb Expo 2011

Join us on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011, when York University’s KMb Unit will host their annual KM Expo at the Markham Convergence Centre.

The theme of the YorkU KMb Expo 2011 is “Putting the Social in Innovation for York Region”. The 4th annual York KMb Expo will explore the relationship between knowledge mobilization and social innovation in York Region. The day will feature plenary discussions, networking sessions and optional workshops. Registration is free but space is limited to 80 participants. Attendees can sign up for the whole day or just for one of the afternoon workshops.

OVERVIEW – For four years York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit has been creating relationships between York University and agencies in York Region and beyond.  The outcomes of these relationships are social innovations that create new solutions to persistent social challenges. Knowledge Mobilization Expo 2011 will focus on these social innovations that are the outcomes of the knowledge mobilization process. Knowledge Mobilization Expo 2011 will start to create a vision of how we can collaborate on a system of social innovation in York Region.

Date: Wednesday, June 15th

Time: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Location: Markham Convergence Centre
7271 Warden Avenue, Markham (map below)

Preliminary Agenda

8:30-9:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:15 Welcome and Orientation
9:15-10:45 Plenary Panel
Topic: Emerging Opportunities for York Region’s Community SectorJohn Taylor, Regional Councilor of Newmarket, Co-Chair of HSPB and Chair of Newmarket Economic Development CommitteeOpportunities for York Region: Stan Shapson to host a discussion with speakers from:

  • Regional Municipality of York
  • Community Sector
  • York University Faculty
  • York University Student
10:45- 11:00 Networking Break
11:00- 12:15 Plenary Panel
Topic: How Community-Univesity Collaboration Produces Social Benefits: Knowledge Mobilization and Social Innovation. Two case studies of KMb service leading to social innovation outcomes presented in breakout sessions, each looking at the opportunity from different lenses.  Group discussion of barriers and opportunities with report back and group discussion

  • United Way of York Region – Strength Investments: Janice Chu
  • Nottawasaga Futures – Green Economy Transition Centre: Valerie Ryan
12:15- 1:30 Lunch and NetworkingLunch Address: Stan Shapson (VP Research & Innovation – York University) & Daniele Zanotti (CEO, UWYR)
1:30-2:15 Closing Remarks
 2:00-4:00 Optional Community Capacity Building Workshops
 1- Research 101
 2- Knowledge Mobilization 101
 3- Social Media 101

Register early!  RSVP online or by sending an Email to: kejensen@yorku.ca.

Social Determinants of Health KM in the AM- April 12

The YorkU KMb Unit will be hosting a KM of the AM event on Tuesday, April 12. The topic of the morning will focus on social determinants of health, with brief presentations by researchers and community leaders, followed by ample time for questions, discussion, and networking.

Confirmed Panelists:

  • Mina Singh, Faculty of Health, York University
  • Beryl Pilkington, Faculty of Health, York University

Date:       Tuesday, April 12

Time:       9:00 am to 11:30 am

Breakfast will be served at 8:45

Location: Markham Convergence Centre, 7271 Warden Ave, Markham

Space is limited. Kindly RSVP kejensen@yorku.ca to confirm your attendance.

This event has been organized by the Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) Unit at York University and the York Region Community Foundation, both of which are partnering on the Living in York Region project.

KM in the AM is a series of issue based forums linking the university and community/government agencies to enhance research, the graduate student experience and knowledge mobilization.

The Living in York Region project is seeking to develop a made-in-York Region reliable baseline understanding of residents and communities’ well-being across a series of civic, economic, environmental and social indicators. The project is designed to give a voice to residents to help generate solutions to key issues affecting local communities and neighbourhoods.

Partnering for a better community: Living in York Region – A Community Indicators Project / En partenariat pour une meilleure communauté: Vivre dans la Région de York – Un projet d’indicateurs communautaires

By Michael Johnny (ResearchImpact York)

York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit is partnered in a three-year project to support the development of healthy communities in York Region.

L’Unité de mobilisation des connaissances de York est engagée dans un projet en partenariat de trois ans visant à soutenir le développement de communautés en santé dans la Région de York.

The Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York is partnering on a project, Living in York Region, to support community development in York Region that links data, research and residents’ experiences to identify significant trends, and assigns ‘grades’ in areas critical to quality of life. The KMb Unit is pleased to be working with the project lead, the York Region Community Foundation.

Chris Traber of YorkRegion.com reported in his article on this project in late November,  “As York Region continues to grow in size and diversity, the project represents a joint interest in and commitment to working with others to develop a reliable, made-in-York Region understanding of the well-being of residents and communities”. Read the full article here.

The project has adopted a framework that numerous community foundations across Canada have used called Vital Signs. Vital Signs is an annual community check-up conducted by community foundations across Canada that measures the vitality of our cities. Vital Signs is based on a project of the Toronto Community Foundation and is coordinated nationally by Community Foundations of Canada. The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation provided critical support for the national expansion of the Vital Signs program.

This is a three-year project that has been funded by an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant. The initiative will focus on key indicators, including arts and culture, learning, health and wellness, environment, transportation, the gap between rich and poor, safety, housing, work, belonging and leadership and the economy.

For the KMb Unit, and its commitment to provide program support in York Region, the fit was clear as the Vital Signs project is a research endeavour that can benefit from the support and input of the university. Participating in a project that can help systematically connect York research and expertise within diverse thematic areas, all merging to support the well-being of residents, neighbourhoods and communities, exactly aligned with the strategic objectives and practical application of knowledge mobilization. Already, this project has engaged two graduate students and one faculty member (with others expressing interest in future engagement).

While these quantitative outcomes are nice, it is the work that the students are doing and the leadership and expertise that York’s faculty are providing that will help build the connections to achieve the project’s objectives, and ultimately its vision- “Our priority is to make sure our communities are healthy and thriving.” It’s great to see research and researchers active in this process, sharing their expertise and access to data.

For me, this project embodies what knowledge mobilization is all about.

United Way and York University launch Change Inc. to address complex social issues in York Region

ResearchImpact-York is pleased to be part of Change Inc., a social innovation incubator. Change Inc. is a partnership between the United Way of York Region and York University that will build capacity for social innovators, remove policy barriers, incubate new ideas and mentor new social entrepreneurs so that the best and new ideas in York Region are supported to a point where investments can be bought to bear to support scale up of the innovations. York’s knowledge mobilization unit will connect these new ideas to research, expertise and graduate students to support and sustain these new approaches to complex social issues.

Thanks to YorkU Research for posting this release.

Collaboration to incubate new ideas and support social entrepreneurs

United Way of York Region and York University have launched Change Inc., a collaboration that will incubate and invest in promising innovations to tackle complex social issues and build capacity in York Region.

Daniele Zanotti, CEO of United Way, and Stan Shapson, vice-president research & innovation at York University, made the announcement at Deloitte’s head offices in Vaughan as part of United Way Week (Oct. 4 to 8).

“We are proud to announce Change Inc. − a critical strategy in United Way’s impact agenda − in collaboration with York University and our advisory group of business leaders,” said Zanotti. “For our region to be great for all residents, we need a new infrastructure to incubate ideas and shift the way we solve social problems.”

“Change Inc. is transformative for York University, for United Way and for capacity building in our community,” said Shapson. “Change Inc. will provide seed funding, space and support services to social innovators and entrepreneurs. It will provide better access to York University’s research, graduate students and the programs − such as knowledge mobilization − that support their work with the region. It will match social innovators with business-leader mentors. This approach advances and broadens York University’s innovation agenda, builds on our strong partnership with United Way, and engages York Region’s corporate leaders in social innovation, which is a persistent gap in Canada’s innovation agenda.”

Change Inc. will work with its Innovation Advisory Board, established in June, to actively develop a sustainable strategy. Co-chaired by Zanotti and Shapson, its current members include:

  • Charles Beer, board chair, United Way of York Region.
  • Anthony Gallo, vice-president, Social Media, OpenText
  • Pat Horgan, vice-president, Manufacturing, Development and Operations, IBM
  • Debora Kelly, editor-in-chief, York Region Media Group
  • Young Park, sector vice-president, CGI
  • Avi Pollock, head, Applied Innovation and Strategic Planning, RBC

“Change Inc. builds on the United Way’s Strength Investments announced earlier this week,” said Zanotti. “Together with our current program funding, Strength Investments and Change Inc. provide a continuum of support for people, groups and agencies doing good work across York Region.” Information about the Strength Investments is available on the United Way’s Web site.

“Congratulations to United Way, York University and the business advisory board for disrupting the status quo with the announcement of Change Inc. − an opportunity to research, try and scale new ideas to address social challenges,” said Lorrie King, partner, Deloitte, and member of the 2010 United Way Campaign Cabinet. “Deloitte is a champion of United Way and a champion of innovation. At Deloitte, innovation is at the very cornerstone of our corporate strategic directions, and our own leading-edge research, across all sectors, clearly identifies innovation as the driver of long-term success and sustainability.”

Over the coming months, Change Inc. will announce its office location and release information about a community innovation summit, pilot projects and funding opportunities.

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin

March 25 Talks at York – A Smorgasbord of KMb Activity

Our experiences within research is such that ethics approval on human cloning would be a touchy subject, let alone the technological challenges, so when two interesting talks at York were scheduled for the same date and time, we were pleased to be part of an enthusiastic team that allowed us to split up and cover off presentations with relevance to KMb.

Michael Johnny, York U’s Manager, Knowledge Mobilization, attended a lunchtime panel presentation hosted by the CITY Institute that shared results on two suburbia research projects. Five York Researchers, along with a researcher employed by the City of Vaughn, shared highlights of their research on the topic, “Suburbia in Transition: Infrastructure and Planning in Toronto’s In-Between City

It was encouraging to see a crowd of upwards of 50 people in attendance, diverse in interests. Speakers shared how this innovative concept brings unique needs and challenges to planning and development. The panel presentations did an excellent job framing such concerns for areas that are “anti-residential”, “splintered” in their existing land use, and requiring unique strategies to planning and development, which requires both “more and less” flexibility in certain areas of planning.

The work of York’s KMb Unit within York Region over the past four years made the messages from Prof. Lucia Lo resonate. Prof. Lo was one of the Principal Investigators on an Infrastructure Canada-funded project, ‘Infrastructure in York Region: A GIS Analysis of Human Services‘. The main message conveyed was that ballooning growth within the Region has resulted in a supply of York Region services not aligned to areas of need. And with some community leaders and York Region planners in the audience, the messages met a receptive audience.

And in successful KMb fashion, the time afterward allowed for necessary follow up and informal conversation between the speakers and the audience. Michael was encouraged to see the level of engagement that faculty colleagues demonstrated in connecting their research to their audience(s) and looks forward to ongoing support in this area through the success of a Major Collaborative Research Initiative within the CITY Institute of Global Suburbanization.

While Michael was attending the CITY Institute presentation, Knowledge Mobilization Officer Krista Jensen and KMb Digital Researcher Gary Myers attended “Evidence of Democracy? The Relationship Between Evidence-Based Policy and Democratic Government”. The talk is part of the Osgoode-York Seminar Series in Policy Research. It was an engaging presentation given by York alumnus Shaun Young, now a senior policy associate at U of T’s Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation.

As part of a paper-in-progress to be published by UBC Press (please do not cite without permission from Shaun; shaun@mowatcentre.ca) Shaun discussed how the jumping-off point for the contemporary view of evidence-based policy is the 1999 Modern Government paper of Tony Blair. Evidence-based policy emerged from evidence-based medicine, but is now often referred to as evidence-awareness, evidence-informed and evidence-influence as part of the evolving debates about what constitutes evidence. Shaun also pointed out that policy-makers continue to identify more with science based research evidence within the hierarchy of a select privileged group.

Shaun states that evidence has become a key element among policy makers, yet the debate continues about what constitutes legitimate evidence. Shaun argues that evidence-based policy is incompatible with democracy given the tensions between beliefs in political equality necessary to stimulate the democratic process and protecting the practice of majority government ruling. Shaun suggests evidence-based policy may often be “up to political whim”, but at least politicians are “forced” to pay attention to evidence.

In further successful KMb fashion, participants shared opinions and asked questions including one by Gary: Given the nature of knowledge mobilization to broker between academic social science and community-based practice to inform evidence, how can this focus of KMb be more incorporated into government democracy?

Sean Young’s reply: “It will require a culture-change.”

Looks like we have our KMb work cut out for us with our Canadian politicians!

ResearchImpact (York) awarded over $50,000 to work with York Region

KM at York’s strong 2009 finish bodes well for 2010

On December 23, 2009, the KM Unit at York University was awarded two CIHR grants in their Meetings, Planning, and Dissemination Grant competition. One grant partners York University’s Lamarsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution with Kinark Child and Family Services and the York Region Children’s Aid Society. David Phipps from ResearchImpact (York University) and Sandra Cunning (Clinical Director, Research & Evaluation, Kinark Child and Family Services), along with researchers from the Lamarsh Centre were co-investigators on the application. We were awarded $39,950 for a grant titled “Using social networking to enable KT collaboration and dissemination”.

The grant will use the Kinark/Lamarsh/CAS partnership project on teen pregnancy and teen mothers in York Region to pilot social media tools provided by O3 (see our blog on October 13) as a tool for collaboration and dissemination. Based on learnings in this pilot initiative, York’s KM Unit will roll out these social media support services to other large-scale research and KM projects. The grant was ranked first in Canada in this competition. One reviewer commented, “Rationale very strong for need to share knowledge regarding available tools, particularly given the IT interests of the next generation.”

We are looking forward to working with our partners in York Region to use these tools to increase the sharing of research information to help our partners make informed decisions.

David Phipps and Daniele Zanotti, CEO of United Way of York Region, were also awarded $14,979 for an events grant titled, “Mobilizing the Best Practices of Institutional KT Services for Health and Society.” Through this grant, ResearchImpact partner universities and their local United Ways in St. John’s, Montreal, Saskatoon, and Victoria will meet with York and the United Way of York Region to learn from each others’ best practices in KM. “It is important that community agencies are working from the best knowledge available so that they can make well-informed decisions,” says Daniele. “York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit provides an avenue for community organizations to tap into the research expertise available in the University. It makes research, as well as researchers and graduate students, accessible to non-academic decision-makers.”

Thanks to all of our supporters, collaborators and KM stakeholders for a great 2009 and we look forward to working with you in 2010.