Gordon Walker – Our Gentle Horse Whisperer

Those of us associated with PLAN are fortunate to be tethered to passion.  Our range is the life and death struggles of people who surmount labels, stigma, and ignorance, supported by the love of their friends, neighbours and families.  A … Read More

John Ralston Saul – Speed Does not Equal Intelligence

John Ralston Saul from the Foreword to Through The Eyes of Artists, 2004 Nina Hagerty Centre for the Arts … those of us who are lucky enough to have been close to a person with disabilities know the talents they … Read More

Ashoka – Impresario for Social Entrepreneurs

Ever wonder if the social organizations that were founded in the 19th or 20th century are capable of handling the complexities of the 21st centuy?  Ever wonder who is inventing the 21st century version of the Red Cross, YWCA, Big … Read More

Frances Westley Presents to Nobel Laureates

Frances Westley is a Canadian treasure. Not enough people know that.  I am biased because she is a friend and colleague.  Sometimes we don't appreciate how special someone is until the world takes notice. I can't think of a more … Read More

Ten Innovations that have Shaped the World of Disability

In previous posts I have highlighted that social innovation is not an incremental change to the status quo but a substantive, disruptive one.  Social innovations improve our ability (whether as individuals, families, networks, communities) to define and solve our challenges, … Read More

Happy Mother’s Day courtesy Shane Koyczan

Can we ever repay our Moms?  Never, is the worn truth, every child eventually realizes.  But Canadian poet and spoken word virtuoso,  Shane Koyczan has an insight that might just satisfy the Moms of this world.  Koyczan is an immensely … Read More

Disaster, Disability and Haiti

Two things are predictable concerning people with disabilities and natural disasters. One, they will be displaced making it even tougher to gain access to basic supports.  Two, there will be even more people with disabilities as a result of the … Read More

Inspire, Innovate, Incite, Invent – Increasing the Resilience of Commuities

The re-named Canadian Centre for Community Renewal has a new e-journal (i4) about Inspiring, Innovating, Inciting, and Inventing ways of life and work that permit humanity and the planet to thrive in this century of unprecedented challenges. Both the Centre … Read More

Who Invented the Blue Box? Jack McGinnis did.

I was saddened to learn that Jack McGinnis, inventor of the ubiquitous curbside recycling, blue box, died earlier this year.  Sad at the death of someone who touched all our lives in such a positive way.  Sad because such an … Read More

Phil Allen – The One Most Likely to Succeed

When Phil Allen was 27 his friends helped him escape from the Saskatchewan Institution where they were kept against their will.  They figured he was the one most likely to make it and come back to help them. They were … Read More

André Picard wins prestiguous Public Policy Forum award

André Picard knows something most journalists or historians don't.  The majority of us live our lives taking care of each other, – our children, our spouses and partners, our parents, our friends, our neighbours, our co-workers, even strangers.  In good … Read More

“Passionate Amateurs” a Primary Source of Social Innovation

Care is an expression of love – parental, familial, neighbourly.  The primary source of care provided to our children, those with chronic disease, mental illness, or disability and those who are sick or ageing, comes from family, friends, neighbours, co-workers … Read More

Passionate Amateurs as Inspired Innovators in Family Caregiving

Join me live Tuesday April 26th, for an internet talk radio show, Family Caregivers Unite! with Dr. Gordon Atherley on my favourite topic – natural, everyday, loving care inspired by ties of kinship, neighbourliness and friendship.  Our discussion will focus … Read More

Jean Vanier – the Earth of Community

Imagine if we were drawn to each other not just because of our talents but also because of our darker thoughts, pettiness, secret vices and betrayals?  Would we realize how much we have in common?  Would we be as quick … Read More

Mobile Movement nominated for a Webby

Mobile Movement a group co-founded by Jess Fraser, who I have profiled before, has been nominated for a Webby Award in the Youth Category!   Webbies are the equivalent of Oscars for on line campaigns.  And they are in good company: … Read More

Get Your Hands On Shari Graydon’s, “I Feel Great About My Hands”

Delicious, funny, irreverent, salty, poignant.  41 essays by women over 50, assembled and edited by award winning journalist and author Shari Graydon.  Essays that reveal the wisdom, beauty and power of aging women.  I Feel Great About My Hands – … Read More

Maytree Foundation: Creating a Stronger Canada, 12th, On Poverty

Want to read 50 great ideas for protecting vulnerable Canadians while contributing to Canada's prosperity?  Then have a look at the Maytree Foundation's, just released Charting Prosperity: Practical Ideas for a Stronger Canada.  It stems from Maytree's belief that: Poverty … Read More

Jean Swanson – Standing Up to Poor Bashing, 11th, On Poverty

Jean Swansen knows poor people and their tremendous capability to stretch a dollar and to survive with next to nothing.  She also has a clear, steady eye for the structural causes of their poverty.  She is not fooled by studies, … Read More

Ten B.C. Environmental Innovations

All the talk about social innovation could lead one to the conclusion that it is something brand new, something emerging.  In fact ingenuity, creativity and innovative problem solving is ongoing and has been around forever.   One of the primary … Read More

Apathy is Boring

Apathy is Boring aims to use art and technology to educate young people about democracy and encourage their active involvement in decision making.  Founded by my colleague and Ashoka fellow Ilona Dougherty they have already inspired over 30,000 young Canadians … Read More

Two Views of Social Innovation

Here are two views of social innovation as expressed by Professional Ezio Manzini at the launch of the European Union's Social Innovation Europe, March 2011.  Professor Manzini is one of the world's prominent thinkers on sustainability and social innovation. First … Read More

Jason Mogus – Six Principles of Transformative Digital Campaigns

Jason Mogus , founder and CEO of Communicopia, is one of the world's foremost digital strategists. He has been in the digital trenches since its infancy and sees behind and beyond the dazzle of technology and social media to design … Read More

Leadership is for the Birds

Have a look at this thrilling U-tube video  Starlings on Otmor.  You won't be disappointed.  Harmony.  Beauty.  Inspiration. No collisions, no bird in charge, each moving individually, yet achieving common objectives – warmth, safety and security.  How do hundreds of … Read More

A Hat Trick for the Canadian Caregivers Coalition

Congratulations to the Canadian Caregivers Coalition.  Caregiver promises are in the Conservative, Liberal and NDP party platforms.  This is an intent few groups aspire to.  And a feat few accomplish. The platforms are of course different but the dialogue has … Read More

Margo Button – An Unhinging of Wings

Margo Button is an award winning poet.  She wrote her first collection of poetry in honour of her son Randall John Button whose mental illness eventually led to his suicide.  The following poem is from, The Unhinging of Wings which … Read More

Social Innovation – Doing More With More

The phrase social innovation is surfacing everywhere.  The European Union has just launched Social Innovation Europe.  The UK has multiple initiatives around social innovation. President Obama has an Office of  Social Innovation and Civic Participation. The Canadian Government has established … Read More

See Change – What Mainstream Media Misses

SEE Change Magazine is Canada’s first publication for and about social enterprise and entrepreneurship.  It was created in response to a need – the need to spread the word about an important social-business movement that has the capacity to change … Read More

Top Ten Books About Vancouver

Vancouver, my home town turns 125 on April 6th.  Over the years a number of writers have lived here.  Some have even set all or part of their plots here.  Here is my top ten list of fiction books about … Read More

Paul Born’s Convening – A Prologue To Trust, 10th, On Poverty

The best hosts preside over dinners, conversations, salons, interviews, broadcasts, town hall forums, dialogues and meetings with a style that brings out the best in everyone.  Paul Born is one of them. He'd be right up there with Martha Stewart, … Read More

Martin Luther King’s Last Speech

Garrison Keillor of Lake Wobegon fame writes a regular web column called the Writers Almanac featuring highlights of each day in history.  Thanks to the tip from my friend Steve Sunderland here is a re-post of the April 3rd feature. … Read More

PLAN© sues Google

PRESS RELEASE – for immediate circulation Vancouver based Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) launched a law suit today against Google for the unauthorized use of the word plan in all google search results. The Governments of Canada and the United … Read More

Lindsay Can

A name change is in order for Lindsay Cant.They said she'd never fly.  Today she has completed over 140 glider flights.They said she wouldn't leave the hospital.  Today she lives in her own place near Perth, Scotland.They said she'd never … Read More

Margaret Heffernan – Personal Responsibility

Margaret Heffernan's new book is, Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril. Willful blindness is our collective capacity to 'go along' with what everyone else is doing; to carry forward with the familiar, to turn a 'blind … Read More

Nancy Hall’s Spirit is Released to the Heavens

Our dear friend Nancy Hall died peacefully on Thursday March 24th.  She was an effective and tireless advocate for people with mental illness.  If we had our cultural priorities straight we would be giving her the honour of a state … Read More

Jean Vanier – The Power of Gentleness

Throughout history exceptional humans have given up wealth, power and privilege to teach us about a great but obscure form of power.  These include Catherine of Siena, Donna Gracia Mendes of Spain, Frances of Assisi, and Prince Ashoka of India.  … Read More

The Next European Renaissance – Social Innovation Europe

The European Union has just raised the social innovation bar for governments.   On March 17th in Brussels, President Barossa of the European Commission officially launched Social Innovation Europe. The EU's goal: by 2014, Social Innovation Europe will be the … Read More

Herb Barbolet – Eating for a Living, 9th, on Poverty

"Something happens to people who plant seeds- it is impossible to watch a plant grow and flourish without getting a sense of the miracle of all life."               -Herb Barbolet Herb Barbolet is the Wayne Gretzky of healthy local food.  Decades … Read More

Thomas Homer-Dixon – Steering Through Turbulent Times

In the News today: Earthquake, tsunami, meltdown, economic crisis …. Peak oil, political unrest in oil producing countries, verging civil war in Libya, economic crisis…. These events have led me to revisit  two of  Thomas Homer-Dixon's books:The Ingenuity Gap – … Read More

Spirit of the West – Putting Up With The Jones

Spirit of the West composed one of the most popular college drinking songs of all time, particularly on St. Patrick's Day – Home for a Rest.  On the sober side their songs reflect a critical eye on the decline of … Read More

Brad Johnston – A Social Innovation Gardener

Brad is an Ontario public servant who decided to step outside his comfort zone.  Without authority, mandate or stategic plan he is successfully gathering fellow social innovators within the Ontario Public Service.  Brad is keen to connect with public servants … Read More

Hey There L’ll Red Riding Hood – Think Like a Mountain

Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf. So writes Aldo Leopold, an environmentalist, forester and ecologist who died in 1948.  Yet his famous essay, Thinking Like a Mountain, still offers insight.  … Read More

Patsy George – A Happy Social Worker Has No Analysis. 8th, On Poverty

Patsy George is the social worker we all wish we could be.  She has spent more than four decades pursuing social and economic justice in Canada and globally.  She worked for the provincial government in British Columbia for most of … Read More

Support Independent Bookstores

A happy convergence in my life was subscribing to the Literary Review of Canada, Geist and the New York Review of Books, at the same time as learning to order books on line.  The prospect was too tempting and the … Read More

Nick Hornby: About A Boy, His son Danny

Nick Hornby writes popular books which become equally popular movies, (High Fidelity and  About a Boy )  He also wrote the screenplay for the award winning film, An Education.  His writing resonates, I suspect  because like Hornby, music is the … Read More

The Hateful ‘r’ Word

J.  e-mails a number of us about the "r" word  regularly.  It's a painful ache she can't explain.  In addition to her environmental pursuits and her special passion for arachnids she wants answers: "Why do they keep calling us 'r' … Read More

The Dignity Project of the Salvation Army, 7th, on Poverty

There is no dignity in poverty, in not being able to feed your kids, in not providing them with the essentials, in worrying how to take care of your family, in struggling to survive, in being blamed for being poor, … Read More

Sean Moore’s Double Double

Sean Moore, Canada's public policy walrus is re-doubling his efforts. He's launching two new products: Advocacy School and a major article on public policy in the The Philanthropist.  Advocacy School is designed to assist civil sector organizations influence government decisions, … Read More

Look Who’s Talking? Shari Graydon and Informed Opinions

Look who's talking?  Men.  And editorializing, opining, pontificating, informing, pitching, swaying and influencing.  To a ratio of 80/20 according to the research .  That's right 80% of editorial opinion in the Canadian media comes from men.  This, despite the fact … Read More

Bonnie Sherr Klein – The Gift of Asking

Bonnie Sherr Klein is a celebrated documentary filmmaker.  From her base at the National Film Board she created award winning films such as, the anti-pornography documentary Not a Love Story and Speaking Our Peace.  Along the way she helped create … Read More

Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet reveals the birth of Compassion

Australian writer Tim Winton's masterpiece is, Cloudstreet whose every word seems to sparkle with the special light that illuminates the air in his hometown of Perth. The novel revolves around two charming, eccentric families.  I am drawn in particular to … Read More