Planting the Seeds of Social Innovation in B.C.

Planting the Seeds of Social Innovation in B.C.

BC Ideas competition continues to grow in scope

In his position as CEO of LIFT Philanthropy Partners, Bruce Dewar sees great pockets of innovation creating solutions to the pressing issues facing communities across Canada; issues that in many cases are common.

Threading these ideas, solutions and conversations together in British Columbia is the main reason Bruce says his organization has thrown its weight behind BC Ideas, an online competition asking British Columbians to submit solutions to address health, social and environmental challenges facing their communities.  

Bruce Dewar

LIFT Philanthropy Partners is overseeing the competition, hosted online by Ashoka Changemakers, and it’s all about enhancing the culture of social innovation in B.C. and creating a space where inspiration flourishes in the sharing of strong ideas.

“Quite often people are dealing with the same issue, if it’s in Nelson versus Powell River," Bruce tells Axiom News.

“How do we get, through a platform like this, more collaboration so people don’t feel they’re in isolation dealing with this issue, because quite often there are others dealing with it in the province as well?”

The competition, which officially launched in May and has seen more than 75 submissions thus far, is his answer.

Worthy ideas have potential to be awarded funding from a pool of capital that has ballooned from an original $45,000 in November to more than $250,000 — growth that’s in direct proportion to increasing interest from a variety of partners, all eager to see this concept expand.

LIFT Philanthropy Partners and its CEO Bruce Dewar are connected to several socially innovative organizations, including Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation. Bruce is pictured here participating in a kayak safety course with Take a Hike.

Bruce says he and the team from Ashoka couldn’t be happier with the enthusiasm they’ve seen as the competition expands, as well as with the quality of the submitted ideas.

“When we drill down and really look at the solutions . . . there are some really innovative initiatives that are on there that have got potential to make some significant impact across our province and potentially nationally, if not internationally in the long term,” Bruce says.

The network of partners and supporters is growing because the need for solutions is real and immediate, Bruce says. “This is really, I think, a good platform to get all citizens of British Columbia, be it an individual, a corporation, a not-for-profit, to really put their best ideas or solutions forward so we can really help society.”

The interest from innovators and supporters alike in the quest for the solutions is a sign that the time has come to exploit new approaches to social innovation, and Bruce is confident the BC Ideas platform has the potential to expand right across Canada.

This isn’t just about money, he adds. BC Ideas is about sharing knowledge and passion across a growing network of people and organizations, all working to make a difference in our society.

The deadline for submissions is Sept. 12. For more information, visit this link. If you have questions or comments on this story, please contact kristian(at)axiomnews.ca.

 

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Kristian Partington

Kristian says he's been a storyteller all his life, and from an early age he thrived in the creative process of putting pen to paper. With Axiom News, he says he finds as much power in the conversations he has with sources for stories as he finds in the stories themselves.

"It's the questions we ask that catalyze great conversations, and more often than not I come away from the conversation somewhat improved. I like to think the person on the other end feels the same way. From that point on, the stories sort of write themselves."

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