Social Innovation

Social Innovation Extension Certificate





403.440.6636 or 1.888.392.3655

Meeting urgent and complex challenges such as climate change, food security, and urbanization requires new knowledge, skills, and approaches. Social innovation is about finding ways to introduce lasting changes at all levels – individual, organizational, and societal – to increase the resilience of vulnerable people and the planet. Social innovators come from every sector and discipline – what they share is a curiosity and a passion for tackling complex social, environmental, and/or cultural challenges.

MacEwan University School of Continuing Education, in association with Mount Royal University Continuing Education and Extension, is pleased to offer the Social Innovation certificate program. This program aims to provide social innovators from across Alberta with a unique learning opportunity.

Through blended (in-person and online) delivery, learners will deepen their understanding of complex systems, develop their personal capacities as social innovators, build relationships with other social innovators, and apply their learning to their own initiative or context. Upon completion, your certificate will be awarded by Mount Royal University.

Watch the online information session.




  • Learn to differentiate between key social innovation definitions and concepts
  • Define social innovation more broadly and understand its connection to systems change
  • Recognize current issues in social innovation, locally and globally
  • Acquire the capacities required to affect meaningful change, and apply these to their own experience
  • Describe the case for integrating impact assessment into social change initiatives
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify and apply a relevant impact framework to a social change initiative
  • Connect to resources and tools that will help students to further their social change efforts

Program details

Format: Blended (Classroom and Online)

Duration: Complete the 4 required courses (60 hours). Can be completed within 2 semesters up to a maximum of 3 years.


Program notes

Although the courses are designed to be taken in the order listed, please note, the courses can be taken in any order.

If you wish to take the in-class portion in Edmonton, register for the MacEwan University section.



Courses and Fees

Social Innovation and Changemaking
Are you involved in creating positive social, economic or environmental change? Need more knowledge, tools, and connections to others also committed to creating meaningful impact? Changemaking crosses the boundaries of sectors and disciplines - whether you come from the public, private or community sector, this course is for you. Gain a foundation in social innovation and changemaking, and an introductory toolkit for mindful action that will be explored further throughout the remaining courses in the program. Learn about the history of social innovation and emerging definitions; actively explore local and global issues and tensions that have fuelled the demand for a new approach and learn about the principles, mind-sets, tools and practices required to effect meaningful social and/or environmental change.

Subject code: XNPC 20200  15 Hours. Fee: $389  Not offered this semester

Mobilizing for Systems Change
How do we challenge and change the systems that perpetuate social problems? Learn to apply systems thinking as a means to address complex and entrenched social and environmental challenges. You will be introduced to the basics of systems thinking, including principles such as resilience and self-organization. Explore systems leadership and what it means to facilitate change. Dive into some of the frameworks, approaches and tools that support systems change, such as the adaptive cycle, facilitation, and collective impact.

 Subject code: XNPC 20201 15 Hours. Fee: $389 Not offered this semester

Evaluating Social Innovation (Previously: Measuring Social Impact)
Evaluation and measurement are critical to developing social innovations that tackle tough social, economic and environmental challenges. You will be introduced to the basics of evaluation, including evaluation purposes (e.g., developmental, formative and summative). You will also explore issues related to developing evaluation designs, identifying and developing indicators and measures, and the importance “failing forward” and “intelligent failure.”

Subject code: XNPC 20202  15 hours. Fee: $389
CRN 30962 Blended: online &
2 classes
April 6 - 28
April 14 & 28
8:30 a.m. - noon

The Promise of Social Innovation Labs (Previously: Social Innovation Lab)
How can you move your change initiative from round table talks to action? Learn promising practices that are emerging in the social innovation ecosystem to draw on the strength and creativity of the right collective to help steward solutions through the use of social innovation labs. You will experience how to apply a selection of social innovation lab tools to navigate and make progress on a complex social challenge.

Subject code: XNPC 20203  15 hours. Fee: $389

CRN 50373
Blended: online &
2 classes
May 25 - June 16
June 2 & 16

8:30 a.m. - noon




Social Innovation Instructor Bio - Jill Andres

Jill Andres is a Calgary-based coach and facilitator with a focus on social innovation and changemaking. Jill is the Director of Mount Royal University’s Trico Changemakers Studio – a growing, dynamic community of students, social entrepreneurs, activists, artists and leaders from across sectors who are making a difference for people and the planet. Jill facilitated Mount Royal University’s successful effort to achieve the Ashoka U Changemaker Campus designation – the leading designation for social innovation in higher education. She also brokered a partnership between Mount Royal University and Edmonton-based MacEwan University’s respective faculties of continuing education, and engaged leading Alberta-based social innovators to design and instruct the four courses that now comprise the Social Innovation Extension Certificate.

For over a decade, Jill and her team at Creating Value Inc, the social purpose consultancy that Jill founded, supported social innovators and changemakers in Western Canada to amplify social and environmental impact through systems change, organizational strategy, and social enterprise.

Jill continues to support individuals and groups to grow and succeed in their changemaking efforts through her coaching and facilitation practice, and through speaking and workshop engagements in Canada and beyond. Jill is active in several social innovation networks, including Ashoka U Changemaker Campuses, RECODE (a program of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation), the Social Innovation Network of Canada, Alberta Social Innovation Connect, and the Social Innovation Network of Calgary. Jill is also Board Chair of REAP Calgary, an association of local businesses at the forefront of the new economy that are demonstrating that companies can be profitable and contribute to healthy and prosperous communities.

An avid yogi and outdoor enthusiast, Jill delights in time spent on her yoga mat, paddling, running, skiing or snowshoeing with family and friends.



"I found the Social Innovation course to be fascinating and applicable to anyone who is interested in systems-level thinking and changemaking. Personally, I use a lot of course material in a job that I created based on its teachings. It has influenced how I approach developing programs and services. From running "social labs" to designing collective impact documents to creating a methodology for developmental evaluation - this course has manifested in a myriad of innovative tools that are practical and iterative. I feel like I have a new paradigm for making real change in complex systems. Highly recommend."

Medical Doctor