Social Innovation

Social Innovation Extension Certificate





403.440.6861 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.

This program was developed by Mount Royal University's Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension in conjunction with MacEwan University's School of Continuing Education. It aims to provide social innovators from across Alberta with a unique learning opportunity.

Through interactive in-person 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.



  • 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: Classroom

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, they can be taken in any order.




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 fueled 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        Next offered winter 2020

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 Next offered winter 2020

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 Next offered winter 2020

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
Next offered spring 2020

"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