Foundations in Social Innovation Skills

Foundations in Social Innovation Skills is a short course delivered over four sessions that serves as an introduction to the different types of social innovation, and the skills needed to become a socially innovative thinker. The course will focus on how to identify social innovation problems, the skills needed to tackle solutions, and how to handle potential barriers to the social innovation process.

Participants will learn about social innovation, social intrapreneurship, and social extrapreneurship and how they are related. Real-world cases with Goodwill Niagara, and hands-on learning will help participants develop the skills needed to identify, create and implement social innovation solutions.

Upon successful completion of all the program requirements, participants will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.

Session 1 – Overview of Social Innovation

The first session will provide an overview of social innovation and its three most prevalent forms (social entrepreneurship, social intrapreneurship (socially innovating within organizations), and social extrapreneurship (socially innovating between organizations). In doing so participants will engage in an interactive, in person simulation to understand the process of social innovation as well as introduce the course’s three skill framework.

Session 2 – Socially Innovative Thinking

The second session will focus upon socially innovative thinking, the cognitive processes underlying those seeking to socially innovate. During this class participants will engage in a design thinking exercise.

Session 3 – Problem Identification

During this session emphasis will be placed upon the key role of collaboration for the identification of problems as well as the development and implementation of “solutions”. Participants will engage in a case on effectively recycling goods in a sustainable manner.

Session 4 – Barriers of Social Innovation

The final session will address the barriers that frequently arise during socially innovative process and how they might be addressed. This will include engaging in an interactive negotiation playing the roles of a manager of one of two competing thrift stores.

Dr. Wesley Helms

Dr. Helms is an Associate Professor of Strategic Management and the Goodman Social Innovation Research Scholar in the Goodman School of Business at Brock University. He received his PhD from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

Dr. Helms guest lectures and is a Research Fellow at the Cambridge Center for Social Innovation. He also designs and develops social innovation cases and content for the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation.

Please contact Cassie Conte, Program Manager, Brock LINC at with any questions about the program.