Building Social Infrastructure: How can we increase the impact of our institutions to better strengthen our communities?
Society faces challenges and uncertainties that threaten social cohesion and community well-being in Canada and around the world. Advanced education
institutions are uniquely positioned to invent and scale the solutions needed to
enable a better quality of life for all of society within planetary thresholds. Many
of these solutions can be found in their existing assets and capacities, which, when directed at building social infrastructure, can reveal the pathway for citizens and their institutions to thrive.
Re-Code‘s new discussion paper sets out the social imperative and the business case for accelerated social innovation, and introduces a typology of assets that advanced education institutions can harness. Further, it defines a social infrastructure architecture to facilitate this essential transition. It concludes with a set of collaborative actions that advanced education organizations can pursue together to foster breakthrough ideas, and poses questions for further research and investigation.
Students are at the heart of the advanced education mandate and central to catalyzing and scaling social innovation at institutions and beyond. This paper builds on this central idea, and thus turns its attention to other aspects of the institutional mandate that are complementary. Readers are encouraged to consider how students can be engaged in bringing the ideas represented in this discussion paper to life.
Maximizing the Capacities of Advanced Education Institutions to Build Social Infrastructure for Canadian Communities was commissioned by Re-Code and Simon Fraser University for a recent roundtable dialogue of 19 university presidents held during the 2017 C2U Expo in Surrey, BC.