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Social Innovation Summit

Social Innovation Summit

Surrey City Hall, 13450 104 Ave

Date & Time:

November 14: 6-8pm (Reception)

November 15: 8:00am-2:45pm (Summit)

November 16: 3-5pm (Workshops)




Social and Economic Inclusion: Cities as Solutions

The third annual Surrey Social Innovation Summit, November 15, reinforces the pivotal and increasingly significant role that cities and communities play in social innovation, particularly when it comes to creating inclusive economies, innovating for solutions, and connecting individuals, neighbourhoods, and businesses. The adage that we all do better when we all do better, has never been more true or relevant. But, to be more successful, social and economic inclusion is essential to individual and community success, and finding practical solutions to the significant issues that face modern and growing communities like ours.

Register for the 2017 Summit (including a Workshop)

Summit Registration

Register for a Workshop Only

Workshop Registration

About the Summit

Presented by the City of Surrey, this year’s meeting highlights how the world’s largest-ever migration is shaping Surrey and other cities, reimagining and reinventing public spaces with people in mind, social procurement’s ability to bring marginalized citizens into the economy, new types of public engagement and community decision making, and how today’s youth are leading so much of what’s changing our cities, economy and culture.

At the core of this year’s Summit is a recognition that inclusion is key to creating the kind of social innovation and workable solutions to pressing issues that incorporates each and every one of us as we build a better community, one that represents every demographic, every neighbourhood and every perspective. After all, we’re in this together.

For more information, contact

Opening Keynote:

Arrival City and How the Largest Migration in History is Reshaping Surrey and Canada’s Cities
Doug Saunders, International Affairs Columnist, Globe and Mail

Closing Keynote:

Indigenizing our City
Duncan McCue, Journalist, Host of CBC Cross Country Checkup

Concurrent Sessions

Placemaking with People in Mind

Effective community participation is key to reimagining and reinventing public spaces. So, what is the role of community engagement, and how do we get more and deeper participation, the kind that ensures citizens have more say in the public spaces that often define their neighbourhoods and communities?

Moderator:  David Laulainen, Director of Communications and Marketing, Century Group

  • James Cheng, Architect, James KM Cheng Architects
  • Fred Kent, President, Project for Public Spaces
  • Andy Yan, Director of the City Program, Simon Fraser University
  • Michael Heeney, President & CEO, Surrey City Development Corporation

Social Procurement: Putting the Economy to Work for Social Innovation

The notion that we can create positive social impacts through existing purchasing isn’t new. It’s something that goes back to Roman times, but its value remains today. This innovative market-based opportunity to create social impact is as relevant to the private sector as it is to public purchasing by different levels of government. After all, no single sector, public or private, can solve complex social issues alone. But, blending business values and social impact objectives through social procurement is a tool that offers opportunities for both communities and marginalized citizens.

Moderator:  Dr. Joy Johnson, VP Research and International, SFU

  • Janice Abbott, CEO, Atira Women’s Resource Society
  • Larry Berglund, Author, Good Planets are Hard to Buy
  • Marcia Nozick, CEO, Embers

Social Innovation meets Social Responsibility

In recent years academics and practitioners have been exploring innovative ways to enhance how cities as diverse as Surrey can best build schools and communities in which all members feel connected, engaged, and therefore protected from those factors that might place them at greater risk for school failure and engagement in crime. Research and experience tells us this is particularly important for youth who are at-risk of being isolated and marginalized.

Moderator:  Terry Waterhouse, Director of Public Safety, City of Surrey

  • Rob Rai, Director of School and Community Connections, Surrey School District
  • Wanda Cassidy, Associate Professor of Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University

Youth Leading for Change: Ideas and Approaches from a New Generation

For today’s youth, social innovation is a way of life, something they’ve grown up with. This unique perspective of unprecedented change gives them a different take on issues, solutions, engagement and how they want to live their lives and shape the future of their communities.

Moderator:  Vi Nguyen, Director of Youth Engagement, Grants and Community Initiatives, Vancouver Foundation

  • David Cameron, Executive Director, Youth Entrepreneur Leadership Launched
  • Ahmed ‘Knowmadic’ Ali, Spoken Word Poet, Entertainer and Educator
  • Carmen Moreira, Executive Director and Choreographer, SQX Dance Company
  • Jeska Slater, Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association

Public Participation: Every Voice Matters

Every year, all three levels of government look to public engagement and community consultation as they make decisions that impact all of us. As communities and local issues become more complex, what’s on the minds of residents, neighbours and citizens, how do they want to participate, and which forms of modern public engagement and consultation actually work and provide valuable results?

  • Mario Cansesco, Vice President of Public Affairs, Insights West
  • Susanna Haas Lyons, Civic Engagement Specialist
  • Kathy Nyland, Director, Seattle Department of Neighbourhoods
  • Kathleen Burke, Beedie School of Business, SFU

Diversity = Innovation

Moderator:  Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade

Does the value of a great idea matter if it’s said with an accent? Few cities are as culturally diverse as Surrey which is home to virtually every language on earth. How can modern cities harness that diversity as a force for innovative thinking and new ideas, and how do we build bonds and a sense of belonging for new citizens and their contributions to the community?

  • Alden E. Habacon, Diversity and Inclusion Strategist
  • Daniel Hiebert, Professor of Geography, UBC
  • Doug Saunders, International Affairs Columnist, Globe and Mail


Placemaking as a Catalyst for Developing the City of the Future

  • Fred Kent, President, Project for Public Spaces

To be successful, cities need to start with their communities regarding their aspirations as the foundation for both a placemaking program and ultimately the design. Using a placemaking vision and “lighter, quicker, cheaper” activations as ways to give an identity to each neighbourhood or downtown creates ownership and pride that enables uniqueness  to emerge, revealing the special qualities and soul that will make their future. Cities that begin to adapt their public spaces to this vision will be ahead of the curve. Rather than sticking to the outdated model of top-down design and designed around cars and building, we should make cities about people and place.

Place-Based Social Innovation Labs

  • Kiri Bird, Manager, Local Economic Development Lab (LEDlab)
  • Shawn Smith, Director of Social Innovation, SFU

Join RADIUS SFU and the City of Surrey for a workshop on place based social innovation labs as an approach to tackling complex community problems.

Kiri Bird will present on LEDlab, a three-year, place-based social innovation lab, which has become a platform for connecting, linking, and facilitating systems change in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Kiri will offer a look "under the hood" of this model including its funding and operating structure. The workshop will also explore lessons learned and potential next steps for those interested in addressing complex challenges in Surrey or other communities.

Shawn Smith, will also be present to discuss SFU's role and interest in co-developing this model, and its influence in their work.



Panel Session

  Century Group  


SFU Beedie School of Business

Community Sponsor