Failure: A lesson in disguise, says forum speaker

Student participating in the Fail Forward Workshop at fifth annual Social Innovation @ Ivey Forum

Student participating in the Fail Forward Workshop at fifth annual Social Innovation @ Ivey Forum

This post was first published by NEWS@IVEY | Ivey Public Affairs on March 26, 2014

Social innovation means realizing your impact, learning to fail, and playing with passion, according to Canada’s top social innovators, speaking at the fifth annual Social Innovation @ Ivey Forum.

Organized by Professor Oana Branzei, this year’s conference hosted more than 30 speakers and workshop leaders across sectors and generations. The event featured three keynote speakers, three interactive workshops, plus a panel discussion and networking session. Each presentation analyzed different ways – mainly through focusing on social impact, learning from failure, and integrating a sense of play – to be innovative in one’s work.

Here are the highlights of the day’s events:

 

ASHLEY GOOD

Ashley Good has experienced enough failure to build a business around it.

The founder of FailForward has spent the past three years working with a range of organizations to teach them how to use failure as a learning tool and innovation driver. Personally, Good admits to tracking her own failures in a journal so she can reflect on how to change her approach in the future. 

Good said that society needs to change the way it looks at failure, explaining that we’re trained to think things are either a success or a failure, when really the situation is not that black or white.

“We have to challenge our perceptions and look at failure as learning,” she said.

KEY QUOTE:

“It’s amazing how much learning is accelerated when we push ourselves to the edge of our capacity.”

 

ANDREW STEELE

Andrew Steele, EMBA ’11, and VP Strategy for TVO, opened up the day speaking on social impact. Steele explained that anything you invest in, whether products, services, or charitable donations, is because of the impact it will have on your personal and professional career. Whether a charity or a corporation, all organizations appeal to your emotional sense of impact in similar ways, Steele said.

From a career perspective, looking for the long-term benefit of your investment is essential, he noted.

KEY QUOTE:

“When you are starting your career, ask about impact. Then, grow the hell out of that impact.”

 

KELSEY RAMSDEN

Alumna Kelsey Ramsden, MBA ’04, wrapped up the conference with her closing keynote on combining work with play.

Named Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneur by Profit magazine for the last two years, Ramsden said that she has always ‘gamed her life’ and integrated playfulness into her work. To put it in business terms, the MBA graduate joked that her personal KSF (Key Success Factor) was play.

“Einstein said ‘imagination is greater than knowledge,’ and I believe that wholeheartedly,” said Ramsden.

Her top career takeaways included that ability to:

  • Listen, not just with your ears, to every single person in your organization. Sensing what they might not be saying could indicate real problems and opportunities in your business.
  • Know thy enemy and love them: Think of your competitors like a free research & development department. See what they’re trying, look for what works and what doesn’t.
  • Be exposed to things outside your comfort zone in order to rise to the top in your field.

KEY QUOTE:

“How small our thinking can be when it’s limited by what others tell us.”

 

Attendees. students, and faculty at Fail Forward workshop, led by Steve Cordes from Youth Opportunity Unlimited.

Attendees. students, and faculty at Fail Forward workshop, led by Steve Cordes from Youth Opportunity Unlimited.

Media Advisory: Top social innovators explore the link between play and success

Originally published on February 27th, 2014 by Ivey Public Affairs

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LONDON, ON, Feb. 27, 2014 – Although Kelsey Ramsden, MBA ’04, is a savvy moneymaker and was recently named Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneur for the second year in a row by Profit Magazine, she credits her phenomenal success first and foremost to her ability to play.

Andrew Steele, EMBA ’11, Vice President of Strategy at TVO, founding CEO of the Pecaut Centre for Social Impact, and former Senior Advisor to the Premier of Ontario, is hardly your off-the-shelf strategist. He is a turn-forward artist with a track record of championing positive impact in six different industries.

Celeena Sayani, HBA ’12, one of the first Ivey students to graduate with Sustainability Certificate degree, is busy putting the social in intrapreneurship at LoyaltyOne.

Ramsden, Steele and Sayani are joined by more than 20 other leaders that dare to do business differently, and repeatedly accomplish what others can only dream of. Leaders like Ashley Good, whose Fail Forward venture earned gold twice, bringing home both the prestigious Harvard Business Review and the coveted McKinsey Innovating Innovation Award in 2013.

What do Canada’s top social innovators have in common? One secret: they all harness the power of play to go way beyond business as usual. At the 5th Annual Social Innovation @ Ivey Forum on March 5 these leaders share how they bring play back into their organization to keep work engaging and energizing. They explain how play stimulates independent thinking, creativity, and confidence, and take us backstage to show us how they use play at work to transform everyday tasks into extraordinary impact.

Organized by Ivey’ s Centre for Building Sustainable Value with financial support from RBC Foundation, community support from Pillar Non-Profit Network, and provincial outreach to Ontario’s youth by the Natural Step, the half-day event features guest panels, live cases and workshops that reveal actionable links between play and success.



“Play is an invitation to engage more fully and meaningfully with our craft as leaders so we can make an even bigger contribution to society,” said Ivey Associate Professor Oana Branzei, organizer of the forum. “Think of play as daily practice so that each and every one of us can stretch beyond our comfort zone and live up to a greater purpose.”

Branzei said the event may finally give business a good name. 

“This event will feature Canada’s top leaders in social innovation, many of whom are Ivey graduates,” she added. “Ivey is one of the world’s top business schools and a mecca for leadership, but many people don’t know that our mission is to create leaders who contribute to society. This event is a homecoming celebration of the many Ivey leaders who already make a positive impact on the well-being of Canadians and an open invitation to all leaders out there to do even more.”

 

EVENT DETAILS

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Location: BMO Financial Group Auditorium, Ivey Business School

 

Media opportunities:

  • 1 p.m.  – Presentation from Andrew Steele, Vice President Strategy at TVO, and Ashley Good, Founder and CEO of Fail Forward
  • 2 p.m. – Panel sessions with social innovators
  • 3:30 p.m. – Fail Forward, Venture Forward, and Play Forward workshops
  • 5:15 p.m. – Presentation from Kelsey Ramsden, Founder of SparkPlay

  

About the Ivey Business School, Western University
The Ivey Business School (www.ivey.ca) at Western University is Canada’s leading provider of relevant, innovative and comprehensive business education. Drawing on extensive research and business experience, Ivey faculty provide the best classroom experience, equipping graduates with the skills and capabilities they need to tackle the leadership challenges in today’s complex business world. Ivey offers world-renowned undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as Executive Development at campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto and Hong Kong.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: 
Ivan Langrish 
Senior Manager, Media Strategy 
416-203-0664
ilangrish@ivey.ca

 

---> IVEY’ S CENTRE FOR BUILDING SUSTAINABLE VALUE
---> REGISTER FOR THE EVENT

2013 - Social Innovation: Making an impact one person at a time

Originally published on March 11th, 2013 by Ivey Public Affairs

Barry Slauenwhite, President and CEO of Compassion Canada, discusses his organization’s focus. Photo by Melissa Leithwood

Barry Slauenwhite, President and CEO of Compassion Canada, discusses his organization’s focus. Photo by Melissa Leithwood

Helping with basic needs such as food and housing to more advanced skills such as computer literacy, today’s socially-focused organizations are creating better communities.

And those attending the 4th Annual Social Innovation @ Ivey forum got a sampling of what such organizations have to offer and why it matters. The forum focused on the role of leaders in implementing groundbreaking social innovations. It was co-hosted by Ivey’s Centre for Building Sustainable Value and its Sustainability Certificate Program, the Ivey Sustainability Club and Ivey Connects.

The keynote event was a presentation from Barry Slauenwhite, President and CEO ofCompassion Canada, a London-based organization that works with churches in 26 countries to help with child development.

Another highlight of the day was a fireside chat with Neil Hetherington, EMBA ’13, CEO at Habitat for Humanity, New York City. He pointed out that his organization is not only focused on building homes for families in need, but on building communities.

“Good homes equal good communities,” he said. “It’s not so much about houses anymore. My audacious goals are now about impact.”

There was also a panel session and workshops with representatives from three socially-focused organizations: Positive Impact Law GroupYouth Empowering Parentsand Canadian Roots Exchange. Positive Impact Law Group provides legal counsel for social entrepreneurs. Canadian Roots Exchange is a federal not-for-profit that offers education and exchange programs to raise awareness of Indigenous communities. Youth Empowering Parents is an award-winning program whereby children teach their parents English and computer literacy skills.

Natalie McFarlane, founder of Positive Impact Law Group, said social innovation is about “anchoring yourself in the why,” while Vibhor Garg, Executive Director of Canadian Roots Exchange, discussed how social change happens one person at a time.

“One person can change a whole community,” he said.

Madhur Choudhary of Marketwire and Ivey PhD Candidate Melissa Leithwood also led a workshop on Social Media for Social Good.

Representatives from Youth Opportunities Unlimited London and Meals on Wheels also discussed how the two organizations partnered to provide healthy meals to seniors and adults with disabilities in London. Meals are prepared by youth employed in a skills training program in food preparation and services and brought to Meals on Wheels volunteers who hand-deliver them to those in need.

They said it’s a great example of how alliances between not-for-profits can make communities stronger.

Angel Rodriguez, a Human Resources Administrator at Williams Fresh Café who attended the event, said he gained valuable knowledge that he can use to help his community.

For more on the event, please see Facebook video or #iveysi on Twitter.

2012 - Ivey students learn value of social innovation

Originally published on March 23rd, 2012 by Ivey Public Affairs

Ivey Associate Professor Oana Branzei (centre) with Nolan Andres, founder and CEO of Peaceworks Technology Solutions;  Joyce Sou, Manager of B Corporations and Social Impact Metrics at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing; and Adam Spence, Founder of the Social Venture Exchange, at the Social Innovation @Ivey forum

Ivey Associate Professor Oana Branzei (centre) with Nolan Andres, founder and CEO of Peaceworks Technology Solutions;  Joyce Sou, Manager of B Corporations and Social Impact Metrics at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing; and Adam Spence, Founder of the Social Venture Exchange, at the Social Innovation @Ivey forum

Whether it be Mahatma Gandhi, the non-violent leader of Indian nationalism, or Robert Zevin, the investment manager who helped establish socially responsible investing, individuals have been inspiring people toward social entrepreneurship long before the term was coined.

For Nolan Andres, founder and CEO of Peaceworks Technology Solutions, a Waterloo-based technology consulting service that supports non-profit organizations and other community groups, a poor Guatemalan plantation worker who offered his supper to Andres, inspired Andres to marry his ideals with making a living. Peaceworks is a B Corporation, which means it has to meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards.

Andres spoke to Ivey students about his experience as a social entrepreneur and what it means to be a B Corporation for the Social Innovation @Ivey forum on March 7. The event was launched by Ivey Associate Professor Oana Branzei  in collaboration with theSocial Enterprise for Sustainable Communities Program in London, Sarnia Community Roundtable, and the Collaborative for Innovative Social Enterprise Development  in Ottawa.

“It doesn’t take a demi-god to make a difference,” said Andres. “What matters is these people (early inspirers of social enterprise, such as Ghandi and Zevin) were touched by the lives of others and forgot they were ordinary. They just acted and they made a difference.”

Joyce Sou, Manager of B Corporations and Social Impact Metrics at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, talked about the rise of B corporations and how her organization supports them with licensing and access to investors.

“There is an opportunity to build a new sector of the economy that creates economic opportunity, strengthens communities, restores the environment and alleviates poverty,” said Sou.

The forum also included a panel discussion with experts on community investing; speakers on social investing, social impact and system change; and workshops on social metrics, community funding programs and social enterprise clusters.