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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)
3-5pm (Workshops)




Thanks for coming to the Social Innovation Summit! Check back in 2018 for information on next year's event.

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.

Registration is sold out. If you have a discount code for the Summit or would like to be added to the waitlist please email

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.

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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

How are cities reshaped by populations of newcomers – and how can cities of newcomers, like Surrey, reshape themselves to ensure that the next generation of immigrants are as successful as the last? Doug Saunders examines the best practices from Europe and North America in using smart investments and interventions to make cities better places for integration, inclusion and prosperity in the coming decades of growth.

Closing Keynote:

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

How did our cities come to be? In Canadian cities, tales of terra nullius, founding fathers and pioneer settlements continue to dominate the narratives. But beneath colonial cityscapes are Indigenous roots running deep. Duncan McCue will explore the growing movement to Indigenize our cities and connect urban residents to the lands where we live, by making space for the architecture, languages, and cultures of the first peoples.

Concurrent Sessions

Session 1 - Diversity = Innovation

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?

Moderator:  Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade

Session 2 - 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: Joy Johnson, Vice-President, Research and International, Simon Fraser University

Session 3 - 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?

Moderator: Mark Busse, Director of TILT Curiosity Labs, HCMA Architecture and Design

Session 4 - 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

Session 5 - Our Social Responsibility to Our Youth

Youth who become isolated and marginalized in their own communities are at greater risk of dropping out of school and may eventually become engaged in socially irresponsible activities. Researchers and practitioners agree that connecting schools and their surrounding communities is part of the answer. How can we develop innovative approaches to help us ensure we build schools and communities in which everyone feels connected, engaged, and therefore protected from those risk factors?

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

Session 6 - Youth Leading for Change: Ideas and Approaches from a New Generation

We’re in an era of unprecedented social change and today’s youth have a unique take on how they want to live their lives and shape the future of our communities. This session will explore how the next generation will approach the issues they’ll face and find solutions.

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


Workshop 1 - Placemaking as a Catalyst for Developing the City of the Future

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.

Workshop 2 - Place-Based Social Innovation Labs

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  



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