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Exploring Social Innovations in Alberta and Edmonton Community


Some innovations have a worldwide impact, while others may only affect a small group. Not all innovations are technical in nature; some of the most fascinating ones occur in the social realm (Bornstein, D. (2007). How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Oxford University Press). The purpose of this project is to explore one current or emerging social innovation and articulate how you might be able to help or influence that innovation. To make the project “closer to home,” you are to pick a social change that is not related to your own workplace and is occurring within Alberta and/or especially within the Edmonton community. If you do not live in Edmonton, use one from your locality.

Choose a company or organization that is trying to affect positive change in the lives of the people it serves. It could be not-for-profit (Should not be related to any Government/Religious Organization), large or small, new or old, or even an initiative within an organization (for example, a large company offering child care services for employees who cannot afford day care costs). Because you will write a research paper, you need to pick an organization that offers a healthy body of literature related to its services. Avoid small/new ones; find evidence/data (5+1 in total) about the organization before you set the topic.

Some Social Entrepreneurships work for the people, some with the people. The organization selected by you should work with the people. In other words- people should be part of the solution, not just the beneficiaries.

  1. Your paper must be in APA style and 5 pages long, double spaced (not including title page, not including references and citations).
  2. A minimum of 5+1 "distinct" scholarly sources are needed in this paper. That is, while you may cite a given source many times, you must have 5 different scholarly sources to substantiate your investigation.  You can use one (1) non-scholarly resource which can be the Organization’s web site.
  3. You must only use sources for which full text is available in PDF form.
  4. For each citation, refer to the page number of the source. For example, (Robertson, 2009, p.9).
  5. A common mistake by students is to use page 1 in the citation. This typically (though not always) suggests that the student did not actually read the cited materials.
  6. Use direct quotes sparingly (no more than 5% of your paper).
  7. When submitting your paper, also submit all your PDF sources as attachments.
  8. Name your PDF files as follows: AuthorNameYear.PDF. For Example: Campbell2003.PDF.
  1. What is the core problem that this organization addresses?
  2. What is their strategic plan?
  3. What are the relevant statistics, facts, and quantitative data that prove this organization is successfully meeting its mandate?
  4. How is this organization dealing with change or responding to change? (i.e. What follow-up plan/actions are being taken by the organization to ensure that their efforts will yield the desired results? How are processes evolving over time in order to enhance the impact for those who will ultimately benefit from the initiative?)
  5.   Come up with two brand new innovative ideas of your own that you think would make this great social enterprise even greater if you had the opportunity to pitch your two ideas to the Organization's board of directors.

You must clearly show that the organization is successful. For example, is giving the needy money, food or shelter a good idea? The fact that many clients use such services does not necessary mean the organization is successful, as it may create social dependence. But, if you provide evidence of how many use these services for a short period and move on to self-sufficiency (stats), then you have nailed the point. That said, if you build a school for children in a community, that by itself is good enough to demonstrate the viability of an organization. But in other cases, you need to argue whether the efforts are well placed and effective in the long run.

To that end, add a heading to your paper "Evidence of Success" and allocate at least one page to discuss this evidence.

Past experience with APA writing has been mixed. In some cases, students committed fatal error #1 in academic work: copying and pasting content from another source into their paper without clearly stating the source. Regardless of the motivation, personal reasons, or using ignorance as the reason, the interpretation is the same: plagiarism. This results in a zero (0) for the activity and a letter on the student file on the first offence; on the second office, a fail mark for the course and potential expulsion are the outcomes. Cheating is rampant in post-secondary education. To create an authentic learning environment for students, it must be discussed and stopped, even though the discussion is rarely pleasant for either the teacher or the student.

  1. Never, ever copy and paste anything from another source into your paper, unless the text is a direct quote (in “”) followed by the citation. The reader must always know what words are the author’s, paraphrased ideas of what he has read, or copied verbatim from another source.
  2. Just providing the citation does not permit you to copy and paste exact content into your paper, again unless it is a direct quote.
  3. When paraphrasing a source, always cite it.
  4. When paraphrasing, make sure your writing is not too close to the original text. Choose different words to describe what you have read.
  5. Do not use direct quotes excessively. A research paper is mostly meant to be your own words or your paraphrasing of what you have read. Too many direct quotes diminish your contribution. Academic writing is based on research/analysis/conjecture and conclusions by the authors, not simply citing quote after quote from other sources.

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