Social Innovation Generation (SiG) was a collaborative partnership between the McConnell Foundation, University of Waterloo, MaRS Discovery District and Plan Institute. For a decade, SiG nurtured the conditions for transformative change in Canada by convening leaders to create and scale solutions to critical social, economic and environmental issues. Reaching the end of their 10-year mandate, SiG wanted to pass the torch by writing a book to tell their story, amplify voices from across Canada, and reflect on what they learned about how change happens.
We partnered with Adjacent Possibilities to produce the book and a corresponding website. We helped the authors to define the narrative structure, established constraints to guide the writing, and then designed the 180-page book. The book’s motif honours SiG’s favourite metaphor: the lifecycle of a dandelion that grows from a seed, brightly flourishes, and then casts its own seeds into the wind to foster an ecosystem. The colour palette combines shades of blue – a nod to SiG’s brand – with yellow accents signalling insights at the end of each chapter. In the margins, we added handwritten notes to call out special moments in SiG’s story while encouraging the reader to mark up the book with their own reflections.
We built an accompanying microsite to sell the book online and invite readers to contribute their memories of SiG. The site features video interviews with eight changemakers about systems change in Canada.
The book, films and website were unveiled at a celebration of Social Innovation Generation, with 400 members of their network in the room. The suite of storytelling pieces has been shared around the world. This is how the SiG story lives on, inspiring others to work toward a more inclusive and sustainable society.