September 2008

If the overwhelming response we received to this month's call for submissions is any indication, those engaged in open source are also passionate about social innovation. We could have easily published a 100 page issue, but opted instead to save some submissions for upcoming issues as they are also suited to the themes of Building Community and Enabling Innovation.

Tony Bailetti of the Talent First Network is one of the driving forces behind the OSBR. He is guest editor this month and I think you'll agree that he has done an excellent job of finding authors from industry, academia, and non-profits who are on the frontlines of social innovation in Canada.

This issue is jam-packed with resources and examples of initiatives--enough to leave you thinking "I had no idea so much was happening in Canada". They aren't meant to be exhaustive, but the insights and lessons learned can be applied to similar initiatives across the globe.

As always, the authors and other readers appreciate your comments and references to additonal resources. You can send these to the Editor or leave them on the OSBR website or blog.

Dru Lavigne



Social Innovation is the theme of the September issue of the Open Source Business Resource. This issue captures important aspects of how open source assets, processes, and values may be used to create social and environmental value. Some of these aspects are new and still blurry, others are clear and familiar. The publication of this issue signals a strong interest in the use of open source to support non-profit and charitable initiatives. Technology company managers, entrepreneurs, academics, contributors to open source projects, and staff of non profit organizations and foundations are encouraged to continue to use open source to enable social innovation.

In this issue, authors from very diverse backgrounds have contributed insightful articles that examine: i) global projects that use open source to benefit society; ii) open source-like approaches to organizing the collaborative efforts that lead to social innovation; iii) challenges and elements of social innovation; and iv) ways to align university capacity with the social innovation agenda.

John Roese is Nortel's Chief Technology Officer. In the first article of this issue, Roese describes how the open source-based XO laptop has benefited children and teachers in some of the most under-developed parts of the world and taught product developers employed by technology companies valuable lessons.

Tonya Surman is the founding Executive Director of the Centre for Social Innovation and Mark Surman is the Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation. Their article describes an open source-like approach to organizing collaborative efforts which was developed by and for the Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and the Environment.

Stephen Huddart is the Vice-President of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation in Montreal. His article first examines the relationship between open source and social innovation, then organizes tools for social innovation into four categories, and finally identifies two areas where social innovation and open source are needed urgently.

Allyson Hewitt is Director, Social Entrepreneurship at MaRS. In her article she identifies four key elements of social innovation and argues that innovation intermediaries are critical enablers of the success of social innovations.

Roseann Runte is President and Vice-Chancellor of Carleton University. She urges scholars to create a new hierarchy of information and transform the question of access from an economic issue to one of moral and social justice.

Nancy Doubleday is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University. She examines three projects that used the adaptive co-management approach to support students working in autonomous groups that produced social innovations.

Kim Matheson is Carleton University's Vice-President (Research and International). She identifies five conditions that facilitate a university agenda for successful social innovation and argues that universities have to consciously consider strategies that support alternative models for how disciplines work together, how they work with communities, and how researchers are rewarded.

Edward Jackson is Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Affairs) in the Faculty of Public Affairs at Carleton University. Jackson argues that to create social and environmental value and solve social problems in a cost-effective and sustainable way, Canadian universities need to align their capacities with the social innovation agenda and establish effective partnerships with their communities.

Please enjoy the September issue of the and share your reactions by writing our editor.

Tony Bailetti

Guest Editor

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