The Answers are Around Us and With Us Because They Are Us

Marc-André Pigeon

The fruits of community-led social enterprise. Photo credit http://www.armyofproblemsolvers.com

It happened like some of the best things in life: purely by chance.

My partner was making the 2400 kilometre trek from Saskatoon to our hometown in Ontario and stopped in for a visit to a friend who lives off the grid just outside of Kenora, near the Manitoba border.  The friend’s husband, a correctional officer, inquired about my line of work. When told I studied co-operatives, credit unions, and social enterprises, he said, “I’ve got a book he should read.” Continue reading

#Twittercoop

Danielle Potter

“Twitter is under threat of being sold, and selling out its users,” reads the petition urging Twitter shareholders to say Yes to a co-op. What is the motivation for such a move? What might be the impact? Could this happen? Continue reading

“Citizen Energy”: Social Innovation, Public Policy, and the German Energy Transformation

Based on a lecture by Brett Fairbairn
Co-hosted by the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, University of Saskatchewan, 2 November 2016

wind-turbine

Wind turbine under construction

Like many countries, Canada is looking for green-energy alternatives in response to climate change. Germany presents an interesting case study that Canada could use. The “Energy Transformation” (Energiewende) in Germany has increased renewable energy to more than 30 percent of consumption to date and aims for 60 percent by 2050. The country has accomplished this thanks to innovative legislation coupled with the response of civil society and the business sector. A key mechanism was the creation of nearly nine hundred energy co-operatives in less than a decade.

Brett Fairbairn outlined the strategy in his lecture titled “Citizen Energy: Social Innovation, Public Policy, and the German Energy Transformation.” In partnership with Markus Hanisch from the Berlin Institute of Co-operative Studies, Brett examined the role of community-level social entrepreneurship and innovation in achieving green-energy targets.  Continue reading