In keeping with Ecotrust Canada’s commitment to innovation, we’ve recently teamed up with the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University and the Centre for Dialogue to develop a learning lab for interning MBA students.

The goal is to provide an excellent work experience combined with exposure to the concepts of design thinking, law and governance. We hope to co-publish lessons, research pieces, case studies, and reflections at the end of each learning term.

Each partner brings their area of expertise to the table, to create the kind of unique tableau of perspectives and approaches that is signature of Ecotrust Canada’s way of working.

Ecotrust Canada is contributing its practical-on-the-ground social innovation experience; SFU Beedie is adding an academic underpinning upon which to rest our field discoveries; and the Centre for Dialogue is providing improved literacy in law and governance as these disciplines apply to the work of social innovation. The students, from an array of professional backgrounds, come to the lab with their newly minted MBAs and their enthusiasm to test theory in real time.

The five students selected for the first intact bring expertise in architecture, resource management, real estate, and supply chain management. For the next four months, they will focus their skills on a number of Ecotrust’s game-changing projects including:

  • Standing Tree Standing Home, a reserve housing project in which First Nations are directing development to accommodate their needs.
  • Forest Stewardship Certification which promotes the responsible management of the world’s forests.
  • Thisforest, a traceability program that allows consumers to trace the stories of forest products from the forest of origin to the marketplace.

The collaboration goes both ways.

“The program provides us an opportunity to apply our recently acquired business skills from Beedie, including design thinking, to some of Ecotrust’s  innovations,” says student Melissa Noel. “We have a unique combination of support and expertise from Ecotrust staff and SFU academia, helping us. This allows us to apply our theories and to understand how to put our education to work to improve local economies.”