The Intersection of Social Innovation and Healthy Living

 

As a Canadian, mother, gen Y-er, kinesiology graduate, and consultant in the social innovation space, my perspective on the potential for wellness throughout this country is one of hope. I have been inspired by the blending of social entrepreneurship and health, inclusive of sport, nutrition, wellness, and more, to delve into the emerging field of social innovation.

Ashoka and leaders like Johann Olav Koss of Right to Play (RTP) intrigue me and have allowed me to understand the necessity of disrupting the status quo. RTP’s PLAY program demonstrates the vast potential for positively shifting existing health vulnerability and inequalities for future generations by embracing a holistic approach to healthy living, and leveraging the social and creative capital of innovative initiatives and communities.

Canada, like other nations around the world, faces a daunting prevalence of chronic disease, inactivity, and unhealthy eating. Geography, gender, income and other factors all play a significant role in the imbalanced resources and overall opportunities there are to face these problems, but they also present opportunities.

How will we create a future where we have more social and creative capital to enable citizens to lead more active and healthy lives? People throughout the country, myself included, can find that the impulse to embrace a healthier life is overwhelmed by long working days, sedentary lifestyle​s, and a culture of convenience.

For me, it is not about “inconveniencing” people into adopting a healthy lifestyle, with dieting and early morning runs, for example (though they are great for some), but rather by creating opportunities for citizens to engage in new ways with their environment, bodies, and their community.  

Vancouver alone provides plenty of examples where sparks of innovation are engaging citizens in new, dynamic, and scalable ways of embracing healthy lifestyles. Girlvana Yoga, Growing Chefs, Night Hoops, Red Fox Healthy Living Society, and Forest and the Femme are a few of the countless changemakers that are shaping the city where I live, providing healthy opportunities for my family and strengthening my belief that healthy living has the potential to transform everyone.

There are projects, initiatives, and organizations across Canada in different phases of development, targeting diverse populations, that are pursuing different ways to shape a more active and healthy Canada. They are part of a movement that connects social innovation with healthy living.

They are showing their communities, provinces, and the nation that change is happening. This is creative, radical movement that naturally attracts people to get involved.

Are you ready to disrupt Canada’s healthy living status quo? If so, here is an opportunity for you. Enter your idea, nominate a local organization that is doing innovative work, and learn more about how Canadians are reshaping the nation at The Play Exchange

Photo Credit: cabbit via Compfight cc