Social Innovation

button reading "ask me how I am making Buffalo better".

Globally, social innovation is on the rise — and UB is helping to lead the way.

Around the world, society faces a multitude of systemic problems, including lack of access to supportive health care and housing, climate change, food insecurity and poverty. To tackle these issues, organizations are coming together to collaborate on possible resolutions; public, private, nonprofit and government agencies are working together to create a better future.

In the UB School of Social Work, social innovation is a key initiative, as we recognize the importance of collaborating with others to solve problems. As we continue our ongoing collaboration with the School of Management, we enable our students to work with faculty from both schools, learn from students with different specialties and make an impact on our local and global communities, both socially and economically.

Through UB's Social Impact Fellows program, MBA and MSW students from the School of Management and School of Social Work, along with graduate students from the College of Arts and Sciences, create social innovation in Western New York. Together, our students collaborate, address pressing social issues and make an impact.

social impact fellow students at the University Tool Library.

Social Sector Innovation Course

Student learning is central to the social innovation initiative driven by the School of Social Work and School of Management. Co-taught by faculty members from each school, the course gives students a comprehensive introduction to the social sector, the process of innovation and how to measure social impact, as well as real-life examples of organizations using social innovation to improve communities nationwide.

students presenting in class.

"We have a tendency to just stick with what works in the social work field. To produce change, we need to stop doing what just works and see what else works. This course has helped me in looking at the world differently."

— Victoria Roden, MSW '18

Creative Innovation Workshops

The School of Social Work and School of Management, in collaboration with the Blackstone LaunchPad at UB, have offered a series of half-day workshops to undergraduate and graduate students from across campus. In one workshop, students received an overview of the lean startup methodology and mission-driven business models, and then completed an exercise, modeled after Google sprints, to generate ideas for local nonprofits. Workshops continue to be offered annually in a range of topics.

student writing on poster board at innovation workshop.