Winter 2015 
CSI Welcomes Tiziana Dearing

CSI Co-Directors (l-r):
Stephanie Berzin and Tiziana Dearing

The Center for Social Innovation welcomes Tiziana Dearing as the new Co-Director of the CSI. Professor Dearing joined the School of Social work after her years of practice in the field, leading several anti-poverty organizations. Her experiences include starting Boston Rising, a start-up anti-poverty fund, President at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston and Executive Director of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University. In addition, she was a management consultant for nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies for nearly ten years. As an Associate Professor and Chair of Macro Practice at BCSSW, Prof. Dearing brings incredible experience, energy and leadership to the Center's team. We are excited to have her on board!


The Center also wants to thank Dr. Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes for her time and leadership at the CSI as she transitions to her new role as Director of the Social Work PhD Program at BC. Over the last 5 years, Dr. Pitt-Catsouphes has played a major role in founding the Center for Social Innovation and furthering its work with NGOs by promoting innovation from within. Her dedicated work, time, and passion is greatly appreciated. We congratulate her on her new position and wish her the best of luck in this new role!  

First International Lab In Medellin, Colombia 


CSI has concluded its first international Social Innovation Lab in Medellín, Colombia. Partnering with Ruta N Medellín, one of the leading science and technology innovation companies in Colombia, the CSI worked with teams comprised of NGOs, local government, corporations and universities to launch four innovative initiatives in Medellín, addressing issues of transportation, entrepreneurship, overcoming the urban conflict, and housing.

Team members participating in workshop


Over the course of the project, the CSI team visited Medellín in both the fall and spring, providing workshops to the teams and additional social sector leaders. The initial visit in the fall consisted of a workshop on the BC CSI Social Innovation Process as well as strategies for problem identification and research. Following this orientation, teams were provided guidance from CSI and local partner, Compartamos con Colombia (CCC). A second local partner, Furia, also provided additional support in engaging the teams in immersion exercises to experience their social issues from the perspective of their target audience. In the spring, the CSI provided an Intensive Social Innovation Seminar to challenge Lab teams to ideate solutions to their problems and to leverage team resources for innovation.


The final stage of the SI Lab resulted in teams utilizing tools provided by the CSI to ideate innovative solutions to their social problems. Prototypes were created with Furia's support to develop for pilot testing. The results are as follows:

  1. Faro: a navigation system for pedestrian mobility, which helps people connect to public resources, like bike paths and safety zones, via their mobile phones.
  2. Creo en Vos: an app that promotes consumption of local goods by facilitating purchases between local entrepreneurs and consumers in Medellín.
  3. Convivencia: a video game for 7-16 year olds to identify social norms they are exposed to, which perpetuate a culture of violence in their neighborhood.
  4. HabitaWiki: an online networking opportunity for people to post and share their own solutions to optimizing space in dense housing.

Additional outcomes for this project were the development of a concurrent online course for Lab participants, Social Innovation: Strategies for Change. This consisted of six modules with video lectures from CSI Co-Director, Stephanie Berzin, PhD, in-depth readings, and discussion forums for participants to engage, reflect and integrate social innovation topics into their work. A Toolkit for Social Innovation was also created which includes the theoretical frameworks utilized in CSI's social innovation process, steps for defining and researching a social issue, and practical exercises focused on both generating a solution and then launching an innovation.


Thank you to Ruta N, Compartamos con Colombia and Furia for their collaboration and enthusiasm around social innovation in Medellín and congratulations to all the Lab teams and participants! For more information on this project, click here

New Innovation Collaborative in Chile
Dr. Stephanie Berzin and Humberto Camarena meeting with local leaders in Santiago, Chile.
The CSI would like to introduce its latest project- Social Innovation Project: Collaboration to Transform the Way we Solve Social Problems in partnership with Pontifica Universidad Catόlica in Chile. Ranked first by the QS Rankings among Latin American schools, Pontifica provides a unique and promising collaborative experience with such a notable institution. With great thanks to the funder Andrónico Luksic Craig for his generous three-year commitment of support, 
the schools will seek to bolster the capacity of social workers in Chile in order to innovate alongside the community to address social inequalities. In addition, this project will provide a joint-student experience involving course and field work focused on the concepts and practices of social innovation and community development in an international setting. 
CSI's Co-Director, Dr. Stephanie Berzin and Assistant Director, Humberto Camarena recently traveled to Santiago, Chile to begin the collaboration process for this project. Through meetings with local innovators and representatives from the Ashoka network, the team has hit the ground running by tapping into the vibrant energy around social innovation in Chile. The Center is excited about this new opportunity as it continues to expand its reach and generate broader impact on a global level.
Fall Research Highlight:
The CSI recently completed a research study with The study found older adults are engaged in social enterprise work.'s program was able to support media attention and capacity building for the organization. 

The research was presented in November 2014 at the Gerontological Society of America's 67th Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, DC. It will also be presented in January 2015 at the Society for Social Work Research in New Orleans, LA. 

CSI in the Field
Prof. Dearing, served as moderator of the May 28, 2014 panel at Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston 
at Harvard University's Symposium: Technology's Promise - Can It Create Social Mobility in Greater Boston?


Dr. Berzin, chaired Network for Social Work Management (NSWM) Conference this past June developing a theme around innovation in Social Work Management.

The CSI research team presented findings on nonprofit leaders' engagement in social innovation at the NSWM Conference last June.

CSI Assistant Director, Humberto Camarena, presented on rapid prototyping for human service organizations at the NSWM Conference. 


Prof. Dearing served as closing panel moderator at the NSWM Conference. 


Prof. Dearing wrote "Protecting Our Most Vulnerable Children and Families" piece for Cognoscenti and discussed vulnerable children further on the morning edition of WBUR in July.


Prof. Dearing served on the Root Cause Social Innovation Forum finalist selection panel for the "Pathways to Education, Training, and Employment for 'Opportunity Youth'" track on October 6, 2014. 


CSI Assistant Director, Humberto Camarena, spoke at Fe y Alegrí­a's International Innovation Symposium held in Managua, Nicaragua fom October 15-19, 2014.
Dr. Berzin served on a panel at the Crowds and Climate Conference at MIT on November 7, 2014 addressing how NGOs can be valuable partners in combating climate change.
Dr. Berzin presented findings from the Leading the Way report as well as moderated a panel discussion on social innovation at the Providers' Council 39th Annual Convention and Expo in Boston, MA on November 17, 2014.
New Blog: 

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