From Idea to Action!

From Idea to Action!

New and innovative ideas need the chance to be heard! We at BC Ideas believe that these innovations at the starting phase need lots of feedback, mentor-ship and encouragement. This week we will focus our efforts entirely on showcasing and mentoring ideas phased concepts from around BC. Join us and share your expertise with these emerging changemakers!

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Come and share with us your experience and advice on how to get new ideas [...]

Come and share with us your experience and advice on how to get new ideas off the ground!

  1. 684 days ago

    Lynne MacFadgen

    It is heartening to read about your project work and your ability to establish a cooperative (and to tap into the the social entrepreneurship potential, on so many fronts).I hail from Cape Breton Nova Scotia, where StFX University has had a long history of university extension work for social change and is a recognized leader in the cooperative movement (Coady Institute). Consider approaching and involving your local university partners (it is sometimes a challenge to find collaborators inside the academe, if there is no visible Continuing Education Divison – but I assure you, there are informed and engaged partners lurking inside, at every site!) LM



  2. 685 days ago

    Dustin Paisley

    I am glad to see that BC is excelling in social entrepreneurship. I am from Calgary, Alberta, where the sector is not yet to the level of that in BC. However there are a few organizations that are doing great work to help solve this problem. I myself started a program called the UP Project, where participants who have an idea for a social venture go through a three day workshop in an attempt to take their idea through to be an opportunity. They are able to do this through course content delivered by ‘The Innographer’. I would invite anyone to take a look at the work a professor from Mount Royal University is doing on transforming your hunch into an opportunity to help them get their wheels moving. His framework will be essentiall to the success of the three days, however, there is a three month mentorship program that will run after the initial weekend. I understand I am not from BC, but I would love your input on how to make this project successful. I am having trouble finding participants even after speaking to local change agents and organizations.



  3. 690 days ago

    Kevin Harding

    A number of colleagues and I had an idea to collaborate together and support nonprofit, grassroots, membership, advocacy, and other social sector groups develop, improve, reach out, and more. We’ve got lots of human capital amongst us all – a number of MAs, a PhD, experienced sales managers, and so forth – so we had a vision, we had passion, and we had experience all taken care of – we were going to start a consulting firm and go out and help groups make a difference.

    However, we looked at how we could organize ourselves and we weren’t thrilled. We didn’t really like the traditional corporate model, because it seems so far removed from the groups we’re working with. We didn’t think we could operate as a nonprofit, because we’d like to sustain ourselves, and it’s tricky to make that balance work. We were stuck!

    Thankfully, in BC, we had the option to start a cooperative – a worker-owned, democratically controlled organization – where we all take place in governance, in business planning, marketing, client support, and everything else – and we all share the revenues that we generate.

    The best part? The cooperative model is available to any kind of enterprise, social or business. You need to commit to democratically working together and *cooperating* instead of *competing* with each other. It’s so much fun, and you know you’re having an impact even just from the way you do business.

    That’s how we came up with the Incipe Cooperative – a home-grown BC idea working with other great ideas.



    • Kevin Harding

      I should note that cooperatives are amazing ways to build stronger communities – because they’re directly controlled by their members, who are also their owners, and should share their profits with their owners, they can generally keep money circulating within a community, building its local economy, meeting local needs, and so much more. Across Canada, cooperatives have been essential in building communities – and they’re big in BC.

      690 days ago


    • Nicole Huska

      i imagine another bonus of the Cooperative model is the peer support. The Canadian Cooperatives Association is well established, runs funding programs and has national reach. Awesome~

      690 days ago


    • Sonia Bianchi

      Great story Kevin, so inspiring to read about how your group has utilized such a great tool!

      689 days ago


    • Our Local Markets

      I like the idea of co-ops but do you ever find that too many cooks in the kitchen sometimes spoils the soup?

      688 days ago


    • Nicole Huska

      OurLocalMarkets – that was also my personal reservation against going with the Co-op model. But my project is a for profit venture.

      688 days ago


  4. 690 days ago

    Nicole Huska

    1. pick yourself up a blog (tumblr, blogger, wordpress) 2. start putting your thought and ideas into text and photos (the greater the multimedia content the more people may be inclined to connect with you) 3. get yourself a Facebook page for your organization or associate it with your personal account. 4. get a twitter account 5. google all groups in your local community and region that are on the same wavelength, industry, social group as you 6. Twitter Search keywords and groups that relate directly and indirectly to your idea – Connect locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

    THINK: CONTENT. CONTEXT and CONNECTION

    Depending on your industry, search for local grants, municipal, provincial and federal funding initiatives.

    Build some goals and milestones. Take Action. Don’t get discouraged by failure, it helps streamline your idea and teaches valuable lessons.

    And lastly but most important. Get your vision clear, but allow it to evolve, always listen but keep your focus and disregard the nay sayers….there will be lots of them.



    • Sonia Bianchi

      Some wonderful resources you’ve listed here Nicole! Thank you for contributing. I find especially with web related tools, there is always a learning curve, its much better to start early and give yourself lots of time to develop what you want. Also, CONNECTIONS ARE KEY! Thank you for pointing that out! I hope that everyone with an idea take a look at our changeshops, there are some great tools on there to help netowrk your ideas and have a visual representation of your growth and needs!

      689 days ago


    • Nicole Huska

      a lot of the online content I’ve been reading lately from business sources puts a lot of emphasis on CONTEXT….this can also be associated with finding and catering to your “tribe” as Seth Godin calls it or perhaps more simply put, your niche. Understand very clearly who you are serving with your idea and how you are creating value (we acknowledge here that social has value) for your stakeholders/investors. It doesn’t hurt to view your financial backers through a business lens….explore how you can create value for them as a byproduct of their contribution. Be it, advertising on your site, putting the good word out in your local community about their involvement in your project (with their permission of course). Feel good press is a business’s best friend, second only to sales.

      689 days ago


  5. 690 days ago

    Our Local Markets

    It’s not east getting new ideas off the ground. The one thing that holds most people back is a lack of money. It’s our greatest problem too. We have found a way to get around this problem though. Rather than starting off with a big splash, we are building Our Local Markets in small, careful steps. Right now, we are about as lean as a business could possibly be.

    A lean start-up isn’t just about spending your money wisely. It is also about working through a process in developing your service. Lots of measurements are taken along the way and adjustments are made where needed.

    We brought our plan into action through participating in local farmer’s markets. Each week, we bring in different local products and listen closely to what people are saying to us. So far, we have learned that most people that go to farmer’s markets want local food because they believe that it is more nutritional than what is found in the local grocery store. People sincerely appreciate good food. Interestingly, many of the people that like local food have taken a position against the big business model and are demonstrating their stance through buying locally grown or produced products. These people seem to have an activist side to them (just like me).

    A lean start-up has allowed us to learn more about health conditions. Many of the people that we talk to at the farmer’s market have problems with wheat and are looking for ways to resolve this issue. I have Celiac Disease therefore it is easy for me to understand their dilemma. According to almost everything that I have read about the disease, 1 in 133 people in North America are affected. That statistic does not come close to what we see at these markets. Over forty percent of the people that we talk to, have a problem with wheat, or think they have a problem with it. Twelve percent say they have Celiac Disease. Those are huge numbers. We are thinking of ways to better address this problem.

    In the coming months, we will move our business online.



  6. 690 days ago

    Our Local Markets

    For me, it was a matter of putting my ideas together in a business plan and thinking through each area in the most logical and sincere manner posible. I needed to know that I was on secure footing before I moved forward. I also spent considerable time talking to different levels of government to ensure the plan fit within existing legislation and regulations. Good research skills are important.



    • Sonia Bianchi

      A great sugstion Susan! Just the act of putting pen to paper and structuring your thoughts can lead you to some great ideas!

      689 days ago


    • Jessica Hannon

      A very good point, Susan. Did you use any resources to help you through the process of putting together a business plan? Any advice for individuals or groups who might not have experience with writing a business plan?

      689 days ago


    • Our Local Markets

      I found a good template (Micrososft) online then just started to fill in the blanks. Google and I are good friends — it’s an excellent resource too use in developing a plan. The plan has evolved into something very different than the original template. I added an area to discuss social value. I have also incuded other information that goes specifically with the type of business that I am creating i.e. an e-commerce website. The plan is a fluid document…changing as we make changes. This was the first time that I ever tackled a business plan. I am proud of what I have produced.

      689 days ago


    • Our Local Markets

      Oops! It bugs me when I make spelling mistakes. I should check over my messages better before posting them.

      689 days ago


  7. 691 days ago

    Melissa Durand

    VISION….PASSION…..PERSEVERANCE

    Of course you have vision, that is how all ideas start. I am sure your vision has been emerging for some time and now you feel the pull to put it into action.

    As things come together to make that a reality and you learn the steps you have to take, passion will certainly be necessary to carry you forward. Finding a group of people to help inspire you and bring your vision and passion together, will be a great benefit.

    If you don’t have passion for your idea it will be hard to draw upon perseverance, which I have found to be the most important part of starting the journey and taking your idea to fruition. Find one thing you can do a week to keep your passion going and your idea moving forward, For example, if your idea was to build a community garden you could have tea with the most avid gardener that you know in your community. Your ability to persevere is what will encourage you to keep going when things get difficult, which they most certainly will! If you give yourself one small attainable milestone to reach before quitting, you will most likely find that by the time you reach that, you will have the built the desire to keep going.

    As I speak what I most need to learn, this weeks attainable goal for me was stepping outside of my comfort zone and writing something in a public space, hopefully to inspire the idea of possibility in someone else.

    What is your attainable milestone?



    • Sonia Bianchi

      Thank you for your fantastic advice Melissa! I’m glad we could be one of your attainable goals this week! I love that idea to make small progress every week, it absolutely helps to move an idea forward! My goal for the week, to connect at least 4 ideas to others doing similar work around BC!

      690 days ago


  8. 691 days ago

    Sonia Bianchi

    Welcome Innovators! This week we’re talking about making your idea a reality. Does anyone have any advice about how to put the wheels in motion and transform your idea into action? All levels of experience are welcome to participate!