Want to participate in a future Change Lab? Send us an email to get on the mailing list for our next recruitment cycle, likely for a spring 2018 program in Vancouver. change-lab@sfu.ca


 What is a Change Lab?

Change Lab courses have been running at SFU since 2011. These unique, once-in-a-degree studio courses are intensive opportunities to hone your skills at developing practical solutions to real-world challenges.

Health Change Lab is entering its second year. It is focussed on Community Health projects in our local community, and is co-hosted by SFU Beedie, SFU Health Sciences and RADIUS SFU. Local partners include Fraser Health, the City of Surrey, and a network of leading community organizations. Change Lab is generously supported by Scott Shaw.

Sessions are a mix of hands on workshops, coaching by instructors and experts, limited content lectures, guest speakers, and open work time in your teams to advance your ideas.

Health Change Lab Schedule and Logistics

  • Studio days: Tuesdays 10:30am – 5:30pm at SFU Surrey.
  • Project coaching: Thursdays 1:30pm – 4:30pm at the RADIUS Social Innovation Lab (200-308 West Hasting Street, Vancouver).
  • Retreat: There is a day-long offsite retreat on September 12, expenses covered.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

ChangeLab Studio Day

(11:30am – 5:30pm)

 @ SFU Surrey


Project Coaching

(2:30pm- 5:30pm)


(downtown Vancouver) 


About Health Change Lab 2017

Participants work in teams to understand a health related challenge, then develop and test an innovative, venture-based response.

Teams will present to community panels for feedback mid term, and be given the opportunity to connect with community partners and leaders to help build ideas connected to the realities of our communities, and possibly to see those ideas proceed in the real world.

Personal learning and leadership:

Ideal Change Lab students come in with keen curiosity and a willingness to explore and deepen their own leadership skills. Individual reflection and journaling are part of the course. Participants will be challenged to both give and receive feedback from peers and instructors. Openness, vulnerability, and the ability to listen deeply are highly valued.

The workload:

Commensurate with 10 credits, you should expect this to be an intensive experience. Many students have described the course as the most transformative of their undergraduate degree – but you have to be interested in and committed to:

  • developing and testing real ideas,
  • getting out of the classroom and talking to people, and
  • taking responsibility for the direction of your learning during the term.

There isn’t a lot of mandatory reading or information to memorize – you work with us to figure out what you need to learn to effectively advance your project.

The content:

Some of the topics you will learn about are social entrepreneurship, systems thinking, public health and community health issues pertinent to Surrey, determinants of health, business model development, personal development, effective teams, and more.

The specific credits that you are awarded are:

  • BUS 453 (Sustainable Innovations) – 3 credits
  • BUS 494 (Design for Innovation) – 3 credits
  • HCSI 495 (Applied Health Sciences Project) – 4 credits

Health Change Lab 2017 Instructors

This course is co-taught by three experienced instructors: Shawn Smith (BUS), Tamara Connell (BUS), and Paola Ardiles (HSCI). Mentors, speakers, and project partners are sourced through our extensive networks.

The cohort

You do not need any past business or health experience to thrive in this course. Expect your changemaking peers to bring a variety of perspectives from departments and faculties across the university, a breadth of experience from their own lives, and a shared passion for social and environmental issues.

While we value experience in social change, leadership and project creation of all sorts, we also encourage anyone excited about the description here to consider applying.

How to apply to Health Change Lab 2017

Applications are now closed.


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