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The Centre for Social Impact Technology is a city-wide knowledge hub for nurturing dialogue, learning, and action on the convergence of social innovation and digital technology innovation.  The vision of the Centre is to catalyze an innovation ecosystem in Calgary around technology that is not only socially beneficial but socially transformative (responsible, open, inclusive, shared, and regenerative). 

Transforming Calgary into a hub for technology-enabled social innovation

The Centre will support Calgary’s digital transformation, connecting Calgary’s burgeoning tech economy to the many people and organizations working on social innovation.

Building a digital civil society

There are profound shifts in civil society driving the need for a technologically-empowered nonprofit sector, a more advanced social R&D culture, and calls from equity-deserving communities to have a greater voice in the development of technology to address complex social challenges informed by data, research insights, and a systems perspective. 

Nurturing, retaining, and attracting purpose-driven talent

The Centre will help local campuses develop ‘talent pipelines’, where students can rapidly gain a shared set of skills, competencies, and mindsets to enter and thrive in this ‘tech for social transformation’ space.

Building shared knowledge and dialogue

The Centre hosts webinars, in-person gatherings and other learning events; connects Calgarians to national and international learning opportunities; and produces research-driven publications around an array of topics where social meets tech. 


To do this there are a range of topics CSIT explores:

  • Ethical & responsible tech

  • Human-centered design

  • Agency & voice in tech

  • Open knowledge & data transparency

  • Commons-based platforms

  • OCAP & Indigenous IP sovereignty

  • Systems thinking, mapping, change & practice

  • Nonprofit sector data & tech capacity

  • Purpose-driven tech innovation

  • Collective intelligence & ‘cobotics’

  • Social data ecosystem

  • The social impact potential and peril of AI, blockchain, and metaverse


  1. We believe that technology has been important to the achievement of social impact for many decades now, and that advanced technology’s role in strengthening social impact is not merely integral in the future, but potentially transformative.                                                                     

  2. We believe that all sectors (commercial, civil society, and government, including hybrid organizations) have a role to play in advancing, designing, and using socially-purposeful technology. No one sector will solve the social impact tech challenge. 

  3. We are concerned about the socially maladaptive effects of advanced digital technologies that corrode or threaten equity, inclusion, civil society, public discourse, and the commons. 

  4. We are also concerned about the digital divide between social impact organizations and increasingly rapidly advancing technology, including an increasingly asymmetric data ecosystem between the commercial and non-commercial, social-purpose realms. 

  5. Many of the frameworks used to approach social challenges are vastly different from each other (in the tech vs. social impact ‘worlds’), and will in many cases be inadequate or ill-fit for addressing a host of specific social challenges, or indeed for creating a sustainable, regenerative, equitable, democratic, and flourishing 21st century. 

  6. Underlying these problems are too few interactions, collaborations, and co-designs of technological solutions between technologists and social impact practitioners. Social innovation and technological innovation are happening largely in isolation from one another. These realms of practice speak different ‘languages,’ have different drivers and reward systems, and are otherwise culturally divided. Trust- based relationships across these divides must be nurtured. 

  7. Students are not generally not equipped with crossover knowledge and capacities in social impact and technology. Post secondary institutions have a particular responsibility and opportunity to create these experiences and pathways, but so does the wider community. 

  8. In order to challenge the existing paradigm, we need a coherent pattern of networking and purposeful organization, recognizing that we are essentially helping bring to life and grow a new ‘community of practice.’ As such, inclusion of diverse voices, relationship-building, and nurturing an environment of mutual trust must be at the core our work. 

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