Innovation for a new economy

Written by Centaine Tyler, Vibrant Communities Calgary

Innovation is at the core of doing business differently, which is why the Forum chose “Innovation for all” as the overarching theme for this year’s Soul of the Next Economy Forum.

“We don’t think oil is going to come back to what it used to be anytime soon, so we have to innovate and work differently in order to keep moving forward,” Franco Savoia, Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Calgary explains.

The Forum brings together people from across various sectors – government, education, business, and non-profit alike – for discussions on how each sector can work together to create a positive impact on society and the “next economy” in Calgary.

“It’s about those hot topics like corporate social responsibility and triple bottom lines,” says Franco. “But the forum is really about getting these topics discussed and getting those people that are trying to accomplish these things the opportunity to spotlight their successes and struggles.”

New this year, the Soul of the Next Economy Forum will run for one day only (instead of a day and a half) on Friday September 28. Franco explains that they made this decision in an effort to encourage more participation from the business sector while keeping attendees from giving up their weekend.

Vibrant Communities Calgary has been cohosting the forum for five years running, alongside Ambrose University – which has a robust poverty studies program and a socially-conscious focus in its business school curriculum and the Fig Tree Foundation that fosters local solutions and ownership to international efforts to reduce poverty.

As this year’s forum fast approaches, Franco is most looking forward to the keynote speakers: Lynda Kuhn, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Purpose Champion at Maple Leaf Foods; and Dr Éliane Ubalijoro, Executive Director of C.L.E.A.R. International Development Inc.

“Maple Leaf Foods has taken on a goal to end food insecurity in Canada by forming an institute to study it and fund initiatives across the country,” Franco explains. “So, they’re a business, but they’ve taken it upon themselves to solve a social issue.”

“Dr Ubalijoro’s keynote will have an international focus, looking at international development and assistance, and how you can do so with greater sustainable impact. Not bringing solutions to people, but working directly with those you want to help to come up with their own solution.”

“You really have to listen to people to help solve their challenges – and I think that applies here at home as well.” Tickets for the Soul of the Next Economy Forum are available now, with early-bird pricing until the end of August.


  1. Click here to purchase your tickets to the Soul of the Next Economy Forum. Save $50 if you buy before August 31.
  2. Click here to check out the speakers and workshops – including a presentation by REAP Founder Stephanie Jackman. She’ll be speaking about integrating market and social approaches through social procurement as part of the Innovations in Development workshop.
  3. Learn more about Vibrant Communities Calgary’s regular body of work here.
  4. Connect with Vibrant Communities Calgary on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.
  5. Check out Vibrant Communities Calgary’s Sustainability Profile on the REAP website.