A Vision for Centres of Knowledge

As a marketing company with an interest in exploring for opportunities to work with the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University and with an interest in increasing the contribution of our learning institutions to our common interests, I had a number of conversations with Margit Nance, the head of the Public Policy Program at Simon Fraser University. This was the idea I presented as an initiative to increase the University’s ability to create connections and dialogue around issues of common interest and concern in Vancouver, across Canada and around the world.

The Vision for Simon Fraser University

  • To increase the profile of the University locally, nationally, and internationally
  • To position the University in a manner which sets it apart as bold, innovative, and unique in Canada and around the world
  • To improve the University’s ability to meet the needs of the communities it serves, whether defined by geography, demographics, or common interest
  • To make a greater contribution to the social and economic well-being and quality of life of all people
  • To become economically self-sufficient
  • To establish measures of accountability that reflect the role and contribution of the University
  • To establish the Centre for Dialogue as a global facility that focuses attention on issues of common interest and concern, stimulates widespread dialogue, facilitates access to information and learning resources, and assists in the generation of new ideas and initiatives to move us forward to a better future.

The Vision for the Public Policy Program

  • To support the vision and future direction of the University
  • To attract and provide benefits to a larger audience locally and globally
  • To focus attention, generate interest, create dialogue, provide opportunities for learning, stimulate new ideas, new thinking, and new initiatives, and assist in finding ways to address important issues and concerns
  • To earn or attract resources required to expand the program and improve its effectiveness in contributing to new ideas and initiatives around issues of common interest and concern

The Market

The market for the Public Policy Program might be segmented into the following customer groups:

  • Individuals whose work involves increasing their knowledge and understanding of issues of concern to society
  • Individuals who are informed, concerned, active, resourced, and enlightened, who want to increase understanding of issues of common interest and concern in order to improve their ability to make a contribution
  • Individuals who represent the interest of organizations who are engaged in activities that contribute to improving the quality of life and our future well being
  • Individuals who represent the interests of corporate or social enterprises who want to attract and build relationships with customers who are socially responsible and who understand the opportunities and benefits offered by cooperative partnerships
  • Individuals or organizations who are involved in providing communication media or producing content that serves and benefits these high value customer segments

The Opportunity for Simon Fraser University

To employ the Public Policy program as the vehicle, and the Centre for Dialogue as the foundation to create a new enterprise that connects individuals and organizations in communities of common interests, and provides them with learning opportunities, experiences, resources, and services to pursue their interests

How to Make This Happen

  • Develop the concept and create a brand for the Public Policy Program that communicates the purchase opportunities and benefits to the market and which articulates and supports the role and objectives of the Program, the Centre for Dialogue, and the University
  • Establish a customer development strategy that design-builds the enterprise working collaboratively with key founding partners who can provide the additional resources, marketing strength, and capabilities required to implement the strategy most rapidly and cost-effectively
  • Obtain the support of the Board of Governors and the key founding partners to launch the program in a manner that reaches the widest possible audience and position the program, the Centre for Dialogue, and the University on a global stage as rapidly as possible


Connections is a name which:

  • immediately suggests the benefits and opportunities offered by the enterprise
  • has universal appeal
  • is memorable and associative
  • communicates the purpose, activities, and legacy of the enterprise

Connections are:

  • important in understanding the relationship between things in problem solving
  • necessary for communication and dialogue
  • the first requirement for establishing relationships between individuals and organizations
  • essential for understanding our world systemically

What Does Connections Do?

  • Connects individuals and organizations who have information, knowledge, ideas, and points of view to contribute to issues of common interest and concern
  • Connects individuals in public dialogue to generate new ideas and insights to provide the participants and audiences with a learning experience around an issue of interest and concern
  • Connects individuals and organizations within and between communities of common interest by providing services and facilities that assist them in communication, collaborating, and cooperating to their mutual and our collective benefit
  • Connects bodies of knowledge around issues of common interest and concern to improve our ability to explore the connections between things to stimulate new insights, understanding, ideas, and initiatives around issues of common interest and concern
  • Connects ideas for new initiatives with the organizations who can act on them in a leveraged, collaborative, and cooperative manner

How Does Connections Do This?

  • Provides individuals and organizations with the opportunity to become part of the Connections program which provides them with relevant information, services, purchase opportunities, and benefits
  • Creates a network of relationships that gives the University the opportunity to become an active participant in the new media
  • Create groups of active learners around areas of common interest that represent high value customer segments and buyers of learning resources, experiences, services, and related products that meet their needs and interests
  • Create cooperative partnerships with organizations who have related interests who can benefit from the services offered by Connections and who can contribute to the partnership by bringing their resources, capabilities, and customers to the enterprise
  • Create partnerships with corporate partners and the media who can bring audiences, and communication and distribution vehicles to the Connections program.

Simon Fraser University
A Vision for Centres of Knowledge – PDF 

Simon Fraser University School of Public Policy

The Simon Fraser University School of Public Policy is engaged in a wide-range of policy research that has impact within and outside the academy, influencing the ‘real world’ of policy and engaging the community. Our work, which intersects with all areas of the University Strategic Plan, creates knowledge that makes significant contributions to academic literature and also directly informs public debates and policy discussions on critical social, economic, political, environmental, health issues and more. The School hosts the Centre for Public Policy Research

Simon Fraser University
School of Public Policy

University of British Columbia School of Public Policy and Global Affairs

As an interdisciplinary hub for innovation and learning, the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia draws on the expertise of university institutes, research centres and faculties, and invites collaboration with local and global communities.

The School of Public Policy and Global Affairs is comprised of the Liu Institute for Global Issues and the Institute of Asian Research. The Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions and International Community engagement are housed within the School

School of Public Policy and Global Affairs
Become a Global Change Maker

The Institute of Asian Research

The Institute of Asian Research has served as the premier Asia-focused research institute and think tank in Canada since 1978, serving as an active hub for research, teaching, policy support, and community engagement.

The Institute is home to five interdisciplinary, regionally-focused research centres: the Centre for Chinese Research; The Centre for India and South Asia Research; the Centre for Japanese Research; the Centre for Korean Research, and the Centre for Southeast Asia Research. The Institute of Asian Research aims to build knowledge and networks that support deep understanding and effective action on a wide range of domestic, regional, and global issues centered on Asia, through five key activities:

  • Research, including individual and collaborative pursuits, and the publication of Pacific Affairs
  • Teaching, including the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs program
  • Network-building across the University and with partners around the world
  • Community interaction with Greater Vancouver’s numerous Asian communities through regular public events
  • Policy engagement with communities in Canada, the United States, and the Asia Pacific region

The Institute of Asian Research

The Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions supports publicly engaged research, teaching and knowledge-sharing on democratic practices and institutions, with a focus on citizen engagement and participation, constitutional governance and transitional regimes.

The Centre works with government and nongovernmental organizations and brings together scholars, public officials and students from diverse backgrounds and a wide range of academic disciplines.Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions

The Office of Regional and International Community Engagement has a university-wide mandate and is committed to addressing complex social and ecological challenges in collaboration with a network of community partners in Canada and around the world.

The Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions and International Community


The Future of Learning

The future of learning is upon us. How well are universities responding to the changing world students face? How relevant are today’s educational programs for tomorrow’s challenges? How can we ensure universities serve the needs of students? How must universities evolve to ensure their approach to educating is contemporary, fulfilling, and relevant?

Simon Fraser University is transforming the landscape of post-secondary education by embedding community engagement and social innovation into its DNA. After a rigorous certification process, the University recently joined a small global network of institutions designated as Ashoka U Changemaker Campuses. Simon Fraser University is dedicated to encouraging and enabling its students to create positive social change.

The Future of Learning
Simon Fraser University Segal Graduate School of Business 2017.11.15

Ashoka Changemaker Campus

Changemaker Campus is an Ashoka designation that recognizes colleges and universities with a proven track record of campus-wide excellence for social innovation and changemaking in higher education. These institutions collaborate with each other and Ashoka to advance social innovation and changemaking across higher education to graduate millions of changemakers. Selection criteria includes a commitment to embedding changemaking across the academics and the institution itself. While they differ in terms of size, institutional type, geographic location, religious affiliation, and age, they are global leaders in social innovation and changemaking in higher education and share similar visions of what education and universities can be.

Ashoka Changemaker Campus


Centre for Dialogue
The Future for Universities
Increasing Our Contribution