Georgian welcomes new Director of Social Innovation
Sept. 22, 2023
Georgian College is pleased to introduce Nicole Norris as the new Director of Social Innovation.
In this new role, Nicole will lead two growing and dynamic areas – #ChangeTheNow and the Community Impact Lab Network. Nicole started her journey at Georgian in 2016 at the Orillia Campus as part of the Community Impact Projects (CIP) program under the former Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation (CCSI). From here, Nicole became the Manager of CCSI in 2018 and stepped into the role of one of Georgian’s Ashoka Campus Change Leader positions in 2020. Nicole was most recently a part of the successful re-designation process for Georgian’s Ashoka U Changemaker Campus status.
As Director, Nicole will be responsible for establishing Social Innovation’s first departmental strategy, community-based research themes, programming, capacity, and grant funding by connecting the college’s areas of strength and our regions’ community and social needs. She will also expand Changemaking into the community through her continued role as a Campus Change Leader dedicated to helping community connect with Georgian on projects that support inclusive and sustainable social-economic development.
Throughout her seven years at Georgian, Nicole has been actively engaged in fostering a culture of agile innovation, receiving the Board of Governor’s Employee Entrepreneurship Award in 2022 for her work in building #ChangeTheNow and securing a $250,000 grant from SUNCOR Energy Foundation to launch the Community Impact Lab Network, Georgian’s participatory community-based research framework. Nicole’s own research has taken her around the world and focuses on the intersection of design, business model innovation, entrepreneurship and community development.
Nicole holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Design, and Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University. Before coming to Georgian College, Nicole worked as an Industrial Designer in the consumer electronics and telecommunications sectors before founding her own agency that supported companies shifting to ecommerce and platform as service business models. She is currently pursuing her PhD through the Department of Intelligent Systems and Digital Design at Halmstad University, Sweden. Additionally, Nicole was elected to the Ashoka Global Network Advisory Committee in 2022 as the Canadian representative for the Global Changemaker Campus Network.