Introducing the Shift Lab: Soni Dasmohapatra
Curious about the folks who are participating in the Shift Lab? Wonder no more! Over the next three weeks, we will feature each of the Core lab team members (12 in all) as they tell us their thoughts about social innovation, racism and poverty in Edmonton, and why they joined the Shift Lab. Yesterday, we met David. Today, meet Soni Dasmohapatra. You can also check out Soni’s bio here.
What excites you the most about the Shift Lab?
Different people with different backgrounds coming together to build collective solutions to a problem is always an exciting journey. I like the architecture of the Shift Lab and look forward to experiencing the process and engaging in dialogue to develop innovative resolutions to address the intersection of poverty and racism.
When did you first learn about social innovation?
A while ago, while I was managing a research project on youth entrepreneurship in Toronto, the concept of social innovation was exemplified. It was amazing to witness how youth who have been marginalized due to homelessness or other factors were inspired to utilize a business grant and a mentor to build a business that they could depend on to achieve stability and a secure standard of living.
Social innovations are new strategies, concepts, ideas and organizations that meet the social needs of different elements which can be from working conditions and education to community development and health — they extend and strengthen civil society.
What do you think the next four months will be like?
As a City, Edmonton is witnessing transformative change. With the development of the City Charter this is a perfect time to come up with a prototype that examines the intersections of racism and poverty. The next four months will be an exciting journey to create narratives, build new relationships, have difficult conversations, agree to disagree, and create new spaces to share creative interpretations of love, hope and reconciliation.
Why is a focus on racism and poverty important to you?