Ric Young, founder of The Social Projects Studio and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Social Innovation at Ryerson University, is recognized as one of Canada’s leading practitioners and thinkers in the field of social change. As a practitioner, he has committed his career over the past 25 years to advancing innovative approaches to social change.
He cut his teeth on the early stages of the PARTICIPaction campaign, and was the co-founder of Canada’s first dedicated social marketing agency. He left that company in the mid-90s to start The Social Projects Studio – a company focused on transformational social innovation. Working with government, non-government, corporate and community leaders, he has been the architect of numerous initiatives to address some of society’s most complex and pressing challenges.
As a thought leader, Ric’s personal mission is to “change change” – that is, to foster new mindsets and skill-sets to enable society to tackle the transformational challenges of our time in constructive new ways. He has written and lectured extensively on the nature of change, transformational leadership, civic engagement and the centrality of narrative in the pursuit of 21st century well-being.
In 2002, he forged a partnership between DuPont Canada and McGill University to create one of the world’s first social innovation think tanks. In his foreword to Getting To Maybe, the best-selling book that came out of that think tank, he wrote: “We are living at a point in history when the need and desire for change is profound…It is a pivotal time. Over the past two hundred years, human society has developed exceptional competencies and systems for the task of making things. Going forward, we must become equally adept at the task of making change.”
The primary focus of Ric’s work now is The Boldness Project, an initiative he has developed to advance the possibility and practice of bold change.
Ric serves on the boards of Ecotrust Canada and Right To Play (Canada). He is a fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and a Quadrangle Member of Massey College. He was awarded The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contributions to society. And he was recently adopted as a respected elder by the Maasai tribe.
Distinguished Visiting Professor of Social Innovation