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Map the System

Map the System - A unique research opportunity to critically understand wicked problems.


Map the System (MTS) supports students in studying and researching a complex social or environmental issue through skill-building workshops and mentorship from faculty members and community leaders. Through the program, students identify an issue, develop their skills in critically understanding the components to the issue, and are guided through creating a report and visual map based on their learning. The program concludes with a celebratory evening where students present their work to the community of mentors that contributed their expertise. 

After the program, students have the option of applying for funding to further their learning and be considered for a national competitive event, which is being hosted by the McConnell Foundation in Montréal, Québec. 

Virtual Showcase Event

Click play to watch the virtual celebratory showcase of our 2020 Map the System (MTS) program. This virtual event is hosted by OSI Executive Director Melanie Panitch and includes a keynote by Hansel Igbavboa and Sheldomar Elliott. 

Key Contact

Jessica Machado

416-979-5000 ext. 553115 

This program is available to all current students, full-time or part-time, at Ryerson University. This includes undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students.

  • January 31, 2020 - Info Session & Mixer: At this session you will meet the team behind the Office of Social Innovation, learn about Map the System, and have the opportunity to meet other students who are interested in participating.
  • February 5, 2020 - Deadline for Students to Register with McConnell: Any students interested in participating must register online by this date.
Important Updates:
  • Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 7:59 PM (EST): Is the new deadline for student submissions to McConnell. Students are required to provide their submissions online by this date. 
  • Virtual Map the System Showcase: As our initial celebratory evening and showcase event is an important recognition of the research and progress that participants have made during Map the System, we will be postponing the event and shifting it online. Dates and details will be announced. 
  • National Competition: The McConnell Foundation and Map the System organizers at Mount Royal University are cancelling the in-person national Map the System event, and replacing it with a virtual event. Dates and details will be announced.

Location: All workshops will take place at the Centre for Urban Innovation, 44 Gerrard St. E., Rm. 317.

Time: All workshops take place from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (EST).

  • February 6, 2020: Workshop 1 - How to Map a System: At this session you will learn about how to use the Impact Gaps Canvas, external link, opens in new window and begin the framework of your submission for Map the System. This will be an introduction to systems thinking and mapping a complex social or environmental issue. We recommend that your entire team participate in this session. Presenters: Melanie Panitch, Executive Director, OSI & Jessica Machado, Coordinator, Programs & Events
  • February 10, 2020: Workshop 2 - Studying Critical Perspectives: Participants will explore a critical analysis on equity, culture, and social justice in relation to the systemic issue that they have selected. (PLEASE NOTE: This workshop will take place from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM). 
  • February 27, 2020: Workshop 3 - Researching a System: Participants will learn research skills and resources that are available to them during the program through the Library. 
  • March 6, 2020: Workshop 4 - Global Perspectives: Participants will learn about the foundations and perspectives of global relations, as relevant to the systemic issue that they have selected. 
Important Updates
  • Workshop 5 - Visualizing a System: This session will now be offered as a video module with resources, made by Wednesday, March 18. A virtual office hour will also be made available through Zoom with our facilitator on Wednesday, March 18 from 12 to 1 pm. Please email for Zoom access information. 
  • Workshop 6 - Storytelling: This session will also be made virtual and has been postponed to Thursday, March 26 from 1 to 2:30 pm. Please email for Zoom access information. 

Note: Workshops are not mandatory to attend, but are recommended resources for Map the System participants. 

Map the System 2019 

The finalists for Map the System (MTS) 2019 were Hansel Igbavboa and Sheldomar Elliott, with their project Future Farmers: The challenge of food sovereignty for black farmers in the Greater Toronto Area.

Map the System 2018

The finalists for MTS 2018 were Aalokita Singla, Gursewak Singh, and Haifa Al Harz, with their project From Farm to Fork to Landfill: Food Waste in Toronto.