This online learning resource is the fruit of research I completed for the Doctor of Social Sciences program at Royal Roads University. My connection to parks and protected areas came through projects I worked on as program advisor at Parks Canada, around the same time I started my doctoral program. There I met Michael Nadler – Vice President, External Relations and Visitor Experience – with whom I discussed how innovation took shape at the Agency. We spoke about strategic partnerships across sectors, that made it possible for Parks Canada to respond to complementary objectives of conservation and economic sustainability for local populations adjacent to national parks.
I pursued my research on how social capital facilitates innovation in public-private partnerships, inspired by my Parks Canada experience, as well as my own background as an entrepreneur and management consultant. While my research participants spanned multiple sectors, I came back to see Michael with my research results, to see if and how they could be applied in the Parks context. Michael then introduced me to Don Carruthers Den Hoed – CPCIL Senior Fellow and Manager, and Dawn Carr – CEO of the Canadian Parks Council, where Michael was a Board member.
In the Fall of 2018, as Don and Dawn were updating the curriculum of the Park Leaders Development Program, I had the opportunity to share preliminary results of my research with CPCIL program participants, and to assess the applicability of findings with practitioners from parks and protected areas. Don and Dawn saw the relevance of the concepts of social capital and boundary spanning for innovation in parks. They expressed an interest in an online resource that could make this knowledge relevant for practitioners in diverse fields, and available online. The objective of this resource has been to contribute to the CPCIL community of practice, and to provide guidance on how to apply social capital to innovation in park settings.
This first version of the course shares content in different media including a video, opportunities to reflect through chapter questions, and to interact with leadership program alumnae and other members of the CPCIL community. After you complete the course, you will recognize how the production and dissemination of this online tool has been facilitated by social capital and boundary spanning, as part of an innovation partnership across sectors.
Please share your feedback with me and the CPCIL team as we will be providing regular updates.
Doctor of Social Sciences candidate
Royal Roads University (RRU), Victoria, BC