The Possible Nation: Social Innovation and the Art of Unleashing Human Potential


On October 23, 2015, the McGill community welcomed David Bornstein to speak to a captive audience on social entrepreneurship, social innovation, and the power of solutions based journalism. Part of McGill's Homecoming events, this 4th installment of the SEI Keynote was entitled "The Possible Nation: Social Innovation and the Art of Unleashing Human Potential".

Mr. Bornstein shared how social innovators are demonstrating new methods and possibilities to unlock and support the agency and creativity of people in a wide variety of situations. His talk drew on a range of examples from preschools to prisons, from rural villages to urban centres, to illustrate how social innovators are applying behavioral insights to get the best out of people.

A McGill BCom ’85 graduate, Mr. Bornstein is an expert on social innovation and solutions based journalism. He coauthors The New York Times popular Fixes Opinionator column, which explores and analyzes potential solutions to major social problems and is the co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, which supports journalists who report on constructive responses to social problems. He is the author of several social change books include How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank, and Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know.

Mr. Bornstein's speech was complemented with a presentation from Swathi Sadagopan, winner of the 2015 Dobson Cup Social Enterprise Track and founder of Saniter. Saniter is developing low-cost, potentially disruptive sanitation technologies for use in a rural or urban setting in India. The social enterprise is in the pilot phase testing of the developed toilet.

About the Social Economy Initative (SEI)

Around the world, social entrepreneurs apply innovative approaches to address social problems that haven’t been satisfactorily addressed by the public or private sectors. Addressing this need, the Social Economy Initiative (SEI) is an undertaking of the Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management (MDIIM) through which the Desautels Faculty of Management integrates social entrepreneurship and social innovation more formally into its teaching, research, and outreach activities. 

For more information, please visit