An experiment in
Making digerati out of changemakers

When new methods of communicating, organizing and mobilizing are brought to bear on chronic social issues, amazing change can happen. Between June 8-12, 2009, MaRS held our first ever Net Change, a week dedicated to exploring this intersection between social technology and social change.

What are the implications of new media, technology and strategies to social causes? Fourteen different Net Change events, including an art show, experimented with ways of creating and sharing information and knowledge on this question.

Bridging the “digital divide” between web professionals and people creating social change, participants were from all different sectors and leadership levels. They picked up not only critical skills and tactics in new disciplines, but also an understanding of how to apply them to their organizational strategy. Want to cross the divide too?

All of the week’s events were captured and are now posted online so you can get inspired too. Choose from:

  • Web 2.0 training sessions for organizations, non-profits and social purpose ventures
  • Conversations with keynotes and panel discussions hosted by community partners like Mobile Monday @MaRS, Toronto Net Tuesday and Wired Wednesday
  • Immersion sessions that “prepare your mind” for innovative thought

Net Change also addressed critical concepts such as how to measure the impact of social technology, and what we really mean by social change, while including storytelling to hit theoretical concepts home.

Watch the video now

Check out some of the highlights from the week:

  • Net Change video message from Don Tapscott: Tapscott speaks the social trend that makes Net Change Week training important. It’s something to take back to your organization to impart the essential messages and importance of social tech to create buy-in from their leadership.
  • Capturing the Net Change story in real-time: Live-blogs and video coverage from all the week’s events.
  • “The Skills Exchange”: Three organizations worked with three sharp Canadian interactive agencies for two weeks to find solutions to a wicked problems. Watch the teams present their outcomes.
  • Cocktails and inspiration: Social Innovation guru, Ric Young discussed profound innovation and social change with Bill White, a member of MaRS’ Board of Directors at our evening “Fireside Chat”.
  • Responsible style: Net Change organizers, roving reporters and volunteers were easily spotted in “Be the Change” T-shirts donated by Me to We Style, which supports the Free the Children organization. Get a 20% discount by inputting NET20 on your order.
  • Net Change Art Show: Visual representations of Social Technology, collected through a 24hr open-submission contest and curated by the Net Change team, for all us visual learners.

Also check out the interview with CP24’s “Homepage” and watch for us in TVO’s fall lineup of Digital Literacy. All videos and presentations can be viewed at

The week in numbers looked something like this: 1 week, 1 hub, 4 lead organizers, 14 events, 30+ partners, 35+ unique videos to view, 1,500+ participants, 1,880+ following the conversation, and growing.

Be part of the change!

Follow us on Twitter @netchange Email us at

Yaser Kerachian

Yaser Kerachian is a student of the MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 program, as well as at the University of Toronto. See more…