About Dr. Sarah Schulman

Dr. Sarah Schulman
Vancouver | Canada

SDGC19 Speaker Dr. Sarah Schulman

Dr. Sarah Schulman InWithForward, Founding Partner

Dr. Sarah Schulman has spent her career in buses, bingo halls, and back alleyways. As a social scientist, journalist, entrepreneur and systems thinker, Sarah operates in the space between ‘what is’ and and ‘what could be’. She is the Founding Partner and Social Impact Lead of InWithForward, a social design shop based in Canada that works in communities to co-create, test and scale services and policies from the ground-up. Her teams have produced award-winning and scalable interventions like Kudoz, a learning platform for adults with cognitive disabilities, and Family by Family, a network of families helping families to thrive. In 2020, InWithForward will launch Grounded Data: a platform connecting people in power to aggregated stories of people living on the margins, shedding fresh insight into the problems and solutions of our times. Sarah holds a B.A (honors) in Human Biology and an M.A in Education from Stanford University as well as a DPhil in Social Policy from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. In 2019, she was a Munk Global Journalism Fellow at the University of Toronto.



'Burning and Building Bridges: Lessons from Five Years of Deep Partnership to Redesign the Canadian Welfare State'


How do we turn our social safety nets into trampolines? That big, hairy, audacious question led our small social design team from the UK to Australia to The Netherlands to Canada. We knew if we wanted to disrupt social systems, and fundamentally shift outcomes for people most on the margins, we couldn’t do it as fly-in and fly-out design consultants. We needed to be full partners in change. This talk will offer the story of our partnership: how a passionate, idealistic, and at times, naive group of service designers, industrial designers, graphic designers, interactions designers, ethnographers, sociologists, and community developers has worked alongside mid-level managers, frontline workers, non-profit CEOS and bureaucrats to reimagine the social sector. We used to believe it was all about building the capacity of the sector to do research & development. We don’t believe that anymore. Come along to this talk as we share and debunk myths around collaboration, consultancy, and capacity building. Find out what we think it will take to move past incremental reform to disruptive transformation.

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