Frances Westley is JW McConnell Chair in Social Innovation at University of Waterloo, where she heads up Social Innovation Generation (SiG), a national initiative designed to build capacity for social innovation in Canada.
Before joining University of Waterloo in 2007 she was Director of the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at University of Wisconsin, Madison. She also held the position of the James McGill Professor in Strategic Management at McGill University’s Desautel Management School, where designed and directed an MA program in National Voluntary Sector Leadership and the McGill Dupont Program for Social Innovation.
Her research, writing, and teaching centers on social innovation in complex problem domains, with particular emphasis on leadership and managing strategic change. She has published widely in the areas of social innovation, building resilience of linked social-ecological systems, new forms of knowledge generation, managing uncertainty and change in high risk situations, multi-stakeholder collaborations and visionary leadership.
In 2004 she published Experiments in Consilience (Island Press), which focused on the dynamics of inter-organizational and interdisciplinary collaboration in the management of ecological and conservation challenges. Her most recent book entitled Getting to Maybe (Random House, 2006) focuses on the inter-relationship of individual and system dynamics in social inovation and transformation.
She serves on numerous editorial and organizational boards including: Ecology and Society, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Stockholm Resilience Center, CBSG/IUCN, Evergreen, National Advisory Board NSF-LTER. She has worked extensively internationally, designing and facilitating workshops for science based conservation and in management innovation. Dr. Westley received her PhD and MA in Sociology from McGill University and her BA in English Literature and Fine Arts from Middlebury College, Vermont.