iLEAP TOMODACHI Social Innovation in Seattle, English from iLEAP on Vimeo.

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iLEAP designs, administers and facilitates Special Programs for university students and working professionals from Japan. These programs explore leadership, social innovation and are diverse in their pedagogy and learning principles. Since 2008, iLEAP has worked in close collaboration with both private and public universities and for-profit institutions on Seattle-based programs that are up to five weeks in length. Please contact us at if you are interested in learning more and exploring if we can design a program for you.

Special Programs for University Students >

Social Innovation in Seattle, Summer is a four week open-enrollment training designed to introduce participants to the idea of social innovation and inspire greater clarity in their personal leadership and future path. The integrated curriculum balances classroom learning with a professional internship and different site visits to Seattle-based businesses and organizations pursuing some degree of social innovation. Program participants also take part in individual advising and coaching sessions which serve to weave the experience together and make it uniquely relevant to his or her life. Rikkyo University, Shiga University, and Mainichi Education Abroad have been close partners in this program.

    • Location: Seattle
    • Duration: 4 weeks


Program Summary:

  • Seminars: Each week, participants learn about social innovation and leadership through integrated seminars taught by experienced leaders in the field. The seminars are very participatory and enable them to deepen their understanding about how to initiate and lead social innovation in their businesses and communities and, more importantly, where their passion lies for being a part of this work.
  • Site Placement: During the program, participants are assigned to a professional placement with a Seattle-based social business, institution, agency or nonprofit organization working in a field relevant to their interest.  Like an internship, this Site Placement takes place 2 to 3 times each week, for the during of the working day.  The specifics of the Site Placement work will vary from placement to placement and the needs of the collaborating business or organization. Some past Site Placements include: Washington CASH, Northwest Center, Social Venture Partners International, Brown Paper Tickets, OnePacific Coast Bank, Feet First, Ten Thousand Villages, Seattle Tilth, One World Now!, and Pro-Use Produce.
  • Site Visits: During this program, participants attend a number of Site Visits to local organizations and businesses who are engaged in various forms of social innovation–including around Fair Trade, organic foods, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, women’s issues, homelessness, and more. These visits offer participants a unique opportunity to witness business practice from the “inside” and speak directly with those leading this work. Some past Site Visits include: Farestart, Seattle Mariners, Theo Chocolate, Starbucks, Microsoft, Tully’s Coffee, Woodland Park Zoo, and PCC.
  • Advising: Consistent with iLEAP’s mission, iLEAP staff  work closely with each participant to help cultivate clarity around personal and professional direction through Advising session. This is an opportunity for participants to better understand themselves, their dreams, and the way forward for their lives.

Special Programs for Working Professionals >

  • Young Professionals (YP) and Social Innovation. YP was a one week program conducted in partnership with Mainichi Education Abroad designed to deepen participant’s knowledge about the basic tenets of social innovation and enterprise and how it is being applied in Seattle and around the world. YP participants experienced skill-based seminars, as well as small group discussion, site visits and personal inquiries. Some of the seminar topics we: personal leadership, social leadership and collaboration, creating a theory of change and innovation in philanthropy.
  • reImagine MyPro was an eight week program conducted in partnership with Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC). The program trained and supported young Japanese professionals in their work to initiate and grow projects or businesses of their own in the provincial areas of Japan. It led participants through a diversity of learning experiences that took place in Seattle and was followed by an applied internship experience in either the US or other country. All of these experiences were focused on learning and personal and professional growth. After the completion of the program, participants returned to Japan to implement collaborative projects in their respective area of interest.