Programs & Courses

Program Spotlight: Sustainable Innovation

Sustainability helps to discover the why in why we do things, innovation gives us the tools

As an engineer, Randi Buchner’s job is to invent, design and maintain complex projects, structures and data systems with the wellbeing of people, the environment and economy in mind. It was for those reasons that MHC asked the City of Medicine Hat’s Superintendent of Engineering with Planning and Development Services to be involved with the creation of its Sustainable Innovation diploma.

“I was honoured to be part of the process of providing feedback. So much time and effort has been put into bringing forward a program like this and making it accessible for people. It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity for MHC and Southern Alberta.”

For the Medicine Hat resident, sustainability is about considering what the world will look like in the future and, whether one or 100 years from now, the impact today’s decisions will have on the next generation.

One example she provides from an engineer’s perspective is building a bridge.

“There are different drivers behind building a bridge. You have to decide the why – why are we doing this and who benefits? When you break it down from a social responsibility perspective, you look at whether this makes a really livable community where people are connected to the services they need,” explains Randi. “Economically, we ask how we do this in a cost-efficient manner where we get the biggest value for our dollar and environmentally, are we ensuring the project not only protects the environment, but also fits in well to the natural landscape.”

When asked to define innovation, Randi notes that although people may jump to technology like robotics and computer systems, it also relates to policies and looking at solutions with a new mindset.

“Innovation, in particular as it relates to sustainability, is really choosing to look at things differently. Policy, for example, gives us a chance to ask if there is a better way to do things, to serve the public and come up with better solutions that will make our community more sustainable in the long-term.”

Randi Buchner

A career in sustainable innovation

For the alumna of MHC’s university transfer engineering program, the timing is perfect for graduates of the Sustainable Innovation diploma.

“There is an opportunity for change and a want for people to enter the workforce with fresh ideas and perspective to make those changes possible. I think if you look at climate change, which is something that we are facing on a global scale, we need people who can work through those high-scale projects and have the critical thinking and problem–solving skills required to work towards solutions.”

Randi adds the career possibilities for graduates with a background in sustainability may also be found in data analysis related to construction or the environment.

“In a number of industries, companies are looking for people to provide guidance on how to solve their complex problems in a manner that ties to the principals of sustainability. There is huge value for those starting, or in mid-career, to broaden their perspective, continue their learning and help guide these areas.”

A program for the curious

Curious, idealistic and committed are characteristics that Randi feels would be complementary in this field.  

“I see this program as a way for students to explore their ethics and values. It would be great for someone who really wants to make a change, be a leader or a disrupter,” says Randi.

“I think there are a lot of people who have a million great ideas and this would be a program that would really assist them in moving those forward in a positive and constructive manner [regardless the industry].”

For those who share Randi's passion for change and to create a future that cares for the people, places and profit that make it resilient, then MHC's Sustainable Innovation diploma program is for you.

Apply now to a new career in Fall 2022: