/ June 3rd, 2016 / 3 Comments

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 7.39.38 PMLast night we enjoyed the opportunity to join a room full of amazing folks doing great work here in Vancouver at an event organized by Darcy Riddell, Co-Chair of the BC Partners for Social Impact’s Changing Systems Group and hosted at the inspiring CityStudio space.

Cheryl Rose, Senior Fellow, The J. W. McConnell Family Foundation, shared the Social Innovation Labs for Systems Change: A WISIR Process, a succinct and helpful summary of the WISIR lab guide. She provided definitions and guidance around Social Innovation Labs, an approach designed with complex challenges in mind. We also heard from the new Executive Director of Social Innovation from BC’s Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, Robin McClay. He shared his passion for enabling systemic change in social service across BC and his diverse background working internationally and across sectors. He also spoke eloquently about the need for humility in the work.

We shared the Kudoz approach alongside fellow practitioners from:

  • Leverage Lab, facilitating industry groups to collaborate on shared sustainability challenges
  • Local Economic Development Lab @ Radius, a place-based initiative that develops solutions that put money in the pockets of DTES residents and creates a platform to address more systemic barriers
  • City Studio, where students work on community or city initiated real work projects
  • WellAhead, an lab-inspired approach to growing mental and emotional wellbeing in school communities

Our presentation focused a bit more on Kudoz, a invention coming out of a R&D process which we felt was a bit of a missed opportunity. We really enjoyed learning about the process various practitioners take to address change and wish we’d included a bit more about our process & methods.

One personal highlight was hearing how Indigenous communities are leading, adapting and growing lab approaches for their own contexts. The Nisga’a school district in coastal BC that WellAhead is working with has responded very positively to the lab approach and also helped it adapt – which is being shared with other school districts. These adaptations resonated with many other school leaders. Another group was mentioned from Northwest Territories that will be adapting the SI lab approach to an Indigenous context and creating a new guide/toolset to share out.

I’m excited & curious to learn more about these adapted approaches and to see more leadership grow in the disability space. I left the event inspired & brainstorming ways to enable process design leadership by (not for) individuals living with disabilities and their families.


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