As the year wraps up, we find ourselves reflecting on the great adventure we embarked on with the launch of The Social Impact Lab. We have witnessed many collisions as curious minds continue to enter the Lab seeking creativity and innovation. Keep reading to find out what we’ve been up to this quarter.

Behind the scenes at Santa’s Workshop. Illustrated by Cindy Lam.

Success With Our Inspire Program

Our first two cohorts have successfully reached the end of the Inspire program. As a key outcome of Inspire, participating teams took the opportunity to pitch their ideas and share their journey with valuable customers and stakeholders

A special thank you to participating employees and board members from CUPS Calgary, Deaf and Hear Alberta, YMCA Calgary, Aspen Family and Community Network Society, Carya Calgary, Closer to Home Community Services, Wood’s Homes, and the 5th Element members of the Collaborative for Health and Home. The openness to challenge existing business models and to explore new ways of thinking has led to powerful insights for both the participants and the Lab team.

For those not familiar with Inspire, it is a 12-week program designed to support organizations in defining and developing future business models, products, and services. This is a unique learning experience that teaches individuals how to apply design thinking as a tool for problem solving on actual projects that are happening in their organizations.

Exploring Mental Health Services and Support for Children and Youth

Sparking creativity through play with Imperial Oil.

Leveraging the insights uncovered during the first phase of our work, we launched our first challenge in October.

During this period, we engaged citizens, agencies, governments, corporations, philanthropists, and community partners in a number of workshops to uncover potential solutions to addressing one of our key areas of focus: improve access to mental health supports for individuals and caregivers (natural supports) who are supporting children and youth ages 0-24 experiencing mental health concerns.

In the new year, we will begin our prototyping processes to imagine new possibilities on how we might solve some of the challenges facing children and youth accessing mental health services.

Thanks For All You Do!

We are grateful to the people who kindly donate their time and energy to the work of the Lab. A big thank you to our volunteers Deanne Stene and Agnes Chen, who are both actively involved in our children and youth mental health project – meet our volunteers!

Deanne Stene

Q1. How did the Lab spark your interest to volunteer?

A. Volunteering with the Lab gives me an opportunity to challenge myself to learn a new methodology / approach to solving an issue / problem while broadening my understanding of the not-for-profit sector.

Q2. What’s your favourite moment in the Lab so far?

A. Group discussions with the project team where insights, opinions, and knowledge are shared. Experiencing the Lab approach which ensures the project remains adaptive and dynamic. Lastly, being in the Lab itself – it is an open, respectful, trusting environment which allows for my voice to be considered and valued.

Q3. What do you look forward to doing during your time here?

A. Continuing to challenge myself at each phase of the methodology to identify how my skills can support the project and add value, and continue my personal development.

Q4. What do you hope to contribute in your role as a volunteer?

A. I bring an open mind to exploring the issue with a willingness and time to dig into the data, consider opportunities; adapt to project needs and support reaching a viable, feasible, desirable solution.

Agnes Chen

Q1. How did the Lab spark your interest to volunteer?

A. There were 2 things that really stood out for me when I first heard of The Social Impact Lab and urged me to get involved. First, I love the very bold statement of “not only serving, but solving social issues within our city”. As somebody who has worked within healthcare and has been actively involved in the community serving sector for the last 10 years, I loved this statement because to me it says, yes these are complicated and hard issues, but YES, we can solve them, let’s do it! And I strongly agree. Secondly, this idea of “using active participation” within the Lab is amazing. I believe that we are each other’s greatest resource, our stories of triumphs and tribulations are a part of the puzzle that is often missing when doing vital research and the lab not only encourages these stories, they reach out and ask for them.

Q2. What’s your favourite moment in the Lab so far?

A. My favorite moment so far has been when I first came into to see the Lab with Monique. It was incredible to see the space so open and conducive to team work and brainstorming. The environment is very refreshing and has a sense of positivity and excitement to it, which is wonderful because ideas always seem to be brewing here.

Q3. What do you look forward to doing during your time here?

A. I love the energy around the honest conversations that are happening within the Lab, you can feel the passion and commitment to truly solve the social issues affecting Calgarians. So a cup of tea, my lap top and digging deep down to help find the solutions-that’s what I look forward to.

Q4. What do you hope to contribute in your role as a volunteer?

A. As someone with a healthcare background, and with very personal and professional experience regarding mental health illnesses, I feel very passionate about helping to solve these current social issues. I hope to be able to add value by sharing my story, by sharing my personal and professional experience as well as the resources and knowledge that I have gained throughout my life to help benefit the lives of others.

Heading To Our New Place

We have moved into the Leeson & Lineham building on Stephen’s Ave.

Effective December 17, 2018, J5 and the Lab are moving 40 steps left from the current space to 209 8th Avenue S.W. The new space will enable J5 and The Social Impact Lab to continue to provide collisions for non-profit and corporate organizations.

Stay tuned for our grand opening in February 2019.

Trend Watching

According to TrendWatching, one of the consumer trends they predict for the upcoming year is an increase in LAB RATS who see human well-being as a problem worth solving.

We at The Social Impact Lab can relate! Our approach to complex social issues, such as children and youth mental health, substance misuse, and poverty; blends empathy with the discipline of a scientist.

To learn more about what consumer trends are in store for 2019, check out their article.