Canadian Lab Stories

Learning As We Grow is a series of short interviews that provide a snapshot of lab activity happening across Canada. Put simply, labs are intense meetings of diverse groups of people who are searching for breakthrough solutions to serious societal challenges. This project emerged out of the desire to acknowledge and capture what’s taking place on our home turf. We see these videos as a chance to share and celebrate early learnings on Canada’s journey with labs.

Toronto Atmospheric Fund

Mary Pickering describes the opportunities a lab approach offers for the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF). Through extensive stakeholder engagement and iterative product testing, TAF hopes to reach an 80% reduction in climate-damaging emissions by the year 2050.

SiG has produced a profile for our social innovation series that explains TAF’s approach to funding further. You can also visit their page on the City of Toronto site for further information.

The Moment

Process designers Mark and Greg walk through a typical lab process and highlight some of the opportunities a lab approach offers for moving the needle on society’s biggest challenges. Mark and Greg are co-founders of The Moment, which designs and facilitates lab processes for organizations.

Check out these resources for more:

OCAD Strategy & Innovation Lab [sLab]

Contrary to conventional strategy theory, the OCAD Strategic Innovation Lab [sLab] uses a lab approach to envision multiple possible futures. The OCAD sLab focuses on identifying innovations that are scaleable and have deep impact to create a more resilient society.

Check out these resources for more:

MaRS Solutions Lab

Joeri van den Steenhoven describes the opportunities a lab approach offers for the MaRS Solutions Lab in making systems change. The MaRS Solutions Lab is working on four problem areas: the future of health, the future of food, the future of work, and the future of government.

Check out these resources for more:


The Natural Step

Saralyn Hodgkin explores the opportunities a lab approach offers for The Natural Step. Through the Sustainability Transition Lab, the Natural Step hopes to find a path to a sustainable society by enabling sustainability literacy and collaborative capacity among stakeholders.

Check out these resources for more:


United Way of Calgary & Province of Alberta

The United Way of Calgary and Province of Alberta co-convened a Change Lab within the field of early childhood development. Monica Pohlmann, one of the leaders of the Change Lab, shares her experience applying the Theory U Change Lab approach facilitated by Reos Partners.

Check out these resources for more:



Karen Kun, founder of Waterlution, shares her experience taking a lab approach for social change. Waterlution’s purpose is to inspire pattern-making and pattern-breaking change towards a healthy and sustainable relationship with water.

Check out these resources for more:


Want to learn more about labs?

SiG sees the young field of social innovation, design or change labs (and the associated tool kits and processes) as an extremely promising platform for generating new solutions to complex social and environmental challenges. Visit our Social Innovation Labs page to learn more

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