The Process

Throughout its creation and iterations over the past couple years, Social Innovation Unlocked has engaged nearly 300 contributors from across Canada and globally. Here is how it all started:

During the needs assessment phase, we conducted 1-1 interviews, hosted webinars, design sessions, and pilots ultimately engaging 400 people at various levels of depth throughout the needs assessment and design phases.  

The feedback and direction we received during the assessment phase informed the scope and design of this project, and set the tone for the trajectory of project development. Consistent themes included: 

  • The prioritization of participatory project development with a focus on “raising all boats”;
  • Prioritizing inclusion and diversity amongst project contributors;
  • Ensuring open and distributed final outputs of the project back to groups and communities in the field; and
  • The desire from practitioners across the country to be included in the development of what are intended to ultimately be open and shared knowledge assets.

Practitioners also told us that they wanted easily navigable access to experiential activities that would link to more theoretical and/or framework-oriented toolkits, and to have this information in ways that supported implementation on the ground (rather than conceptual understanding of theory). 

In order to honour the insights from the needs assessment phase, the project scope was broadened beyond the engagement of a small set of initial advisors to a national crowdsourcing campaign. This included:

  • An online survey of 40 practitioners, both English and French speaking from within and outside of Canada;
  • Webinars with Social Innovation Canada regional partners;
  • In-person design sessions and continued one-on-one and small group dialogues.

We ultimately engaged 290 practitioners/organizations and identified 300 best practice resources and toolkits.

With the findings of the crowdsourcing campaign, we then went into a curriculum development prototyping phase during which a first draft of the experiential curriculum module activities were developed. One of the additional pieces of feedback that we received up to this point in the project was that the resources that were being recommended and offered back to the field for reflection were beyond an introductory level of understanding of what social innovation is. It became clear that creating a supplemental offering based on the experiential curriculum we had identified thus far could help bridge the gap for either emerging innovators and/or groups who might need a more introductory foundation in order to make use of the experiential curriculum resources in the future. 

We then developed and began prototyping an Introduction to Social Innovation workshop (coming soon!) that can ultimately serve as an example of the curriculum modules in practice as well as be an open resource that practitioners can use when working with their groups to support them in understanding the essentials of social innovation. Initial piloting of the Introduction to Social Innovation workshop included several workshop prototypes in Ontario, Alberta, and New Brunswick. This initial piloting of the curriculum has allowed us to receive direct feedback from 100 participants and iterate both the workshop design itself and best practices for the design of the online curriculum resources for ease of use for future facilitators. 

With the completion of the first draft of the experiential curriculum, we then went into a feedback phase of disseminating draft 1.0 out to those who had been engaged in program development and feedback thus far. Based upon round one feedback on the initial experiential activity focused curriculum, we then updated the draft and shared that with a review group, and then went into the completion of the 3.0 iteration of the Social Innovation Unlocked Resources For Learning & Impact project published in spring. Throughout 2020 and 2021 we have been building the website to host the online toolkit.