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Toronto’s Lab Movement – An Opportunity for Collective Impact

On November 6th OCAD University’s Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) will be hosting the next meeting of Lab Practitioners in the series organized by MaRS SiG. The speaker for this meeting is Hal Hamilton, who will be sharing lessons learned from his decade of work with the Sustainable Food Lab.

The series has been successful in achieving a number of important objectives: It raised awareness about individual labs and their work; it highlighted lessons learned from the various practices in labs, and last but not least, it continued strengthening the links between the various members thus helping the emergence of stronger and more resilient community.

As the community matures, there is a sense emerging that the community is seeking something beyond the networking and learning about other labs. In conversations with a few of the regular participants, I sensed that a new need is emerging, a need to tackle something bigger, beyond the capabilities of the single labs. This reminded me of the collective impact approach described in a paper of Stanford Social Innovation Review. Could we find together one big challenge that we all apply our experimentation and our multidisciplinary collaboration capabilities to address? Or has the movement not matured that far yet and needs more time to get to that point? It’s definitely worth a deep conversation at the next gathering.

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