The Canadian Forum on Social Innovation launched in the Fall 2022 with a first series of catalyst roundtables, deliberative dialogues and concertation workshops at McMaster University on 12 and 13 October 2022. A joint-venture of the Canadian Science Policy Centre and The/La Collaborative, the Forum convened social research and innovation stakeholders across sectors with the purpose of exploring alignment on policies and practices that leverage impact-first training and knowledge mobilisation in the Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA) to foster innovation and build capacity in the social and municipal sectors.

The Forum will convene next at the Congress of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. We’re forward to connecting with you in Toronto, as we prepare for the next steps. All welcome.




What were the objectives?

The objective of the inaugural meeting were to understand how universities can better utilize and mobilize social and human knowledge into their communities, in particular into social sector organizations (non-profit, charities, funders) and municipal governments. What are the knowledge gaps? What are the needs and priorities in social sector organizations and the social innovation ecosystem? Which approaches to cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaborations can help address the biggest social and policy challenges?

The event was by invitation only, and proceeded under the Chatham House rules. Sessions leveraged strategic visioning and deliberative dialogue to create stakeholder alignment and deliver a first series of action plans.

Participants brought individual and organisational perspectives on a range issues including:

  • The nature and structure of innovation in the social sector.
  • Campus-community relationship and the challenges of knowledge mobilisation in social innovation ecosystem
  • The role of municipal governments in fostering innovation in the social space
  • Needs around policy innovation and talent in the social and municipal sector.
  • Contribution of Indigenous knowledge to social sector, local policy making

Who were the participants?

  • Social sector organisation leaders
  • Social Innovation stakeholders
  • Research and higher education policy stakeholders
  • Decision- and policy-makers from municipal governments
  • Social and human sciences researchers

Concertation and Action Plan

The first meeting of the Forum was intended as a concertation and consultation. Sense-making workshops and consultative roundtables aimed at building consensus around key concepts and best-practices. Catalysts panels and reporting sessions aimed to establish a shared vision for an action plan around cross-sectoral strategies for innovation in the social impact ecosystem.

The genuinely cross-sectoral setting provided an opportunity to learn from a variety of perspectives in an effort to reduce barriers to knowledge-driven collaboration and partnerships and increase the social capital of research institutions to streamline impact.


CLICK HERE to download the BRIEF shared with participants in advance of the meeting.

CLICK HERE to download the Analytic Summary or CLICK HERE to contribute to the Consensus Workbook we produced to gather feedback on the emerging zones of agreement we recorded.


We’re currently planning the next steps.

Those with an interest in the Forum can inquire to find out about our vision as we gather momentum or discover how their organisations can become a partner are encouraged to contact us.

Send us an email!

We Thank to our Partners for their Generous Support

McMaster University recognizes and acknowledges that it is located on the traditional territories of the Mississauga and Haudenosaunee nations, and within the lands protected by the “Dish With One Spoon” wampum agreement.

McMaster is a member of the Catalyst 2030 Global Network committed to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030

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