It is time to CONVERGE: Canadian Lab Practitioners Exchange
Converge is a national gathering of 80-100 active social innovation lab practitioners and key ecosystem enablers, hosted by RADIUS SFU, in partnership with The McConnell Foundation, Simon Fraser University and others. Over 2 days we will gather, on unceded Coast Salish territory, to connect as a practitioner community, surface and explore patterns and models in the field, and collaborate generously.
Social innovation labs have been increasing in popularity in recent years, with a proliferation of labs being established at universities, within governments, and in communities across Canada. However, most labs operate independently of each other, and as a result, there is a high degree of improvisation and a lack of coordination for greater systems change. In this fragmented state, Labs may be unintentionally recreating past work or struggling to ramp up and learn from others.
It’s time to converge. We believe that in order to get the best results from these projects and to support a growing ecosystem of systemic designers and leaders, practice building is needed. Modeling the very foundational values of labs, our approach in designing this exchange is rooted in abundance, transparency, convening labs across sectors and issues, and a commitment to growing impact in the field.
CONVERGE aims to:
- Deepen relationships and trust amongst lab practitioners, laying the foundation for an active pan-Canadian community of practice;
- Create a space for lab practitioners to add value to each other’s work;
- **Make visible the diversity and impact of social innovation labs in Canada**;
- Build a shared set of tools, practices, language, knowledge, and expertise across the lifecycle of a lab; and
- Identify key problem/opportunity areas where Canadian labs can better align for increased coordination and impact.
CONVERGE invites those who are:
- Lab practitioners with deep experience in the field (2+ years)
- Early stage practitioners who need training, input and support
- Funders of social innovation labs/ecosystem enablers
- Key systems change facilitators, evaluators, social R&D practitioners, communication strategists, and other professionals working at the ‘edges’ of labs
**We are collecting data about the Canadian Labs Landscape. If you are actively running a social innovation lab in Canada, we would love to know about your work. Please take 10 minutes to complete this survey, even if you cannot attend CONVERGE. Results will be shared with the field at CONVERGE and post-event.**
CONVERGE has been made possible thanks to our partners:
Will there be food?
Yes! We are planning to feed you a light breakfast, delicious lunch and snacks between sessions, as well as coffee and tea throughout.
My friends are interested in getting into this kind of work, can I extend the invite?
This event is by invitation, intended for people who are actioning social innovation labs in Canada so that we can CONVERGE those already working in the space. Are they currently running an innovation lab? If so, please have your peers email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us a bit about their work.
I’m curious about Labs but not actively practising, how can I get involved?
For the lab-curious, we have something for you too. We are in the process of planning an adjacent public event for the evening of June 26th. Please check back for details and registration.
I can’t afford to get there, are there bursaries available?
All attendees will be expected to pay for a ticket. A limited number of travel bursaries are available for those with financial need. If you would like to apply for a travel bursary, please fill out a travel bursary application form before May 25th. Bursaries will be decided the week of May 28th.
Are there opportunities to speak or present?
The content for CONVERGE has been developed based on data collected from a practitioners Needs Assessment survey issued in April 2018. Proposals for content were also accepted from invitees until May 13th, thanks to all for your contributions. A full agenda for CONVERGE will be released May 29.
How do I get to the venue?
We strongly encourage you to use public transportation. SFU’s Segal Graduate School of Business is a short walk from the Granville Street Skytrain station and just a few minutes away on foot from the Waterfront station. For more information on public transport, please visit www.translink.ca. Downtown Vancouver also has bike sharing options via Mobi Bike share, which you can learn more about here: https://www.mobibikes.ca. No parking is available on site, however street parking can be purchased for two hours at a time; and there are full day parking lots located nearby.
Where can I stay during my time in Vancouver?
We are working to reserve a block of shared bunk rooms at the YWCA. If you are interested in those please reach out to email@example.com. Accommodation in hotels has proven to be expensive and a lot of them full, if you have friends you can stay with here, we encourage you to make the ask. There are also still some available options on Air B&B.
Is the venue accessible for wheelchair and gender neutral?
Yes! We have elevators to access all floors, the front doors are also mechanical and upon the push of a button, they will open for you. The first floor of the building will have gender-neutral washrooms. We are working hard to make this event feel safe for all Lab practitioners/enablers to attend.
What time should I plan to arrive and depart pre- and post-event?
Registration will open at 8:30AM on Wednesday June 27th, and CONVERGE will wrap by 5:00PM on Thursday June 28th. However, there is a a public facing event happening the evening of June 26th (free for CONVERGE attendees) and an awesome closing party being planned for the evening of June 28th. Additionally, rooms at the venue will be available on Friday June 28th for optional post-event emergent conversations. We therefore recommend planning to spend 3 nights in Vancouver, arriving afternoon/evening of the 26th and staying until afternoon/evening of the 29th.
Have we missed something?
Please feel free to let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.