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Solutions Lab – National Practice Lead

Community Scale Solutions Labs. While Canadian communities top many lists of desirable places to live, some still struggle with aspects of social development. After decades of focus on the physical infrastructure development of communities in Canada, we’ve all seen the shift more recently toward a growing awareness of their social development needs. We now recognize that it is the ties between people, the bonds and relationships between individuals, organizations, businesses and institutions that ultimately lead to the community resiliency we all aspire to achieve.

At Urban Matters CCC, we believe that communities of all sorts and sizes need supportive partners on their journey toward resiliency and improved outcomes for everyone, and we have been busy developing a suite of processes, services, and initiatives to help them in doing so. To this end, we aim to hire a Solutions Lab Lead to join our Team and accelerate our capacities across Canada. We’re looking for a leader with entrepreneurial spirit, an expert solutions lab practitioner with established credibility in Western Canada. We expect activities will include, but not be limited to:

  • Dialogue –  Innovative approaches of engaging disparate and aligned community ‘actors’ in meaningful conversation about tough social issues ranging from inclusion and racism, to opioid dependency and harm reduction, to housing, settlement and immigration, to climate change and to reconciliation.
  • Systems –  Deep understanding of systems thinking and systems based approaches to problem solving, and the ability to map and communicate that thinking to a diverse audience.
  • Process –  Moving away from the traditional ‘top down’ deficiency-based problem solving process and moving toward asset-based community-building and design thinking; inviting everyone to the table to help us work through the toughest issues of our time.
  • Partnerships –   Brokering and building the unlikely alliances and partnerships that are going to be essential to see change through to measurable outcomes.
  • Prototyping –  Consensus based approaches to spotting, nurturing and developing prototype concepts ranging from social ventures to public education campaigns to policy shifts to broader cultural shifts.
  • Implementation –  Outcomes-focused, understanding what implementation looks like such that our labs more directly lead to outcomes, often functioning as a backbone organization, incubating viable prototypes.

 What Do We Mean by ‘Solutions Lab’?

Well, we all know the language of social innovation is fraught with nuanced definitions subject to misinterpretation. Solutions Labs. Change Labs. (Social/Environmental) Innovation Labs. Leadership Labs. We’re not going to get hung up on all of that.

From our perspective, the framing for what a solutions lab is comes in the context of the community we’re working with and the nature of the challenge they’re hoping to work on. It isn’t a process-based solution in a box, rather, it is about drawing upon a range of expertise and experiences to design a process that works for the context we find ourselves in.

There are some constants though; our labs are always collaborative processes, and include working with the lived experience community that we aspire to serve; they are always multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional processes, engaging the relevant actors from across the sectors and geographies; and they are always outcomes-focused, prototyping solutions and supporting implementation.

 Who Are You?

In addition to being confident and credible in all the above, we expect that you will have 5-10+ years of progressive experience in community scale and implementation-focused solutions labs, supported by a related post-secondary diploma/degree. We expect that you will live in Western Canada (or can relocate) and are willing and able to travel as necessary. You are a social entrepreneur, with the heart of a community advocate and the mind of a business strategist. Solutions and outcomes focused, impatient with the status quo, eager to work with a team and motivated to implement change. You develop relationships and partnerships easily and people and organizations are naturally drawn to you. You work exceptionally well with others and tend to make everyone around you a little better.

 Who Are We?

Urban Matters CCC is one of Canada’s new C3 social enterprises; a Community Contribution Company that is designed to support communities in addressing  all elements of community development for those experiencing vulnerable circumstances. We focus on achieving real impact in community and do so through lab convening and related exploration engagements, research and technical advisory services that link to on-the-ground results and developing/supporting/launching prototypes and outcomes. With the heart of a community organization and the ethos of a business, we act as an implementation partner to local governments, community organizations and First Nations to help make big change ideas happen.

Our specialized team brings together community development and social innovation competencies that include collective impact, change leadership and management, design thinking, asset based thinking and lab/-co-creation convening with technical expertise in professional disciplines such as housing, social planning and development, engineering, community planning, and management consulting.

We stress that our ambitions are to be impactful in the practical and applied sense. This is action-oriented, we use lots of verbs, we aspire to get things done and make change happen. We believe that there are great ideas that can begin to address many of our toughest issues out there, and the challenge lies in scaling and implementation.

Does this sound like you? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

Compensation will be commensurate with experience.

Please reply in confidence to by 4pm PST on Friday, February 14th, 2020.



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