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design collaboratories

Launched in 2013, the CCSD now has more than a dozen physical CoLabs underway and several others under discussion with partners. Many which will begin in a virtual space.

Our approach is a deliberative one that targets improved problem understanding and solving. Evidence, collaboration, solution design are undertaken in open, experimental, physical and virtual spaces known as collaboratories. This approach has the potential to produce outcomes that are innovative and sustainable, even systems tipping. We call it social development by design.

Our CoLabs are human centred: Those most affected by the “problem” are at the heart of the process. They can uniquely determine if the shared problem understanding is in keeping with their experience (it often doesn’t); if the solutions are desirable (they often aren’t, therefore the outcomes will not be sustainable and/or achievable); and if the measures for success relate to their understanding of success (they often don’t).

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Inaugural CoLabs

  • In the field of health and well-being, CCSD has four CoLabs underway.
  • In the mental health and addictions area, initiatives range from supervised consumption sites to a client-centred plan for improving services across an entire county.
  • There are two projects underway on chronic care, and one with a focus on Dying with Dignity.
  • In the field of social inclusion, CCSD has been leading a design collaboratory with partners and stakeholders to rethink and reframe independent living options for low income senior women, as part of a rethinking housing for vulnerable and isolated populations.
  • Recently, CCSD announced our formal partnership with Professor Ann Dale, Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Community Development, Royal Roads University and the Canadian Consortium for Sustainable Development Research. Together we will undertake a series of online e-dialogues – virtual CoLabs -- that will bring together a multi-disciplinary audience to engage, debate and co-create on issues of social inclusion and sustainability.
  • With respect to community vitality, CCSD is working with another national community organization, towards an event in 2015 – announcement to follow.
  • CCSD is working with a design firm on rethinking skills recognition for youth making the transition from school to the labour force.

Check back with us for updates on our Design CoLabs. Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.


Canada's Social Development Convenors


Phone: 613-236-8977

Kanata, ON

P.O. Box 13713 K2K 1X6

Copyright © 2017. Canadian Council on Social Development.  All rights reserved.
Charitable Number: #119218923RR0001