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The Innovation Lab

Many innovators go through a frustrating process of trying to develop and implement new ideas. FSC’s innovation lab makes it easier to innovate

The Lab is home to bold, future-focused ideas and the people behind them. We work with partners on solutions at their early-stages, when uncertainty is great and support is hard to find.

That means helping organizations test and adopt breakthrough solutions for the future of work by fostering a low-takes environment that encourages teams to be bold, take risks and experiment.

We welcome new approaches that aim to make major contributions to skills development. 

Our guiding principles:

The Lab experiments with business strategies and scales them based on results.

The Lab favours an appetite for learning and experimentation over the ability to deliver immediate outcomes.

Our focus is to address future problems, not simply present ones.

The Lab promotes increased innovation, sharing and collective learning.

The advancement of ideas is based on evidence and data.

Innovation is driven by diversity and opportunities for all.

Group of individuals brainstorming at a desk with laptops and notepads on it.

Testing new ideas

Several of our partners are exploring innovative, future-looking solutions. Our focus is less on immediate outcomes and more on testing that generates learning and new ways forward. The Innovation Lab’s two key initiatives are the Accelerator program, which provides additional funding and support for projects in a low-stakes, nurturing environment so partners can test new or unconventional approaches and the Incubation Network, which convenes projects that share a common purpose to surface out-of-the ordinary solutions through peer-learning and shared goals.

The Accelerator program

Our Accelerator program aims to empower our projects to maximize their effectiveness and contribute to the advancement of the skills development ecosystem through innovation practices and continuous improvement. This program is designed to complement our current innovation partners’ existing scope and help teams expand or enhance their project design within a rapid time-frame.

Traditionally, grants prioritize immediate implementation and outputs, which can restrict an organization’s ability to test and iterate on their projects. In contrast, our Accelerator program prioritizes design and experimentation. Throughout the program, our partners are encouraged to explore new approaches, embrace uncertainty, take risks, and incorporate input and iteration into their program design within a low-stakes environment, all while helping to build the capacity and skills of the project team.

To achieve this vision, the Accelerator provides flexible and tailored support to address the specific needs of each project and team. Participants in the program benefit from the guidance of Innovation Advisors, who offer personalized support and hands-on assistance. They also receive training on utilizing innovation practices and tools, gain access to our national networks and relevant research from our partners to foster valuable connections and insights. Additionally, participants receive additional funding to cover staff time and associated costs.

Since its inception, the Accelerator program has supported two cohorts, with 23 partners having participated to date.

Incubation Network

To enhance our reach and support for new approaches in skills development, we are piloting the Incubation Network initiative focused on the theme of newcomer integration. 

The Incubation Network currently includes seven project partners from across Canada representing a diverse range of geographies, methodologies, and leaders. These projects all share a common purpose – to surface novel approaches that enhance newcomer integration into the Canadian economy and make the most of the talent in Canada.

We are convening these partners for a series of learning sessions to advance experimentation and build cross-sector peer-learning connections to exchange ideas and identify additional opportunities to enrich newcomer integration in the labour market.  

The exploration and development of these approaches will uncover helpful insights that can inform wider efforts in addressing this key issue. Beyond the current theme, there is the possibility to explore future thematic issues impacting Canada’s future of work.

Learn more about the Lab:

Seven innovative initiatives across Canada focus on surfacing novel solutions for newcomer integration
Helping a sustainable commuting organization turn ideas into reality
Second cohort of the Accelerator leads to greater confidence and expansion of skills
Why create an Innovation Lab and Accelerator program?
How we work with partners
Lessons from the Accelerator

Partners engaging with the Innovation Lab

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