What Is a CIL?
In partnership with Thompson Rivers University (TRU), FOF hosted the 2015 CommUnity Innovation Lab (CIL) in Kamloops, BC. Our prior Building SustainABLE Communities Conferences were precursors to this event, and the CIL certainly proved to be a worthy successor.
CIL 2015 was a community-inspired conversation that helped participants from Kamloops and beyond explore and then drive positive change in their communities. In a step-by-step process, participants were able to get ready, informed, connected, inspired, and organized before getting busy making their communities healthier, happier, and more prosperous!
Who Made It Happen?
CIL was hosted by the Fresh Outlook Foundation in partnership with Thompson Rivers University (TRU), the Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC), SustaiNet Software, the City of Kamloops, the BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA), and Urban Matters. A huge THANK-YOU to these folks for getting behind something brand new!
What Is the Story Behind CIL?
FOF hosted its first few Building SustainABLE Communities (BSC) conferences in Kelowna to enable multi-sector conversations about environmental, social, cultural, and economic issues. Since then, ‘sustainability’ has evolved from being a general concept to being a specific call to action for individuals, organizations, and communities. To that end, FOF reformatted and rebranded BSC as a CommUnity Innovation Lab, which was designed to help participants deliver actionable, measurable, and replicable change.
In September 2014, a dozen people from all sectors met with FOF in Kamloops, to talk about the lab and how it could help accelerate sustainability efforts in the host community and beyond. The core planning team was born.
In October, about 60 community leaders gathered to envision the lab’s focus. They answered questions like: What does community sustainability look like? What actions would accelerate the move toward community sustainability? How can we take meaningful and productive action together? The outcomes identified Healthy Environment, Healthy People, and Healthy Economy as the three overarching themes and related sub-themes.
A series of multi-sector workshops held in November 2014, further defined the themes and breakout topics and identified local organizations and experts who would help inform and guide lab conversations. In concert with its community partners, FOF promoted CIL to local government folks; business people; nonprofit and community groups; TRU students, faculty, and staff; and citizens who were interested in learning about and contributing to community well-being.
CIL was also promoted to municipalities, regional districts, and First Nations throughout BC, as well as other universities and trade associations such as the Local Government Management Association, Planning Institute of BC, and Public Waste Association of BC.
What Happened During CIL?
Pre-event fact-finding activities helped prepare participants for their lab experience. Pre-lab workshops and tours also increased understanding of community sustainability and, therefore, improved lab outcomes. Keynote presentations and walk-about table talks then prepared participants for the final planning session, during which they created action-maps to drive specific sustainability efforts in their homes, organizations, or communities.
Why Was CIL Unique?
CIL combined best facilitation and public engagement tactics with emerging social learning, social innovation, and collective impact tools to stimulate multi-sector conversations that inspire actionable change. To set the stage for those conversations to unfold, dozens of community leaders in Kamloops collaborated to set the overarching themes and related topics that were explored during CIL.
HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT: Environmental Protection, Climate Action, Zero Waste, Smart Growth.
HEALTHY PEOPLE: Social Resources, Food Security, Sustainable Mobility, Cultural Abundance.
HEALTHY ECONOMY: Local Economy, Resilient Economy, Clean Industry, Entrepreneurial Opportunities.