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An Indigenous Reflection of our Social Innovation Journey

A reflection on the social innovation of Skookum Labs.


Our social innovation journey began in 2017. At that time we didn’t know much about social innovation labs and we were not part of the social innovation community in Canada. Nonetheless, we had a daunting challenge before us and we needed an approach that could shake up the status quo. Our search ended in 2018 when we formally launched Skookum Lab – a social innovation lab to address the high rates of Indigenous child poverty in the City of Surrey. 

Three years later, we are winding down the lab activities and beginning to reflect on our journey. By any measure, the lab has been incredibly successful. For example, Skookum Lab has: 

  • Hosted hundreds of hours of conversations with over 1,000 Indigenous community members; 
  • Co-developed 16 prototypes for disrupting the systems that create and sustain Indigenous child poverty; 
  • Implemented 6 of the prototypes; 
  • Supported our partners to implement 2 more prototypes; 
  • Developed a comprehensive strategy for increasing affordable Indigenous housing options in the City; 
  • Initiated partnerships with Indigenous academics to support the aspirations of community members; and, 
  • Created an Indigenous way of doing social innovation that uplifts our community.
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All Our Relations: Honouring the Host Nations

SUILC recognizes that we operate on the unceded, ancestral, traditional and current territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Kwikwetlem, Qayqayt, and Tsawwassen First Nations.