Archive for October, 2014

Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy partners with Innoweave

by Lynn Roblin, MSc. RD, member of co-lead of the Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy group

The Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy (OFNS) design team formed in 2011 as a working group of the Ontario Collaborative Group on Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (OCGHEPA).  The group includes representatives from non-profit, health, food and academic organizations dedicated to addressing population-based issues relating to healthy eating, physical activity, healthy weights and the determinants of health, including food access.  Sustain Ontario, a province-wide, cross-sectoral alliance that promotes healthy food and farming, is a key partner within the OFNS Design Team and houses all documents of the collaborative.

The OFNS group has identified the need for a cross-government, multi-stakeholder coordinated approach to address food policy and program development and to develop a plan for healthy food and farming in Ontario.  The group prepared an Action Plan Framework as a result of consultations with over 40 representatives of relevant provincial ministries, food, nutrition, health, and farming groups, engagement with Aboriginal and First Nations groups, and online surveys with over 200 submissions between 2012 and 2014.  Research, background papers and consultation reports are available on the Sustain Ontario website.

Three members of the OFNS group attended the Innoweave collective impact workshop in the fall of Sept 2013 and 12 representatives, including 3 ministries, attended the February 2014 workshop. Participants at both workshops felt the collective impact approach would help us further engage key actors to achieve system level change for a coordinated, cross-ministry, multi-stakeholder mechanism to address food and nutrition policy and programming in Ontario.  This will ultimately help improve the health of Ontarians and strengthen Ontario economy and resiliency of our food systems.

Thanks to funding from the McConnell Foundation and Innoweave the OFNS group is receiving coaching support.  The coach will help us finalize our system level impact goals, further develop our theory of change and advance mutually reinforcing activities, and create a process for shared impact measurement.  The coach will also work with us to refine the collaborative organizational structure and a resource plan.

The OFNS group is a dedicated group of individuals representing a variety of organizations who have provided tremendous in-kind and volunteer support.  The OFNS group has applied and is hopeful to secure funding through Innoweave for a backbone coordinator so that the excellent work on the strategy can continue.


Impact & Strategic Clarity Coach Profile: Robin Cory


Robin Cory

What made you want to become a coach with Innoweave?

I am trained as a coach and was providing strategy support to non-profits at the time that Innoweave launched. Having lived in the United States for 10 years, I was familiar with Bridgespan’s work with a number of U.S-based non-profits and was thrilled to hear that they were going to be developing a program for Canadian non-profits in partnership with the McConnell Foundation.  The opportunity to learn from Bridgespan and to deliver the Impact and Strategic Clarity module in Canada has been a fabulous experience for me.  I think they have developed some extremely important and practical tools for organizations to think more clearly about their work and desired impact.

 What has been your experience so far? How have you found the process?

I have loved my work as an Impact coach.  My partner Margot Smart and I have coached over a dozen organizations, since the start of Innoweave, helping them achieve greater strategic clarity through the development of an intended impact statement and theory of change.  My sense from the organizations we have supported is that they are left with a decision-making tool to help them be even more thoughtful about what they will say yes and no to in the future—and that’s our central objective.

What are the benefits to working with an Innoweave coach?

The approach we take really is one of a coach and champion.  I think the three greatest values we provide as impact coaches are the tools, the probing questions and the accountability structure.  After working through a topic and generating ideas as a group, the team then meets without us to advance the thinking before we meet again.  Organizations really get out what they put in.  And we have been extremely fortunate to have worked with a group of extremely thoughtful and committed leaders who I believe have gained much greater focus and clarity as a result of this process.  It’s really about thinking differently or more rigorously about how to allocate scarce resources for maximum impact.

What has been your biggest learning or “aha” moment while helping organizations complete the Innoweave ISC module?

There have been two.  The first is deep realization around how challenging the work of non-profit organizations is—given the complex and often competing forces creating the issues they are tackling and the limited resources they have to bring to bear to achieve their goals.  The second is that so many social service agencies are driving at similar outcomes.  Although as impact coaches we work with single organizations by design, this work continues to raise for me the importance and potential of partnerships, collaborations and Collective Impact — across sectors.

 Who would you recommend apply for the module?

Organizations that are at an important inflection point.  They are seeking to answer clear strategic questions and could benefit from a decision-making framework to aid them in doing so.  They are willing to revisit their theory of change or need to develop one.  They could assemble a working group, which includes the ED or CEO, that could collectively commit to about a day a week of time over ~5 months.  And most importantly, are up for having some fun—we do try to laugh as much as possible!

To find out more about the Impact & Strategic Clarity module and how you can apply, please visit