Innoweave: 12 months delivering practical tools for social innovation

February 14, 2014

Shawn Bayes knew her organization was doing a great job. But she felt there was room for improvement.

“We felt Innoweave could assist us to step up our game,” says Bayes, Executive Director of  Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver, a nonprofit dedicated to providing support services to women, girls and children at risk of involvement, involved in or affected by the justice system.

“As a mature organization of 75 years, (Innoweave) gave us fresh eyes and helped us focus more clearly about who we are, what we do, and what the systemic changes that are needed to translate government legislation to humane regulation and policy that affects our clients,” she continues.

For the team at EFry, which participated in Innoweave’s Impact and Strategic Clarity module, and is now moving on to explore Cloud Computing and Collective Impact, one of the biggest benefits has been how the module helped them clearly connect their activities with outcomes, and to use data and evidence to inform decision making.

Says Bayes, “That change helps us speak to funders and donors about what our work is actually accomplishing.”

Another “Aha!” moment came when they realized they could communicate what they did more clearly with diagram than with text. “Clients like the change because our tools are now more visual for them and less word based,” says Bayes, explaining that literacy is sometimes an issue with the populations they serve.

Practical tools for social innovation

Innoweave’s promise to community organizations is “Practical Tools for Social Innovation”. This would be a hard promise to keep without the collaboration and support of of thought leaders, academics, and partners from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors.

In 2014, Innoweave will continue to grow partnerships and collaborations with its partners across sectors and also develop fresh tools to aid organizations in their everyday activities.  But before looking forward to the next year, it’s worth taking a look back at the numbers from last year.

By The Numbers

  • 8 modules launched, plus more to come
  • 1000+ NFP team members have accessed online Self-Assessment tools;
  • 17 Webinars attended by 1000+ NFP team members, +3 to come!
  • 40+ workshops attended by 200+ organizations, +9 to come!
  • 11 facilitator sessions held, +5 to come
  • 100+ coaches registered on
  • 60+ organizations receiving coaching to implement, including three completed Impact and Strategic Clarity cohorts
  • 30+ partnerships with social innovation experts, workshop hosts and funders

So what does this all mean?

The most exciting part about these numbers is that they demonstrate there’s a growing interest within community sector organizations to look to new tools which could help them address problems and enhance their impact.

It’s a sentiment echoed by partners including Talia Bell, Manager of Community Investments and Collaborations at United Way Calgary following her experience organizing several Innoweave workshops in her area. “It seemed like a value-add to our community and a cost effective way to support learning among the service providers in the community, as well as access to grants.”

And the feedback?

“ I would recommend Innoweave to organizations!” says Bell. “It has been great to work with Innoweave; and the continuous quality improvement process that they implement and feedback collected is fantastic.”

Shawn Bayes of Elizabeth Fry adds, “If you want to return your service to being mission-focused at the level of line staff being able to clearly say how they are linked to the mission; if you want to revitalize your mission at the board level, it’s a great tool.

“Boards can often get caught up with what governments fund as determining their vision rather than what services you provide linked to your vision, mission and values. But then how does your mission go forward to accomplish broader change to improve and build the fabric of Canadian society?” Bayes continues.

“We wanted to ensure we grow another 75 years and bring about the changes to Canadian society that we were founded to do, and we continue to be on fire to do that.”

If you think that Innoweave can help your organization increase its impact, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to find out how Innoweave works.