Leaders in Impact
The Alberta Innovates Impact Action Lab partners with ecosystem players to activate and amplify the collective economic and societal impact of investments in research and innovation.
Our Value Proposition
How do you know that you are making a difference to people’s lives? Do you hope to make a greater difference in the future? Do you wonder about the ripple effects of your work? Are you facing increased pressure to demonstrate and communicate return on investment (ROI), do more with less, and meet growing expectations for public accountability and societal impact?
If you answered yes to any of the above pain points, the Alberta Innovates Impact Action Lab can help! We work closely with a network of experts and the research and innovation community to foster an impact mindset. We help organizations plan, assess, and measure their progress. We support you in demonstrating and communicating your impact, whether it’s economic, environmental, health, or social.
The Impact Action Lab helps our clients convert their investments into outcomes and impact for Albertans, Canadians, and beyond.
What We Offer
The Impact Action Lab works with research and innovation ecosystem partners, including funders, government agencies, organizations, entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators.
We can help you maximize your impact through the stages of planning, implementing, managing, and communicating.
We combine impact science expertise plus practical implementation and scaling experience, along with a global network of experts and alumni, to deliver best-in-class supports in these areas:
Strategic Ecosystem Partnerships
We work closely with our strategic partners across government, academia, international funding agencies, industry, and the not-for-profit sector to advance impact for our communities.
We specialize in helping them design and plan for impact achievement, measurement, and improvement when they target large-scale change.
Our strategic ecosystem partnership work includes:
- Embedding impact strategy and plans for grant designers and applicants;
- Co-developing and implementing impact frameworks and playbooks for ecosystem-level innovations; and
- Developing impact-focused partnerships.
Impact Consulting Services
We work with a diverse set of clients across sectors with a focus on tailoring and integrating Performance and Impact Managements Systems (PIMS).
Our goal in this area is to strengthen research and innovation ecosystems. Our team is comfortable working in complex environments using design and systems thinking, gathering and analyzing information to inform actionable insights. We work collaboratively to establish strong relationships and enable positive change.
Our impact consulting work includes:
- Aligning impact to organizational strategy;
- Impact planning and frameworks, as well as assessment and measurement;
- Customized implementation of PIMS;
- Piloting, testing, and scaling research and innovation policies, initiatives, and programs; and
- Access to PIMS toolbox and resources.
Impact Training & Outreach
Our impact training courses give participants the opportunity to enhance their skills in impact planning, assessment, making an impact, and scaling for impact in the real world.
Participants have access to practical tools and resources to apply their learnings. Our courses offer participants lasting connections with the people they meet, and the unique chance become a part of a growing global alumni network.
Our training and outreach offerings include:
- International School on Research and Innovation Impact Assessment
- Making an Impact and Scaling for Impact courses (more info coming soon)
- Tailored impact training courses for universities, policymakers, and professionals
The Impact Action Lab is known for its thought leadership and innovation in the field of impact science.
We co-develop and publish impact standards, guidelines, and white papers. We participate and advise on national and international committees. We publish on proof-of-concepts and scale-ups, and share implementation lessons learned. We offer cutting-edge and actionable insights on key topics such as network effects, accelerators, funding instruments, and value-for-money approaches.
View current and past publications by the Impact Action Lab and our network partners in the Publications section below.
Browse past works produced by the IAL and its network partners.
Alberta Innovates Meta-Analysis of Networks
The purpose of this report is to synthesize network effects on entrepreneurial ecosystems, as well as on economic and societal impacts. The report examines how different network analysis techniques are used to assess and measure networks and discusses network effects associated with high performance and impact. A summary of key findings and actionable insights are presented.
Alberta Innovates Meta-Analysis of Accelerators
This report presents a meta-analysis of business accelerators and draws out relevant insights to inform on the Alberta entrepreneurial ecosystem. A summary of key insights are presented in the document.
Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta (RINSA) Impact Case Study
This report presents the findings from the Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta using a retrospective realist impact case study approach. It was conducted to deepen our understanding of network effects and RINSA’s contribution to economic and societal impact in the local region. This report is one of a number of studies being conducted to collectively learn more about the effect of networks on research and innovation ecosystems and provide actionable insights for moving forward.
Nascence - Find Your Future Phase 1 Report (Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Navigation)
The Find Your Future project report focuses on entrepreneurial ecosystem navigation, or ‘wayfinding’ for entrepreneurs to find the “right services at the right time” that supports a seamless journey for scaling up and growing of their businesses. The report explores how wayfinding currently works and identifies solutions that enhance a positive experience for entrepreneurs. The Find Your Future project report is the first report in a three-part series. This is the Phase 1 report, which we title ‘Nascence’. It serves as a new beginning, an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come, and where we go next. Phase two will engage the community to co-develop processes and tools to enhance the connections between entrepreneurs and ecosystem resources in an entrepreneur-centric way, to promote collaboration on solving scale-up and growth challenges and creating future Alberta ecosystem opportunities.
Compendium of Tools
The purpose of this report is to understand the current and emerging tools used by policy makers and funders to help foster stronger and vibrant research and innovation ecosystems. The tools and instruments outlined in this report have different goals and features and can be used as levers for change. Understanding jurisdictional gaps and assets across the research and innovation continuum and designing portfolios of programs that include, objectives, the economic and societal impacts, beneficiaries and design the journey from the user perspective is a useful heuristic for stimulating innovation. This report is a starting point in providing a lay of the land and will be used to inform portfolio and program decisions for making a difference to those in our research and innovation ecosystem.
Wayfinder: A Presentation of Dr. Simon Raby’s Findings
The vision of the Alberta Innovates “Find your Future” project is to enhance the connections between entrepreneurs and ecosystem resources to promote collaboration. Phase 1 of the project focuses on entrepreneurial ecosystem navigation, or “wayfinding,” with the aim of exploring how wayfinding currently works and identifying solutions to enhance the experience for entrepreneurs.
We aim to be a leading collaborator for excellence and innovation, achieving positive economic and societal change with and for the Albertans and Canadians who need it most.
We focus on four desired impacts aligned to this vision:
- Maximizing collective impact and (social) return on investment;
- Building capacity and skills in impact;
- Mobilizing evidence to inform policy and practice; and
- Embedding, scaling, and optimizing impact in organizations.
To learn more about the work of the IAL, or if you are interested in partnering or working with us, please reach out to email@example.com.
The Impact Action Lab is an interdisciplinary team led by international impact expert Kathryn Graham and Jasper Buys. To contact Kathryn or Jasper directly, please reach out to:
Kathryn Graham, PhD, FCAHS
Executive Director – Impact Action Lab
Jasper Buys, MSocSc
Director – Impact Action Lab