The Alberta Innovates Impact Action Lab (IAL) is at the forefront of impact practices within Canada, working with clients to understand their desired impact, design programs to achieve this impact, and then assess the resulting impact on target communities. Return on the investment made in research and innovation, both social and economic, is at the core of their approach. The team is led by Kathryn Graham, Executive Director of the IAL and an internationally recognized expert in impact. She and her team offer a suite of consulting and training services to increase impact capabilities and drive implementation here in Canada and abroad.

In December, the IAL debuted a brand-new training course hosted in partnership with the The Center for Implementation. Demand for the course was so high, it sold out within two weeks of its announcement. The Scaling for Impact course addresses the scaleup gap by helping practitioners, researchers and companies scale innovations and initiatives to generate real impact for their communities. 

Nearly 60 participants from across Canada and the US registered for the inaugural version of the five-week course, which was delivered virtually as a live and interactive series beginning in November 2023. Ecosystem practitioners and program leaders who are accountable for impact and looking to scale their efforts to have a larger impact were the target audience. Real-life examples were integrated throughout a curriculum concentrated on cutting-edge approaches to scaling work to achieve economic and societal goals, with a focus on linking implementation processes to achieving impact results.

Participant feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with a waitlist for future course iterations already growing longer. Amongst the 18 participants who responded to a post-course evaluation survey, overall satisfaction was 94% and the course received a net promoter score (NPS) of 56, a measure of the likelihood that a participant will recommend the course. This iteration, targeted to a North American audience, acted as a pilot to validate original course content and the method of delivery. Inquiries have already come from potential international participants.

In a testament to the strength of its partnership model, which integrates connections with other ecosystem members to amplify IAL offerings, the IAL partnered with the Ontario-based Center for Implementation to collaborate on development and delivery of the course.

Stephanie Warner, Manager, Knowledge Engagement at the University of Calgary and a participant in the course, noted her appreciation for how course learnings could be applied. “The Scaling for Impact course was a fantastic opportunity,” said Warner. “The facilitators seamlessly wove the theory and practice of implementation science and research impact assessment into a comprehensive and practical roadmap that can actually be used in strategic planning and implementation. The format of the course allowed deep discussion and reflection, and the tools and templates can be customized to fit a variety of purposes. I’d recommend this course to anyone looking to take a complex initiative or intervention to the next level.”

Reesa John, Director of Fund and Fellowship at Alberta Innovates, presented a case study on the Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program, a project with early IAL involvement, on the final day of training.

“The Impact Action Lab's Research and Innovation Impact Assessment Course has evolved into a new offering - the Scaling for Impact workshop,” said Reesa. “Having presented at both, it has been inspiring to see the effect that the performance and impact frameworks are having on leveling up our Alberta ecosystem and the thought leadership we are exhibiting to participants from across Canada.”

Stay tuned for news related to Scaling for Impact, which is likely to reoccur on a yearly basis in the fall.

Learn more about IAL service offerings.