Cooperatives are democratic organizations designed to meet member needs and to create positive social change. The Conestoga College Social Innovation Lab works with cooperatives, credit unions, and mutuals to provide applied research solutions. When working with cooperatives our applied research is grounded in the seven cooperative principles. These principles are seen as the recipe for a successful cooperative and we ensure they are at the forefront of our thinking.  

Supports offered

  • Background research: We can help you explore what is known about a topic in the academic literature and amongst your fellow cooperative practitioners to help inform decision making or build towards a larger project. 
  • Place making: We can help build out an environment that will be supportive of creating lasting social change, either within a new organization or broader society. .  
  • Organizational development: We can help create structures and processes to ensure your work is optimized. 
  • Board development: We can help your board in addressing governance challenges, like implementing board evaluations, expanding recruitment, or revamping decision making processes. 
  • Knowledge transfer: We can help turn information from the journal articles and professional reports into an accessible format to share with your organization or the sector. 
  • Knowledge mobilization: We can help share the information we learn from our project together with the wider sector to ensure our projects support cooperation amongst cooperatives. 
  • Model dissemination: We can help design projects, grounded in research, to aid in making the cooperative difference better understood to those outside of the movement.

Knowledge transfer

Knowledge transfer involves sharing information that is known in the academic world or by a subset of practitioners with a broader audience who can put the information to good use. The Conestoga Social Innovation Lab worked with the Canadian Credit Union Association to organize a webinar series featuring experts across Canada exploring the challenges facing the housing market, the role credit unions are playing to meet the needs of members, and what innovative financial products other organizations are creating to increase housing affordability. Learn more about the project here. 

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