Developing Canada’s Social R&D Field

Across Canada, community leaders and innovators are using approaches from Research & Development (R&D) to better understand and address social issues in their communities. We are a diverse community with practitioners coming from the nonprofit, charitable, corporate, and public sectors.

Using techniques such as prototyping, human-centered design, social labs, data measurement, and ethnography, we are testing new ideas, creating new evidence of what’s working and what isn’t, and sharing these approaches with each other so that we can develop together and scale.

ABOUT: Social R&D Community of Practice

We’ve designed three Community of Practice streams for practitioners to flow between, allowing you to access the learning and connections that best serve your practice.

We hope this Community of Practice will help you Learn from and with one another, Share and get support for your work and big challenges, and Build a strong social R&D ecosystem. Learn more about each of these streams here.

Community of Practice sessions

We will be meeting regularly to help practitioners to Learn, Share and Build the field.

Please find our upcoming opportunities on the SI Canada events calendar page.

LEARN: Resources

R&D is a relationship between multiple interconnected practices. It can uncover new knowledge and generate solutions that are radically more efficient and/or effective than current approaches. Here are our top websites and reports for learning more about Canadian Social R&D.

Click the images below to download the reports

BUILD: Help Shape a Social R&D Prototype Evaluation Guide

Despite the increase in Social R&D activities across Canada, there are very few resources to help practitioners evaluate the prototypes that emerge from the work. SI Canada and Mark Cabaj (Here to There Consulting) are developing an evaluation prototype guide to help social innovators to develop and test promising ideas.

Would you like to help shape this resource? Learn more!


Since 2015, the Social R&D Community of Practice has been advancing the adoption and visibility of social R&D in Canada and internationally.

The McConnell Foundation and Social Innovation Generation began this work by issuing a number of important foundational reports that have demonstrated why social purpose organizations also need to invest in our own capacity to experiment.

Learn about the Declaration of Action, Getting to Moonshot and other key milestones.

Join the Social R&D Community

The Social R&D Community is a network of practitioners dedicated to growing the craft of research and development, on the frontline, to generate new knowledge and innovations that transform lives.

Sign up for our newsletter and join the activities of the Social R&D Community of Practice.

The Social R&D Program is supported by: