Courtesy of Winnipeg Boldness Project

Too few social mission organizations have the know-how, tools, resources and enabling environment to do R&D well.

Without R&D, our solutions will not keep pace with what our communities need.

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.

Here are some of the organizations that Community members work with:


Tell us about your team, mission and work.

Planned creative work aimed at discovering new knowledge or developing significantly improved programs, processes, goods and services.

Practices for strong
Social R&D

  1. Preparing
  2. Looking
  3. Thinking
  4. Developing
  5. Diffusing

Whether you’re using social labs, ethnography, data science, co-production, behavioural science, prototyping and/or positive deviance analyses, strong R&D leads to strong innovations.

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

Since 2015, this community has been advancing the practice and visibility of Social R&D.

Interventions include: practitioner gatherings, master classes on essential skills, like storytelling and data utilization, and working with funders and policymakers to reduce barriers. While progress has been made on all fronts, acute gaps remain.

Social R&D Ecosystem Supporters

“If our societies are to thrive in the 21st century, we’ll need to make R&D mainstream in the social sector.”

Geoff Mulgan

Chief Executive, Nesta

“…the competencies that generate innovation are part of a collective activity occurring through a network of actors and their links or relationships”

Mariana Mazzucato

Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

“…it is through R&D that new ideas are reliably and purposefully developed”

Max Blouw

Expert Panel on the State of Science and Technology and Industrial Research and Development in Canada

“…Canada’s charitable and non-profit sector stands apart from the private sector in the complete lack of incentives or public investment in R&D.”

Nadia Duguay, Diane Roussin, Dr. Sarah Schulman, Ben Weinlick

Social R&D Practitioner letter to Government of Canada Social Innovation Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group

Work with us to reduce the barrier to entry for social mission organizations looking to set up or strengthen an R&D portfolio.