Season 1: Episode 2 - The Social Impact Lab

The Social Impact Lab

In episode 2 of Pause, John Vardalos and Talia Bell reflected on their journey of creating The Social Impact Lab.

The Social Impact Lab was launched in February of 2018 as a partnership between the United Way of Calgary and Area and J5 Innovation. It is an example of a social innovation lab that brings together a diverse group of organizations and individuals, including people with lived experience, to address complex problems. Over the past year, much of the lab’s work has focused on mental health issues. The lab also offers a program to help nonprofit leaders learn and apply design thinking in their work.

As social innovation labs increase in popularity, we have an incredible opportunity to learn from the experiences and reflections of changemakers who are bringing this new way of working into their sectors and communities. In this episode, we speak with Talia Bell and John Vardalos about why they created the social impact lab, how the lab works, the tensions they face, and what they’ve learned over the past year and a half. 


Recording by Elise Martinoski of ABSI Connect. Production by Lisa Pruden of the Edmonton Community Foundation. Music by the Fort McMurray youth of the SoundForce Collective.