The MIX Challenge Toolkit: Tools & Techniques for Challenge-Based Innovation Partnerships & Procurement

The Municipal Innovation Exchange (MIX) project team created this Toolkit to assist municipalities - individual line managers or project owners, or municipal strategic teams (like a Smart Cities Office) - that are contemplating or undertaking a procurement by means of innovation partnership.

The Toolkit can help municipal staff decide which projects are a good fit for this approach to procurement. It can help them initiate and manage an innovation partnership. It can also help them assess the whole experience afterwards and determine if and how to apply innovation partnership again.

The COVID-19 Wildfire: Nonprofit Organizational Challenge and Opportunity

Nonprofit organizations in Canada were significantly impacted by COVID-19, including lost revenue and needing to adjust the program delivery. The lack of technology capacity in the nonprofit sector is a key barrier for many nonprofit organizations to adapt to delivering programs online. Momentum, a Calgary-based nonprofit organization, experienced both financial and programmatic challenges due to COVID-19. Momentum pivoted program delivery to provide supports during the COVID-19 lockdown and developed innovative approaches to online programming. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, Momentum was able to rapidly develop its capacity to use technology for online programming with the support of critical new funding. Many nonprofits will have to transform their business models to not only survive but thrive in the post-COVID world.



Supporting Financial Health Fintechs in Canada: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities

Technology can play a key role in addressing some of the financial challenges that Canadians face on a day-to-day basis. Over the last five to ten years we have seen a growing number of companies, called fintechs, that primarily use technology to change and enhance the way we do banking or access financial advice and services. Many of these companies are building products that are specifically meant to help Canadians improve their financial health.

The purpose of this report is to explore the existing financial health fintech landscape in Canada, the challenges that these companies face, and how an accelerator program that provides mentorship and resource supports over a defined time-frame can better help these financial health fintechs grow and thereby help improve the financial health of people across Canada.



The Omega Foundation and the SmartSAVER Program, Lessons in Taking Social Innovations to Scale

This case study is about the Omega Foundation’s SmartSAVER program. It has effectively elevated the Canada Learning Bond (a post-secondary education savings program for low income families) from a struggling idea to a fully-fledged and well-utilized national resource. In so doing, Omega and SmartSAVER have created new pathways out of poverty for thousands of Canadians. 

This story gives us significant insight into the process of bringing an innovative idea to life. It offers important observations about the barriers to launching and scaling innovative ideas. It also offers insights into the solutions that can overcome these barriers.