Archive for May, 2014

From Vision to Impact: Three Recent Impact and Strategic Clarity Module Participants Share Their Stories!

Guests gather at the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation in Montréal to celebrate the newest graduates of Innoweave's Impact and Strategic Clarity Module!

Guests gather at the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation in Montréal to celebrate the newest graduates of Innoweave’s Impact and Strategic Clarity Module!

Three participating organizations from the third wave of Innoweave’s Impact and Strategic Clarity module explain how the process has helped them achieve greater clarity and hone in on their organization’s intended impact.

On a sunny spring afternoon recently, the wood-paneled conference room at the Jean Sauvé Foundation buzzed with a palpable sense of excitement as Montreal-based participants of Innoweave’s third cohort of the Impact and Strategic Clarity  module reflected on their experience with the 5-month facilitated coaching process. Executive Directors and CEOs from three diverse nonprofits shared stories of their breakthrough moments with members from the broader community.

“As the CEO of an organization that’s 139 years old, I was looking for a way that gets every member of my team working together, coherently and in consensus.” says Hélène Lépine of the Montreal YWCA. “I am frankly delighted. Because thanks to Innoweave, we’re in a place to do just that.”

For Lépine, having the YWCA’s programs strategically aligned with one another and with their mission – instead of siloed – is a major win. So is her ability to clearly communicate the organization’s goals and impact: “I can say with confidence to anyone– the media, funders, other organizations, this is who we are and this is what we do. It’s all very clear now.”

Nancy Wright, Director of Jeanne Sauvé Scholars Foundation agrees. “It’s the kind of exercise that I really think is very useful. Innoweave provided us with a structure to take what we agreed on for mission and vision and actually put it into practice. Because missions and visions are huge and really, you have to figure out what you can’t do, because typically everybody wants to do everything and then nothing gets done.”

As the founder of a smaller and younger organization, Fabrice Vil of Pour 3 Points also found the big-picture aspect of the module useful. “We have a lot of diversity within our team; we have people with a background in business, I have experience on the ground, we have volunteers from academia. Doing the research that brings it all together– to understand that despite the diversity, we were really working towards the same goal. That was a real AHA moment for us.”

Fabrice Vil, Founder, Pour 3 Points

Fabrice Vil, Founder, Pour 3 Points

Three Teams Share Their Organization’s Vision

The YWCA, the Jean Sauvé Foundation and Pour 3 Points presented their biggest insights to a room packed with participants ranging from alumni of the Impact and Strategic Clarity module, board members and directors of various foundations who were interested in learning more about the Innoweave process.

Innoweave Program Officer, Doug Brodhead said, “The response has been really positive. We, along with many of our Impact and Strategic Clarity participants knew that the process was going to be really beneficial for their organization, but I don’t think we quite realized how powerful and transformative the process really is. Hearing the lessons learned and key moments for organizations was a really valuable exercise, and solidified our belief in the importance of supporting organizations along this path.”

After the presentations, Impact and Strategic Clarity coaches Stephanie Garrow and Lara Evoy, opened up the floor to questions.

“It is extremely rewarding to see how the groups have digested their learning over the past six months, and then to watch them interact and share this learning with each other,” says Garrow.  We also listened carefully to questions from groups who are interested in joining a future cohort – what are their real needs,  as well to our alumni of past cohorts who shared where they are at one year after completing the process.”

Saman Ahsan, Executive Director, Girls Action Foundation

Saman Ahsan, Executive Director, Girls Action Foundation

Teams agree that going through the ISC process has also helped them prioritize activities that offer the greatest potential to enhance their intended impact, making it easier to choose what to focus on when confronted with multiple opportunities. And that can make things feel much less overwhelming.

One year after her organization completed the program, Saman Ahsan, Executive Director of Girls Action Foundation says, “In my view all our programs are worth investing in, and if we had the resources, we would do them all, and then some! But alas in the situation of financial limitations and constraints, we can’t do it all. Innoweave helped us start thinking about prioritizing which programs would we consider as core to the organisation and we would continue to invest in, and which programs would we let go.”

To find out more about the ISC module and to see if it’s a good fit for your own organization, take our self assessment quiz here. Applications to participate in the next round of the module are open until July 2nd – click here to learn more.

A New Model for Webinars!

There are a lot of good reasons to attend an Innoweave webinar:

  • Connect with experts and better understand the nine approaches on offer; 
  • Participate in a preparatory online discussion forum before investing the time in an in person workshop; or 
  • Use them to jumpstart community dialogue.

Innoweave has hosted 17 webinars over the past year, connecting organizations across Canada to 9 new approaches for enhancing your impact. Each webinar offers a chance to access our modules and learn from an expert – but what the Victoria Community Funders’ Network did this past March was really unique! Through an Introduction to Collective Impact webinar, the Funders Network jumpstarted a community dialogue on Collective Impact by bringing participants together in satellite viewing locations. Facilitated by Michelle Colussi from the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal, this session provided a unique and memorable experience to participants logging in across the City of Victoria…

Innoweave webinars provide organizations with access to module experts and practitioners, to develop a better understanding of a particular approach and a clearer idea of how they might implement it. Typically, participants sign up to join the discussion through their computer and/or phone, learn about an approach (such as Collective Impact), and prepare to attend a workshop. In fact, you can sign up here for an Introduction to Innoweave webinar on June 25th!

So why was this webinar different?

The Victoria Community Funders’ Network expressed a keen interest in running a Collective Impact webinar and workshop, in response to growing community awareness of the potential to advance collective impact initiatives across multiple issue areas. Jumping on the opportunity to leverage the webinar for enhanced community dialogue, the Funders’ Network wanted to give organizations in Victoria the option of viewing the webinar with other organizations working in similar issue areas, across multiple locations in Victoria. The idea would be to use the webinar as an entry point for broader conversations on specific issue areas ripe for a collective impact approach, such as food security and childhood development.

“Working collectively rests on a bedrock of trust and positive relationships among collaborators”, says Marg Rose of the Victoria Foundation. “The Victoria Funders’ Network provided free venues and facilitators to enable local participants to view the first  Innoweave webinar in person, and hosted break out discussions after the presentation, as a way to build bridges between groups working in the same sector.”

On March 19th, over 70 participants dialed-in from 8 different locations across Victoria, to attend in-person dialogue sessions coinciding with the webinar.  Along with the 127 online attendees, this was clearly a model that resonated. Viewing sites included the Victoria Cool Aid Society, the United Way of Greater Victoria, VanCity, the Victoria Foundation, Telus, Ready to Rent, the Provincial Employee Services Community Fund, and the Sooke Child, Youth and Family Centre.

As the webinar ended, local discussions began…

In most locations, groups discussed the ideas and learnings surfaced in the webinar and how they would apply to population level outcomes each group was trying to achieve. Through this organic dialogue, groups were able to apply the concepts and ideas generated from the webinar directly to their discussions.

“This blend of expert input by distributed learning on the webinar, coupled with an opportunity to reflect and open up face-to-face communication, led to exciting possibility thinking”, says Rose. “The positive combination is a blend that other locations may also consider in encouraging this very important approach to maximizing impact.”

Through partnerships with groups like the Victoria Community Funders’ Network, Innoweave strives to provide innovative and impactful support to Canada’s community sector. If you or your organization are interested in partnering to host a webinar or workshop, please contact us at

Check out our New Website – and Find More Ways to Enhance Your Impact!

We’ve given our website,, a makeover so that it’s easier to use. Browse the new site to learn more about Innoweave’s Nine Modules, Take a Self-Assessment, or find an Upcoming Workshop in your area!

We’re excited to share with you our newly re-designed website!  We hope you’ll take a few moments to check it out and send us a tweet @innoweave to let us know what you think.

The changes we’ve made include:

  • A completely redesigned home page to help everyone access material faster
  • Improved navigation through the five-step Innoweave Process to help community organizations learn about, and access, our multiple layers of support!
  • Re-designed Module pages, to make it even easier to find information, case studies, webinars and workshops to help you learn about the Innoweave tools.
  • A new Meet Innoweave Organizations page, to share stories and connect you with organizations in your network that are implementing a new approach with Innoweave.

We’d love to hear your feedback! Let us know what you think about our new design, and what you’d like to see on the site to help make it even more effective. You can connect with us by email, on Twitter, or on Facebook!