Having an impact in the context of the pandemic and preparing for the post-COVID-19 era

Avoir un impact en contexte de pandémie et préparer l'après COVID-19

While social innovation is an ideal field of practice for fostering — at all times — the emergence of solutions to major societal problems, its relevance is fully revealed in times of crisis.

The essential measures deployed by the authorities to curb the momentum of the COVID-19 pandemic have important consequences for all stakeholders in society and uncover, at the same time, the systemic issues that are slowing down the socio-ecological transition and exacerbating the social inequities in our communities. They also raise questions about our collective capacity to be resilient and to mobilize to redefine what it means to live together.

Public authorities, organizations, businesses and citizens must adjust. Difficult decisions have been made and more await us collectively.

We believe that the choices we make today will determine our future.

Bad decisions will certainly have long-term consequences. But the reverse is also true! The MIS believes this is an opportune time to redefine a collective social contract that allows us to make choices that will have positive repercussions in the long term.

In this exceptional and unprecedented context, the MIS quickly adapted, first to allow the team to settle in these new working conditions. It then proceeded to modulate its ongoing projects, to avoid hampering them, and to define contribution avenues to support the ecosystem of social innovation and strengthen its impact.

The initiatives currently being deployed by the team are threefold in scope:

#1 Support the community in a crisis context to mitigate the shock.

To meet the needs of agents of change who are facing the repercussions of the measures deployed during COVID-19, or to support social organizations that are addressing critical and emerging needs in the population they serve, the MIS is updating its service offer and assets. Here are some of the activities that have been deployed.


Individual coaching clinics are offered to project leaders from the community of #Je fais Mtl. These clinics focus on the ability of project leaders to quickly turn their activities around considering the pandemic, notably by reviewing their impact strategy, adapting their value proposition to the context, and reorienting their business model.


Timeline: April-June 2020 – Clinics reserved for Je fais Mtl’s leaders
15+ hours of coaching offered to 18 project leaders

An adapted

An adapted digital platform to facilitate the networking of initiatives with social impact in response to the repercussions of the COVID-19.


Designed to promote networking between leaders of projects with social and environmental impact and a range of implementation opportunities (calls for projects, various types of expertise, innovation competitions, etc.), the TANGRAM digital platform is currently being updated so that it can be used to register or search for a project in connection with the needs emerging as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.


Timeline: Summer 2020 

Register your social impact project

A special
edition of

A special edition of « Raccords » on the resilience of our communities


The MIS has changed the editorial schedule of Raccords, its digital quarterly newsletter on social innovation, to devote an entire edition to community resilience. The objective is to address the issue of community resilience from a perspective of ecological transition, or even systemic transformation. This edition include an essay signed by the team from the Ville de Montréal’s Resilience Office.


Timeline: Raccords #05 published on May 31, 2020

Discover the special edition of Raccords

Express coaching sessions

Free online express coaching sessions with various members of the MIS team.


In addition to the various coaching initiatives offered by our partners in the social innovation ecosystem, including Esplanade, District 3, Innoweave, CESIM and others, the MIS will offer individual online express coaching sessions, available free of charge on a weekly basis, to any social impact organization in the start-up phase or to established organizations that are considering the initiation of a social impact project as part of their activities.


Organizations wishing to take advantage of these speed coaching sessions can register their interest by filling out the online form (in French only). A team member will contact them to arrange a time slot, based on demand and the availability of MIS coaches.

Timeline: May-July 2020
36+ hours of sustained coaching offered free of charge to 13 organizations and collective movements.

Sign up for an express coaching session

An adapted
program for
the Civic

The MIS team has not suspended its regular operations. Rather, it is preparing for different scenarios and adapting its activities, accordingly, including its service offer related to its Civic Incubator program.


The next two cohorts will focus on the theme “From resilience in a pandemic context to social and ecological transition” and will welcome innovative solutions to accelerate the sustainable development of Montréal communities.


Check out the call for projects and join this support programme offered free of charge to the laureates who will have been selected.


Timeline: Spring-Fall 2020

Discover the projects of the Winter 2021 cohort

A coaching
service on

The MIS will offer a free online structuring coaching service on resilient leadership. This service will be offered to social impact organizations close to our partner Esplanade, which have expressed a need in this regard. This service will be provided in small groups to senior managers and leaders of these organizations in order to increase their resilience and their ability to adapt quickly and positively to difficult situations. Deployed in two phases over a three-month period, this offer will be based on the resilient leadership module developed as part of the MIS Civic Incubator.


Through this collaboration, the MIS, as an intermediary, contributes to increasing the impact of its partners within their respective communities in the context of the pandemic.


Timeline: June-August 2020

18 hours of free coaching offered to some 10 leaders of social impact organizations.

Free social

Free social impact webinars offered to private companies


With social interaction between citizens and the private sector already disrupted due to the COVID-19 crisis and as private companies are preparing to make difficult choices to ensure the relaunch of their activities, the MIS wishes to seize this opportunity to promote social impact and encourage the private sector to go beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR). This is why it is preparing a series of free webinars that will be offered to the managers of private companies who recognize the urgency of placing social impact at the heart of their activities.


Timeline: Autumn 2020

#2 - Fostering the generation of socio-environmental innovations and impacts to increase our collective resilience

Several organizational and territorial coaching projects as well as social R&D laboratories were in full implementation at the MIS before the advent of the pandemic. The MIS decided to step up to the mark and reinforce the impact of these projects in order to sustain the anticipated systemic transformation with respect to resilience. Here are some of the improvements that have been put in place in this regard.

A listening
process in

As part of the coaching it is offering on a voluntary basis for the creation of a Community and Social Health Cluster in Montréal-Nord, the MIS will adapt the collection and documentation tools it will make available to partners in order to broaden the scope of the initial project and identify the needs of communities that are emerging or that are being exacerbated as a result of the measures deployed to curb the progress of COVID-19.


Ultimately, this listening approach, adapted into different formats to respect physical distance and barrier gestures, will guide the Cluster’s partners in implementing creative strategies to strengthen social ties and community resilience.


Timeline: May-July 2020

Learn more about the project

A process of
listening and
mapping in

A process of listening and mapping in the Centre-Sud neighbourhood to support patients in a health care community.


The MIS, in collaboration with the CDC-Centre-Sud, the Chaire de recherche du Canada sur le partenariat avec les patients(es) et le public and Humanovis, is coaching a community caregiver project in the Centre-Sud neighbourhood of Montréal, in order to identify the ecosystem of non-clinical services and resources that can support patients. The objective is also to model all possible interactions between the different types of community actors who can support patients in their living environment.


Given the context of confinement and physical distancing, the MIS is implementing a listening approach adapted to physical distancing measures to document the life stories and trajectories of patients, in addition to their experience of confinement. This activity will make it possible to identify their new needs, obstacles they encounter and strategies for overcoming them, as well as their day-to-day supporters. The hoped-for impact is to identify avenues for assistance and services that are accessible at all times, even in the context of the pandemic, all with a view to creating social capital and community resilience.


Timeline: In progress and until the end of June

#3 - Contribute to the acceleration of the social-ecological transition by capitalizing on the systemic changes required

In 2019, the MIS was able to broaden the scope of its activities in the regions and in certain sectors of the public apparatus of different levels of government. By supporting more than 15 public services, the MIS has demonstrated the potential of its activities in terms of systemic impact to accelerate the socio-ecological transition. In this context, and taking into account what we learned from COVID-19, the team plans to rely more on its strengths in social R&D and to put its social innovation interventions at the service of the revitalization of urban and rural environments.


In this regard, several initiatives will be launched in the coming year and will include a variety of stakeholders most likely to contribute to the social-ecological transition. We should mention, however, this first step, which is already taking shape!

A financial

A financial innovation laboratory that will integrate COVID-19-related lessons with respect to social-ecological transition.


The MIS is in the process of setting up a Montréal chapter of the global laboratory for financial innovation, the Future Economy Lab (FEL). In partnership with Second Muse Capital of New York, Real Ventures and the McConnell Foundation, this laboratory aims to bring together organizations that are pioneering the development of new practices for supporting and coaching entrepreneurial initiatives aimed at creating inclusive and resilient local economies.


In particular, the lab will bring together institutional investors, investment managers and people from the financing community to explore, co-construct and deploy new financial mechanisms to increase the resilience of our communities, but also and above all to contribute to accelerating the socio-ecological transition and the development of a climate-based economy. As we prepare for recovery and are already looking ahead to the post-COVID era, it is important to seize this opportunity to adapt our systems to this end. The Montréal chapter of this laboratory will focus on climate economics.


Timeline: Immediately

Learn more about the FEL