Tool box

As part of the accompaniment programs and services offered by the MIS, we offer various tools to support the leaders of projects with a high social and environmental impact.

If you wish to familiarize yourself with some of the key elements inherent to the implementation of such a project, or if you simply wish to learn more about the steps involved in starting a project, look at the resources selected on this page.

#01 - The theory of change

A theory of change is a schematic and synthetic representation of how we perceive change should occur.


It is a strategic planning methodology that defines the ultimate vision of a project or organization and then maps out the preliminary steps required to achieve that vision, through a roadmap or conceptual framework.


These include: the short-, medium- and long-term changes or impacts targeted by the intervention, the various means implemented to achieve the desired changes, and the target publics. The diagram may also explain the assumptions or presuppositions of the project and its conditions for success.

Learn more about the theory of change and ecosystem mobilization by watching this selection of short video clips. Designed to be used as part of a broader educational approach that includes other tools, these clips are nonetheless very relevant. They feature experts in the social innovation ecosystem with whom the MIS collaborates on an ongoing basis to provide the tools needed to move from idea to action.

Producing a theory of change

Let’s start by learning more about the theory of change, its purpose and its components with the intervention of Judith Gaudet — Impact, Strategic Clarity and Evaluation Coach at Innoweave — and Natalie Chapdelaine — Innoweave’s Manager for Québec and Francophone communities.

Planning the evaluation of a theory of change

And then, what are the next steps in developing the program? Judith Gaudet —impact, strategic clarity and evaluation coach at Innoweave — sheds some light on the subject.

#02 - Mobilizing a supporting ecosystem to achieve the desired impact

In any development of a project with social impact, it is important to mobilize a diversity of stakeholders. The following videos, presented by Julie-Maude Normandin — Co-Director, Research and Communication, CITÉ-ID Living Lab — take the municipal administration as an example of stakeholders to be mobilized.

#03 - The Living lab

A living laboratory, or living lab, aims to co-create rather than build consensus. Its starting point is neither a predetermined solution nor a search for consensus but rather creativity through divergence because a living lab values knowledge through usage and the experience of the users who are at the centre of the co-creation of solutions.

This is why, in a living laboratory, the users are the active contributors and lead the process. The team of the Research Centre of the Geriatrics University Institute of Montreal (CRIUGM) – CIUSSS Centre-sud-de-l’île-de-Montréal explains this well in the following video, which features the Quartier innovant, a living laboratory that promotes the well-being of senior citizens to which the MIS has collaborated.

The MIS leads other living labs such as AcadieLab, a living laboratory in the rehabilitation of agroecosystems on the Acadie River, located on the south shore of Montréal.

The MIS also successfully led LANVA, from April 2018 to March 2020, a project designed to stimulate digital innovation for the independent and active living of the elderly. As a result of this experience, a process handbook was written, compiling the key findings. You will find the different steps implemented, the methods, activities and tools used during this project to design new products and services for seniors.

Are you interested in the living laboratory approach? Contact us to learn more about our training offers!

#04 - A social-innovation approach in a time of crisis

For nearly two and a half years, the MIS had the privilege of collaborating with the partners of the Community and Social Health Cluster in Montréal-Nord on a project to create integrated global-health services for vulnerable populations in the borough’s west sector.

Because this social-innovation approach unfolded within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it encountered numerous obstacles. In order to support the project’s partners, who were seeking to design innovative services adapted to a difficult-to-reach population, the MIS had to rethink its approach on an ongoing basis.

Having concluded this collaboration, the MIS would like to share the story of the project. It’s an example of a social-innovation-through-design approach that highlights the richness of potential adaptations in terms of activities and tools—all within a context in which human interactions, typically central to this approach, are limited.

This story has the potential to inspire project leaders interested in initiating a social-innovation approach. It can also challenge design practitioners whose work must evolve within a context of multiple constraints or upstream projects. Such a design approach in the start-up phase is rare in this field of practice, and typically involves preliminary stages of consultation and capacity building. Above all, this project exemplifies the extraordinary potential of co-development between partners and designers, as well as of the evolution of the practice itself.

Past and ongoing social innovation projects