Our mission

Social innovation to redefine how we live together

At the Maison de l’innovation sociale (MIS), we believe that all members of society have the power and the ability to imagine solutions to the major social and environmental challenges of today’s world. But we also know that the systemic complexity that society faces is one of the major obstacles to change. How can we solve such complex and urgent issues, such as, for example, the refugee crisis, climatic disruptions or increasing social and economic inequalities, given that these issues involve a diversity of actors and are reflected in multiple dimensions of society?

Social innovation is an approach that tackles complex issues in an integrated way and takes full advantage of communities’ full potential, makes better use of their assets and resources, while at the same time strengthening their capacity to take action to promote their emancipation. Isn’t this the key to a better future?

The MIS therefore addresses this complexity by untangling the knots and navigating past dead ends, knowing that, by tackling these obstacles and applying innovative solutions with positive impact, we will drive change and provoke lasting transformations. Building on this same complexity, by removing the barriers between an idea with positive and social impact and its implementation, the MIS wants to foster a true culture of collaboration and social innovation to take root to better address the major issues of the 21st century.

Isn’t this the key to a better future?

Social R&D, a pillar of social innovation

There is a whole ecosystem of actors able to help project leaders in social innovation: trainers, coaches, accelerators, community organizations, hubs, investors, philanthropists. For the most part, these actors support projects that are already in the deployment phase or that are ready for deployment. Their proofs of concept have been made, a prototype has been tested, a legal structure has been established, and project sponsors are now looking to finance their project, or to develop and accelerate their growth.

The MIS intervenes earlier in the process, in complement to these actors, in order to favour the emergence of a greater number and a greater diversity of projects with strong social and environmental impact. Indeed, we find that social innovation projects often fail right at the starting line due to a lack of knowledge or a lack of access to the resources needed to cross the threshold between ideation and deployment. The idea that projects with the potential to improve society may fail before they can be realized inspires us to take action.

The MIS is therefore working to fill this gap by generating, capturing and supporting the maximum number of innovations to a level of maturity so that they can move to the deployment stage. In addition, by reconnecting agents of change that emerge from multiple creative events (such as entrepreneur and innovation competitions) to actors within the support ecosystem and to the most timely development opportunities, the team is therefore driving a journey of value creation and impact for any emerging social innovation.

The MIS is certainly interested in the precursory stage of a social innovation, from highlighting the causes that make a social or environmental problem persist, to the generation of ideas to remedy it, to the elimination of obstacles between an idea and its implementation, to the deployment of this idea as a vector for systemic transformation. It not only aims to generate and capture ideas that call for rethinking our ways of doing things so that they are compatible with the future of humanity, but it also encourages those with ideas to bring forth their concepts and develop them so that they can become real social innovations.

An overview of La Maison de l’innovation sociale

The MIS intervenes right at the starting line, at the drawing board, at the startup phase, and is present early in the process when an agent of change proposes the implementation of an idea with social and environmental impact.

By building the first bridges in the project path, the MIS positions itself as a vital force and a champion for social R&D. It fosters the emergence of social innovations, and creates the optimal conditions for the emergence of structuring, productive and innovative collaborations within Québec’s social innovation ecosystem.

  1. The MIS provokes the emergence of social innovations and captures those that would not otherwise have had the opportunity to be deployed, due to a lack of support and expertise.
  2. The MIS reveals and amplifies the potential for positive impact of emerging social innovations and brings them to maturity with the participation and commitment of their creators so that they can reach the next threshold of deployment.
  3. The MIS equips organizations, communities and change agents because it believes that the transfer of expertise and capacity-building are undeniable strengths as catalysts for change.
  4. The MIS connects ideas with positive impact to deployment mechanisms, since fostering their ability to scale will lead to true social innovation.

A not-for-profit organization located in Montréal, the MIS is an important player in Québec’s social innovation ecosystem and a decisive lever in the emergence and development of projects with a strong positive social impact, among citizen collectives and government organizations, universities and the entrepreneurial community. It is funded mainly by foundations (the Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation and the McConnell Foundation), which allow it to better support its social R&D activities in partnership with researchers, developers, users and stakeholders in the social innovation ecosystem. The MIS also finances its activities through autonomous revenue generated by its service offering to public institutions and private companies.

To carry out its mission, the MIS offers four programs that are developed and led by its experienced and committed team. These allow to us meet the needs of a variety of socio-economic actors in the implementation of their projects with social and environmental impact, from their ideation to their deployment.