The North Coast Innovation Lab (NCIL) is a place-based initiative which will generate, implement, and scale innovative community designed and driven ideas for a vibrant and inclusive local economy in Prince Rupert. This project will complement the City’s vision for Prince Rupert and test how an intentionally designed innovation lab will bring capacity, resources, creativity, and solutions to bear on the serious problems facing the community. Because this is about systems change at a community level, there is potential for social innovation across a number of fronts. I.e. new partnerships between entrepreneurs, the business community, and academic institutions can change resource flows in terms of capital, human resources, and authority; and collaboration between indigenous and municipal governments can change policy and create active partnerships.
The NCIL will build on learnings from the Local Economic Development (LED) Lab, an Ecotrust Canada collaboration with RADIUS SFU, place- based in Vancouver’s inner city, which was supported by the Vancouver Foundation in 2015. The theory, process and design of the NCIL is modeled on LEDLab but will scale beyond a neighbourhood level and test applicability in a municipal and northern context. As a holding place for creative collaborations, co-generating solutions, and adapting and prototyping new approaches, the Lab will play a key role in activating and actioning ideas coming forward through community engagement and visioning.