our philosophy

We believe that we live in an integrated world; all of our actions, policies, processes and structures are connected, even when they don’t behave like they are.

We are all connected, as are the economic, social, ecological and cultural contexts that surround us, empower us, impede us, and at times seemingly defeat us.

We believe that we “designed” the situation we are in -- whether market failure, social inequality, racism, climate change, to name a few -- but we also have the power to “design“ our way out of these challenges. In so doing, we can achieve the sustainable outcomes we need, we want and we deserve. We can shape the world around us with intention, shared understanding and common purpose.

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We can shape the world around us with intention.

We believe in applying new, human-centric, deliberative design-based approaches and methods, grounded in evidence. And through convening, collaborating, analysis and design in open, experimental, physical and virtual spaces known as “collaboratories” 1, we can improve problem understanding and solving. This approach – social development by design -- has the potential to produce outcomes that are innovative, sustainable, and even systems-tipping, when ultimately implemented.

We believe our communities must embrace sustainability by integrating all four dimensions – economic, social, environmental and cultural – in their day-to-day business and decisions. CCSD is ideally positioned to build and fortify the connections and collaborations that will bring about creative innovations to address pressing issues that require change and lifestyle transitions. Since social innovation is inherently collaborative, such deliberatively designed collaboration will ultimately build a stronger and more resilient society.

Through a national network of physical and virtual design collaboratories, we will build resiliency, more vital communities, and ultimately a stronger and more caring nation.

1. Although there are many definitions for a collaboratory, we define it as a new, networked, organizational form that integrates social processes; research, collaboration techniques, formal and informal communication; agreement on norms, principles, values and rules and spans both virtual and place, a centre without walls (adapted from Cogbum, 2003 and Wulf, 1989). Collaboration, besides being inherent to social innovation, is also central to interdisciplinary research and the implementation of sustainability.


Canada's Social Development Convenors


Phone: 613-236-8977

Kanata, ON

P.O. Box 13713 K2K 1X6

Copyright © 2017. Canadian Council on Social Development.  All rights reserved.
Charitable Number: #119218923RR0001