Client Case: Rainforest Alberta

growing Innovation Culture across Alberta, Canada

PROFILE

  • Since September, 2016, stakeholders across Alberta, from Calgary to Edmonton, have engaged in Rainforest Strategies (RFS) programming, to learn and deploy the “Rainforest” framework and the Rainforest Scorecard assessment tool.
  • What has emerged is Rainforest Alberta (RainforestAB), which has self-organized around RFS and other approaches to aid the region in growing economic development, and  diversifying with complements to the historically dominant industries. The process has engaged thousands of Albertans and measurably improved the innovation culture of the province.

OUTCOMES to date            

Catalyzed by six 1-day Immersion events in the spring and fall since September 2016, in both Calgary and Edmonton, Rainforest Alberta has numerous tangible and intangible outcomes:

  • Over 1000 regional stakeholders signed and committed to a strong Social Contract.   This contract serves as the centerpiece for meetings in the region, and as a public declaration of alignment and commitment. .
  • Rainforest Scorecard surveys taken by nearly 300 individuals show rising scores. For trends, observations, and recommendations see Alberta RF Scorecard Report 2016-18 (version 6/20/18).
  • Every week in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, there are "Lunch Without Lunch" meetups where RainforestAB participants convene to collaborate, network, and move various initiatives forward. Over 100 meetups have been run to date.
  • www.rainforestab.ca was launched including invitation to endorse their new Social Contract and a video describing what Rainforest means in Alberta. Search #RainforestAB.
  • Improved relations between entrepreneur support organizations led to the Calgary Innovation Coalition and other new groups.
  • Innovation improvement initiatives including opening facilities such as Nucleus Calgary to support ecosystem activities.
  • Requests for Rainforest Strategies services, speaking engagements, and assessments from organizations outside the economic development sphere (universities and private sector).  
  • Albertan organizational development consultants, business consultants, and online learning platform developers are engaging to capture the emerging market in Alberta related to improving Rainforest Scorecard assessment results and related entrepreneurism. 

PARTICIPANTS & PROCESS

  • Since the effort launched in mid-2016, over hundreds leaders from government, industry, academia, various economic development agencies, and incubators/accelerators, and even more entrepreneurs have participated. 
  • Six “Rainforest Immersion” events have been conducted in Banff, Calgary, and Edmonton, drawing from the whole province.  
  • With a focus on what innovation “is and isn’t,” participants engaged in discussions about untapped opportunities in the region, and barriers to developing them.
  • An in-depth introduction to the Rainforest conceptual framework, and its relevancy to Alberta, has been presented.
  • Participants plotted individual and group Rainforest Scorecard results, identifying strategic issues and improvement opportunities. Statistical analysis of the consolidated scores for each of the six assessment domains revealed strengths and weaknesses, cohesiveness and diversity. Semi-annual reassessments reveal trends.
  • Facilitated breakout sessions were used to analyze strategic issues uncovered by the assessment and develop action plans to address them.
  • Narrative structure and elements supporting the innovation ecosystem have begun to be mapped and addressed.

PROJECT TEAM

PRODUCTS

  • Rainforest Principles: educational keynote address on innovation culture
  • A “social contract” to capture participants’ intent and commitment to Alberta’s unique expression of the values that will generate a robust innovation ecosystem.
  • Rainforest Scorecard short-form assessment and synthesis of the area’s innovation culture. Data was visualized using the Rainforest Radar and bar charts.
  • Comprehensive event summaries including the group’s Rainforest Scorecard assessment results.

WHAT NEXT? 

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