Nov 8, 2016 / by Nancy Cruz / In Latest News

Latest News From The Natural Capital Lab – November 2016


Following a competitive application process, we are happy to report that our inaugural cohort of Natural Capital Innovators has been selected. Hailing from a variety of disciplines including business, economics, community development and government, this group is a microcosm of the incredible diversity that characterizes the natural capital field.

The Innovators’ first priority is to convene in late November at the Natural Capital Lab’s Innovation Forum. There they will explore shared challenges, opportunities and key transition strategies to shape and align how we account for natural capital in Canada. Innovators will also guide the focus and timing of pilot projects for 2017.

A formal announcement of the Innovator cohort will be made towards the end of November, following the 2-day Innovation Forum in Toronto. The November Innovation Forum represents the first major activity for Phase 2 of the Lab (see the Phase 1 workshop summary here).

In the lead-up to the Forum, we are providing both Innovators and our broader community, the opportunity to get better acquainted with the methods and frameworks supporting the Natural Capital Lab.

First among these is the Sustainability Transition Lab (STL) methodology, a process that builds on the latest research and practice in creative collaboration. This unique framework pioneered by the Natural Step Canada has also been tested in the Energy Futures Lab and the Circular Economy Innovation Lab.

The Sustainability Transition Lab (STL) is an approach to tackling complex social and environmental challenges that no one party can address in isolation. STLs aim to tackle collective sustainability challenges in a given system by engaging diverse stakeholders with both the will to act and capacity to influence that system. The title contains the essence of the model:

We use the term sustainability because our labs focus on issues where there is a clear desire to create a sustainable future state.

We use the term transition because our challenges are about more than striking the right balance today; profound systems change is required.

We use the term lab because our process involves learning, experimentation, and breakthrough.

The purpose of a Sustainability Transition Lab is to accelerate the transition to a sustainable society by generating tangible breakthrough results that shift systems in that direction. Results may take the form of, for example, changes in public policy, resource flows, new programs and initiatives, new standards or partnerships, or game-changing new business models.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Sustainability Transition Lab method, check out the following resources below:

The Sustainability Transition Lab Process (The Natural Step Canada)

Finding Our Future, Together (Chad Park)

Backcasting: Starting With The End in Mind (Pong Leung)

Our Unfinished Backcasting Business (Chad Park)