Edmonton's Shift Lab deploys Innovative (and fun) Prototypes

Global Challenge: Social Innovation and Reconciliation

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What is Edmonton's Shift Lab?  

Over the last six years, the Edmonton Shift Lab led the design of anti-racism prototypes with a diverse collective of Edmonton community members. The group harnessed modern human-centered design thinking to develop several prototypes—everything from a fun board game to an anti-racism subscription box.  

Edmonton Shift Lab highlights why the world needs more Edmonton. The team and community came together to deliver prototypes to serve as emotional onramps to change. Many of these prototypes continue as standalone social ventures with global impact.  

We're talking about heavy negative subjects, but with these prototypes… we're offering alternative ways to start and talk about these anti-racism journeys.
– Sameer Singh Lab Design and Steward

The Edmonton Shift Lab is supported by The Edmonton Community Foundation and the Skills Society Action Lab.

Social Innovations with International Impact:

You Need This Box: The Anti-Racism Subscription Box . YouNeedThisBox.ca is a subscription service to help you learn how to talk about racism and create encouraging pathways to allyship.  

Fast facts:

  • Launched June 7,2020 with a goal of 30 boxes.  
  • After 48hrs they had reached 1,000 sign-ups.  
  • As of June 2021 the group had shipped over 3,400 boxes across the country.  

Each box contains different materials, including:

  • A land acknowledgment from Treaty 6
  • Products and artworks from BIPOC creators and businesses
  • Activities to help increase your understanding of racism in Canada
  • Prompts to reflect on how you will become an active ally in the fight against racism in your community

The Active Bystander Resource

This is a guide to encourage and empower bystanders to intervene when they see an incident of racial harassment occurring in a public place.  

  • More than 42,000 copies of this brochure have been printed and distributed to Edmontonians through Edify Magazine, MacEwan University, Norquest College, Concordia University, Remedy Café, the Alberta Human Rights Commission and other organizations.  
  • It includes real-life stories from Edmontonians who have been impacted by racism at work and in public places like parks and grocery stores.
  • It offers a flowchart and steps to take when assessing a situation and determining what to do next  

The Treaty 6 awareness game, Exploring Wahkôhtowin

Exploring Wahkôtowin [Wah-KOH-toh-win] is a board game for ages 12+ that provides historical context around Treaty 6 while teaching what it means to be a good treaty relative. The game isn't about winning, but more about collaborative gameplay and building relationships.  

Status: Shift Lab and their partners are looking for connections to produce the physical board game and partners for a possible digital version.  

The Reflection Pool App

"How can we create an interactive empathy experience that strives to reduce racist behaviour over time?". Built for HR departments, the interactive app enables your workforce to build empathy and connectivity through race-related content. The app uses drip campaigns, stories, empathy, gamification and personal reflection to help increase awareness of different types of racism.

Status: The app is at the functioning prototype stage. Shift Lab is currently looking for supporters or partners to take the app to the next stage of reality. If you or your organization are interested in Reflection Pool OR can help develop the final product, visit reflectionpool.ca.

What's next for the Shift Lab?

Shift Lab is searching for community partners to continue developing, growing and disseminating the innovative prototypes they've created to schools, workplaces and community spaces. Learn more at EdmontonShiftLab.ca.

There are so many exciting and impactful social innovations in Edmonton, and we want to continue to amplify and showcase their important work. Share other local social innovations by tagging us on social media @InnovateYEG so we can amplify and connect!

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