The Community Knowledge Exchange (CKX) Summit serves as a platform for ideas and knowledge exchange about our communities in Canada. Founded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Community Foundations of Canada, the summit offers a space to build relationships with leaders and change-makers from across Canada and internationally through thoughtful plenary and keynote sessions, as well as hands-on activities and workshops for active learning.

The MaRS Solutions Lab offered the CKX Solutions Lab for two of the three days of the summit. On the first day, we showcased our work in three stand-alone, but related workshops. On the second day, participants took a deep dive into youth employment (see our stream of work in the Future of Work and Learning). Joeri van den Steenhoven, director of the MaRS Solutions Lab, facilitated the sessions and also gave the opening keynote for the CKX Summit, titled “Some Assembly Required: Innovation for Complex Challenges.”

Joeri van den Steenhoven_CKX keynote
Joeri addressing his keynote at the Community Knowledge Exchange Conference 2014.

The CKX Solutions Lab offered attendees a chance to participate in our lab process—that is, to define, ideate and prototype in order to solve complex social and economic challenges that require systems change. The CKX Solutions Lab was a shortened version of our own process and was divided into the below three workshops:

  1. Understanding Complexity (Systems Mapping)
  2. Designing and Prototyping for Change
  3. Scaling for Change

Throughout these workshops, participants could choose to participate in one of three challenges or topic areas.

  1. Food security (co-hosted by The Stop Community Food Centre)
  2. Intensification of housing (co-hosted by Evergreen CityWorks)
  3. Youth unemployment (co-hosted by IBM and Engage Learning Systems)

Here you can access the tools the participants used during the first workshop of the CKX Solutions Lab, “Understanding Complexity (Systems Mapping).” In close collaboration with the event co-hosts, we designed and developed three journey maps and discussion guides for participants to engage with each of the challenge topics.

Similar to our work in the Future of Food, the Future of Health, the Future of Work and Learning and the Future of Government, our team developed discussion guides (shortened versions of what we call a “design brief” in the lab process) and a journey map for each of the workshops.

Discussion guides

As part of the lab process, the lab team undertakes a deep dive into the research of the challenge at hand in order to understand the problem, frame the challenge question and uncover insights within the system.

The discussion guides we used at CKX were created by the challenge co-hosts to provide a research background on the challenge area (such as going into more detail on public opinion on intensification of housing). This information was gathered by the co-hosts using insights and research from their own work, as well as relevant data from the latest “Toronto Vital Signs Report 2014” produced by the Toronto Foundation.

Food Security Discussion Guide

Download (“pdf”)

Intensification of Housing Discussion Guide

Download (“pdf”)

Youth Unemployment Discussion Guide

Download (“pdf”)

Journey maps

Together with our co-hosts from the three challenge areas and with Sean Geobey from the University of Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, we developed journey maps specific for each of the three challenges.

The journey maps we created are visual representations of different dimensions of a system. They are intended to facilitate a collaborative exercise between participants to help them see the system and guide their conversations around the barriers, opportunities and tensions in a system. That is:

  • the Food Security Journey Map allows participants to map the enablers and barriers for low-income individuals to access healthy and affordable food, and to plot the tensions in the system,
  • the Employment Journey Map allows participants to plot a young person’s journey within the employment system when he or she is looking for a job and what happens after he or she is hired,
  • and the Housing Map allows participants to map public opinions on two dimensions of housing: diversity of housing and intensification of housing.

Food Security_Journey Map

Housing_Journey Map

Youth employment_Journey Map


 Journey maps being used at the workshop:

Housing Journey Map CKX

Food Security Journey Map CKX

Design plays a fundamental role in supporting meaningful dialogue and collaboration. In the new year, we will be publishing more of the workshop tools we use in our four challenge areas. We hope they will be of interest and value to you in your work, perhaps spurring more meaningful collaboration and conversations, as in the CKX Solutions Lab. Stay tuned for our Business Model Canvas: Systems Edition; our Fast Idea Generator (based on the original design by Nesta); and our Desirability, Feasibility, Viability and Potential Impact forms; among other tools.