New report on R&D in Canada’s social impact sector highlights Saint Elizabeth’s groundbreaking pract

A new report launched today showcasing Canadian not-for-profit, charitable, B Corp and social enterprise organizations engaged in research and development (R&D) activities that better deliver products and services that change lives. Saint Elizabeth, a leading national health care provider, is highlighted for its inspiring R&D practices.

Canada’s social impact sector has built strong capacities, capabilities and standards in volunteer management, donor stewardship, and program delivery, among other things. Along with an appreciation and celebration of these competencies, there is increasing consensus that problem-solving in the 21st century requires an additional strong capacity and capability in research and development, or R&D. Just as R&D in the business world drives new or improved products and services, R&D can also help social mission organizations achieve new or improved outcomes in long-term quality of life for Canadians.

Authored by Vinod Rajasekaran, with a Foreword by Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, UK’s innovation foundation, ‘Getting to Moonshot: Inspiring R&D practices in Canada’s social impact sector’ highlights 50 compelling R&D practices from 14 organizations across Canada.

One of the inspiring practices featured in the report is Saint Elizabeth’s unique ‘hope and happiness’ showcase, a 2,000 sq.ft. open innovation space that is accessible to the public and the team. This fluid and functional space showcases Saint Elizabeth’s rich history, staff stories, and innovation milestones. It also serves as an open collaboration and lab space where rapid prototyping and ideation can occur.

“R&D is no longer only for the business world and this report is helping to shift our assumptions. Now there is early evidence, such as Saint Elizabeth that demonstrates that organizations with strong capabilities in R&D are making significant and rapid advancements in the well-being of people they serve. It is time to invest in a more robust infrastructure to support social impact R&D in Canada,” says Vinod Rajasekaran, author and Fellow with Social Innovation Generation (SiG).

Incubated by SiG and seeded by The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, the report illustrates that pursuing R&D helps organizations minimize costs in program growth, track improvements and learning more effectively, and ultimately deliver better outcomes for and with the people they serve.

“As a social enterprise, we work on innovative solutions to tough problems,” says Shirlee Sharkey, CEO of Saint Elizabeth. “You need to stay curious and create the culture for innovation to take hold. This report is a great example of how we can create a bigger impact by learning, sharing and working together.”

R&D in Canada’s social sector is fast-emerging as a movement and a discipline, championed by a number of organizations, including: Open North, MaRS, Community Foundations of Canada, among many others. SiG invites organizations to join this movement to enact the report’s call to action from the sector to boost the capacity, capability, infrastructure and capital for pursuing frontline R&D.

For more information
Geraldine Cahill
Manager, Programs and Partnerships
Social Innovation Generation
Tel: 647-260-7844
Cell: 416-566-5313

Madonna Gallo
Head of Public Voice
Saint Elizabeth
Tel: 905-968-6430

About Social Innovation Generation (SiG) SiG advances the concepts and tools of social innovation, social finance, social entrepreneurship, social labs and cross-sector partnership building to accelerate Canada’s ability to solve complex problems. SiG engages partners across all sectors to create a culture of continuous social innovation.

About Saint Elizabeth
Saint Elizabeth is a national health care provider that has been opening the door to new possibilities and care experiences for more than a century. Recognized as Canada’s largest social enterprise, we employ 8,000 people and visit 18,000 clients every day. With Elizz, our breakthrough brand dedicated to all things caregiving, we are bringing fresh thinking, exceptional services and positive change to caregivers nationally. Through the Saint Elizabeth Research Centre, our Health Career Colleges and the Saint Elizabeth Foundation, we are helping to make the future of health care brighter and stronger. Learn more at or find us on social media.

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