The Citizen Action Lab


Collective of citizen action lab explorers generating new citizenship and community connection possibilities

Citizenship is at the heart of what we do

Citizen Action Lab

Citizen Action Lab_logo blue-02Skills Society is continuously finding ways to foster relevant creativity in our day-to-day work in order to achieve better quality outcomes for the individuals we serve. Developed over 10 years into its current form, the Citizen Action Lab is a think tank for discovering innovative ways to connect people with disabilities to meaningful citizenship roles and employment opportunities in community. The Citizen Action Lab is a process that helps unlock creativity in Community Support Workers so they can strengthen their approaches to supporting people with disabilities to uncover and connect with all the things that make life great.

Using disciplined creative processes of social innovation labs such as Human Centered Design Thinking, 8 trained stewards can go into community with their mobile pop up lab kits or use the Action Lab space, to help foster ideas and action that lead to better quality of life for people with disabilities. Through this process Skills Society helps foster a culture of creativity, and helps people we serve strengthen a sense of belonging and find new ways to contribute their unique abilities in community.

Achievements to date

  • Researched and Developed a collaborative creative process, made an instructional video, toolkit and built a team of citizen action lab stewards who can facilitate Citizen Action Labs for people and teams that need some help thinking out side the box.
  • Our Social Innovation Lab process and results in inclusive Citizenship experiences was featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review magazine for being an exemplary social innovation that is improving the lives of people with disabilities
  • Many of the citizenship stories featured on the Project Citizenship website emerged from Citizen Action Lab think tanks
  • The Citizen Action Lab guide book for facilitators  published on the Apple iBooks store – and in Action Lab Guide Book in PDF format


Project Objectives
  • Determine better ways to support people with disabilities as full citizens in community
  • Help people with disabilities offer their interests and gifts in the community
  • Uncover opportunities for people with disabilities to develop small businesses
  • Connect people with disabilities to employment opportunities
  • Host a 40 small and large Citizen Action Labs annually, helping support workers “think outside the box” and develop creative ways to support the people they serve
  •  People with disabilities are experiencing participatory citizenship, improved quality of life and enhanced community involvement
  • People with disabilities are adding their unique gifts to the fabric of our community
  • Skills Society staff are finding new and innovative ways to support the people they work with in a person-centered context, making that support much more meaningful
  • Many of the citizenship stories featured on the Project Citizenship website emerged from Citizen Action Lab think tanks
  • Over the past 4 years 55 people with disabilities in Edmonton have experienced new jobs or meaningful engaged citizenship opportunities or have developed small businesses
How you can support this project

Skills Society has strong values around developing creative processes that enable staff to come up with better ideas and actions that support the citizenship and quality of life for people with disabilities. The Citizen Action Labs demonstrate our commitment to these values, encouraging innovative thinking, problem solving and individualized support programs. The Labs are funded entirely through the generosity of individual donors, corporations and foundations.

Your investment in this innovative, award winning project will ensure continued evolution of support for citizens with disabilities, allowing them greater participation in the community resulting in a richer, more diverse community for all.

Funds raised support:

  • Additional Citizen Action Labs as required to meet the unique challenges of individuals with disabilities
  • Continuous learning for staff of Skills Society as well as other agencies and individuals working with people with disabilities

For more information on how you can support the Citizen Action Lab please contact:

Skills Society Edmonton
203 Parkington Plaza
10408 – 124 Street
Edmonton, AB, Canada
T5N 1R5

Phone: (780) 496-9686 ext. 227
Fax: (780) 482-6395

Charitable Registration # 107984403 RR0001



Ben Weinlick

Senior Leader of Research and Social Innovation