Why  Innovation?

Innovation is something new that makes something better. It is the development and implementation of a value-added service or product.

We need innovation because...

The world is rapidly evolving

There is demand on public institutions to do more for less

Calgarians’ needs are changing

Services and policies need to be designed for people

What we do?

The Short Version: We support the city to build and sustain innovation.

What is The Lab Space?

Just off the City Hall main floor atrium there is space covered in name tags, sticky notes, and reference material to encourage exploration and imagination. It is a place to discover new ideas without barriers.

What is Design Thinking?

A human-centered approach to innovation that prioritizes the needs of people, along with business requirements, to design modern government services. This methodology has been used successfully to design services in companies like Google and governments around the world.

Our 3 strategic areas

We concentrate our work in three strategic areas:

  • Consulting

    The Innovation Lab leads project teams through complex challenges by using innovation tools and methodologies, design research and data synthesis.

  • Professional learning

    The Innovation Lab leads professional learning opportunities to strengthen skills in collaboration, design, and innovation.

  • Innovation network

    The Innovation Lab accelerates innovation at The City by designing opportunities to connect staff, projects, and citizen groups.

Case studies

Beltline, Inglewood, and Ramsay Social & Recreational Needs

In support of Community Services as part of a larger program, the Innovation Lab led a cross-corporate team to deeply understand the social and recreational needs of Beltline, Inglewood and Ramsay residents. The gathered empathetic insights from five streams of synthesized data enabled the project to move beyond the binary “pools or no pools” discussion that generated viable options to provide value for Calgarians now and into the future.  This work received a national award  for its innovative approach.

National recognition for this work:

2021 IAP2 Core Values Honorable Mention for Project Category Creativity, Contribution and Innovation in the Field

Community Involvement

Cross-Corporate Collaboration

Solving a Complex Problem

Mayor’s Innovation Challenge

Led by the Mayor’s Office, the Innovation Lab accelerated discussions with key stakeholders in the Calgary innovation ecosystem to explore an innovation challenge to support Calgary’s economic transition and recovery.

The challenge “How might we advance innovative energy solutions on the path to net zero emissions in order to achieve economic, social and environmental resilience?” was developed in 1 month from initial engagement.

Winners in three streams (Commercial Ready, Pre-Commercial, and City Policy & Planning) were announced in Fall 2021, with on-going work with relevant City areas.


Project Acceleration

Economic Opportunities


Community Involvement


Other ways to connect with The City

Looking for other ways to interact with The City of Calgary? Check out these other initiatives.