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Here, you'll discover a rich tapestry of our recent endeavours, spanning from cutting-edge housing labs to engaging community-building tours. Join us on a journey through innovation and collaboration, where each project showcases our commitment to shaping a better tomorrow.

Hogans Alley Housing Lab

Hogans Alley Project

Hogans Alley

Hogan's Alley, a vibrant Black community in Vancouver, was demolished in 1967 due to discriminatory government policies and urban renewal efforts, displacing residents and businesses. This action reflects systemic racism, with adverse consequences felt for generations. In response, the Hogan's Alley Society is committed to rectifying this situation by providing housing solutions for the Hogan's Alley intersection. Utilizing human-centered design thinking, we've narrowed down solutions and developed a roadmap to achieve them, aiming to address the historical injustices and rebuild the community.



Our Approach

We employ a human-centred design approach, navigating through empathetic phases of research, ideation, prototyping, and testing. Inclusive co-design sessions with the community, guided community walk tours, and collaborations with key stakeholders such as the City of Vancouver and the Canadian Mortgage Housing Committee have been integral. Through these engagements, solutions were gathered, refined, and filtered to ensure they authentically address the needs of Hogan's Alley



As a result of this two-year project, we have produced five knowledge products: a problem brief, problem statement &  scope, a research report, a development phase report, a prototyping report, and a roadmap report. The final roadmap report represents a comprehensive plan for the Hogan's Alley Society to implement solutions derived from our collaborative efforts and engagements. We engaged over 250+ participants across the lab and shared findings with 1000+ attendees via conferences and webinars. 

Community Engagement Gallery

Builin Innovaton Capacity

Building Innovation Capacity

At Wood Buffalo, we are dedicated to fostering community-driven change, we support and empower grassroots initiatives and organizations like the Success With Age Guidance (SWAG) Project and the Alberta Black Stakeholders for Social Economic Collaborative to drive positive change in our community's economic landscape.

Capacity Building

Fostering Partnerships

Community Building

Building Capacity With Strategic Impact 

Sucess With Age And Guidance 

Success with Age and Guidance (SWAG) is a youth-led grassroots organization focused on building community and youth engagement in the Peel Region to uplift them for success. The organization promotes individual success, community development, adult-youth relationships, and civic engagement. They want to recognize the assets in youth so they may utilize their talents, skills, and strengths to feel empowered, be successful, and reach their full potential. They offer 13 programs that include positive adult mentorship. WBSG provided a strategic plan that SWAG could utilize to hit the ground running. Our in-depth approach and various methodologies were used to gain a greater understanding of SWAG’s goals to serve the needs of their diverse program participants.


Wood Buffalo Strategy Group provided a strategic plan that the organization could utilize to hit the ground running. Our in-depth approach and various methodologies were used to gain a greater understanding of the organizations' goals to serve the needs of their diverse program participants and foster social impact.

Enivromental scan

We conducted surveys with the staff and program participants, as well as completed interviews with key stakeholders and community partner organizations. Our 10-year report compiled their organizational history and program stats into one report and equipped prospective funders with the knowledge of the impact they can have when working with Success with Age and Guidance.


Wood Buffalo Strategy Group worked closely with the organizations staff throughout the development of the 10-year review report and strategic plan through facilitated capability-building workshops. Together, we established three main objectives and ten actionable goals. 


Our assistance with business development support, including mapping out their pathway as a social enterprise, assisted the organization to secure additional funding. We provided coaching for client staff to further envision their future. We are connectors. We introduced client staff to other relevant organizations and opportunities in the ecosystem.

Social Innovation Lab Drives Change

Rethinking Programming & Approaches

Erin Mills Youth Centre seeks to address systematic change and to directly alleviate the effects of racism, poverty, and other social barriers while promoting public health to youth in their community. Wood Buffalo Strategy Group collaborated with the EMYC staff and Executive Director while conducting the social innovation lab and during the creation of maps and tools. As a result, we were able to complete a strategic rebranding while prototyping development tools. EMYC’s commitment to embodying an anti-oppressive and anti-Black racism lens aligns with our values and the way we approach our work at Wood Buffalo Strategy Group. 


With our assistance, the Erin Mills Youth Centre was able to effectively move their programming from in-person to virtual, thereby successfully pivoting their services throughout the pandemic. As they gained a deeper understanding of their program participants, they were able to focus on high-impact program and business development, and therefore how to appeal to funders. 

Our collaborative design thinking process and staff training enabled the Erin Mill Youth Centre team to be more aligned with funder and community outcomes. As a result, they were able to secure $400,000 in funding. 



Reimagining Communities 

Strategic Planning

Business  Planning

Environmental Scan

Design Thinking Equips Local Community for Systems Change

The SDX30: Rural Communities & Design Thinking event was a virtual presentation by SDX province-wide to explore how rural stakeholders used design thinking to build capacity and solve complex social challenges in their communities. Prior to our collaboration, there was a lack of commitment and a core working group to move these ideas forward. The economic downturn and COVID-19 pandemic complicated matters further by forcing nonprofit organizations to adapt or get lost in the shuffle. 

Design Thinking



Reimagining Communities 

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In response, we facilitated leadership training across local organizations in the community. There were several ‘Innovative Sprint’ sessions to equip agencies with design tools and the opportunity to test their new ideas. We worked with the Clearwater Regional Family & Community Support Services to explain how partnerships between the Mountain Rose Women’s Shelter, the Lord’s Food Bank, Caroline Playschool Society, Asokewin Friendship Centre, McMan Youth, Family & Community Services Association, the Rock Youth Drop-in Centre, and the local government. This collaboration enabled them to use innovation and collaborative leadership to create positive change in the community.

The Rocky Mountain House and local nonprofit organizations are now utilizing socially innovative frameworks and collective impact to better help the community they serve, thanks to our design solutions and regional partnerships. We are continuing our efforts to facilitate future workshops and continue the developments with the newly formed steering committee.  

Fostering Collaborative Leadership and Innovation in Changemakers 









Tools & Resources

A Collaborative Leadership Steering Committee was established in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta to address big social challenges and how local agencies may work together to help move the needle on change. Wood Buffalo Strategy Group (WBSG) was enlisted to facilitate three workshops for over thirty key leaders and stakeholders in the community. The training built the confidence of the group as they learned about strategizing, design thinking, prototyping, and testing ideas. 

Fifty people were trained in the region and identified four key projects for the community to champion, fostering a culture of innovation within Central Alberta.In our evaluations, participants reported that as a result of the Collaborative Leadership Community Capacity Training, their organization has developed better working relationships with other agencies. We look forward to facilitating future training on a biannual basis. 

Irvine Carvery Canada Tour 2024 




Irvine Cavery, a pillar of his community for over five decades, is the esteemed President of the Africville Genealogy Society. He has dedicated himself to preserving history and fostering connection. With a passion for storytelling, Irvine has taken his message on tour, captivating audiences in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton, speaking on topics such as housing, housing displacement, community wellness index, social justice, and systems change.

Irvinve Carrvery Tour

Speaking Engagements 

Through speaking engagements with leaders and industry, we aim to build capacity and spread innovative approaches and knowlegde to diverse audiences.

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Unleashing Potential: A Black Entrepreneurship Summit in Calgary

At this summit organized by the Africa Centre, we engaged an audience of over 120 + individuals in a workshop centered on mapping Alberta's innovation ecosystem. Guiding the participants, we collectively identified vital support systems for Black businesses while refining essential skills in innovation development.

Unlocking Municipal Innovation

We worked with the City of Red Deer to engage over 50 stakeholders, including non-profit representatives and community leaders. We focused on enhancing skill sets and boosting organizational capacity, aiming to empower participants in better supporting their respective organizations.

Black Canadian Women In Action 

At the BCW Business Expo, we presented on innovation and technology, offering practical strategies customized to empower small and medium-sized enterprises. These strategies aim to foster sustainable growth through the effective implementation of innovation and technology.

If you’d like to learn more about what we do, let's talk.

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