What is a Community Innovation Lab?

The Community Innovation Lab (CIL) explores, applies and examines innovations associated with local, national, and international communities. It is part of an emerging multidisciplinary national and international innovative network - The Community Innovation Consortium - comprised of public and private academic institutions, community members and community-based organizations.

Our Mission

Members of the lab seek to cultivate, apply and reflect on scholarly innovations associated with community learning and development within communities of place, interest and practice.

Guiding Practice

The CIL is designed to be a collaborative space where ideas and initiatives are generated, supported and challenged in a collegiate and respectful manner. Within the lab, participants develop personally and professionally as co-researchers, co-learners and co-educators. We believe principles of good practice are pivotal for CIL team members and affiliates when collaborating with diverse communities. Therefore, we ascribe to the following practices:

  • Empirical, Action, and Participatory Research - CIL affiliates collaborate with communities of place, practice and interest to cultivate, apply and evaluate cutting edge community practices.
  • Critical Practice - CIL affiliates implement skills associated with listening and respect, power analysis, community deliberation, public facilitation and cultural sensitivity in both practice and reflection.
  • Reflection - CIL affiliates engage in reflective processes regarding success, failures, and lessons learned.
  • Knowledge Sharing - CIL affiliates share conceptual models, theoretical frameworks, best practices, and lessons learned with each other and the communities with whom we engage.
  • Education and Outreach - CIL affiliates promote educational venues and programming highlight community innovations and lessons learned in order to strengthen communities and add to the greater body of knowledge.