Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative Accelerator Launch Event

Author: Molly Blower

From January 20th-January 23rd 2019, MABRRI staff members and a team of Master of Community Planning (MCP) students, including myself (both a MABRRI Research Assistant and a MCP student), assisted at the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative (IHII) Accelerator Launch Event. The four day launch event took place in Parksville at the Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre. In December of 2019, 24 innovative Indigenous housing projects were invited to participate in the IHII Accelerator. During the Accelerator, Indigenous innovators will spend up to 18 months working with assigned mentors on refining ideas for their respective project. The Indigenous Steering Committee is currently working with the innovators to determine the exact level of support needed for their project based on the size, complexity and level of development of their ideas.

Firstly, the MCP students, including myself, were tasked with writing a compendium, titled: Indigenous Innovative Housing Compendium: Leadership from across Canada. The compendium, which was given to all 24 innovators at the IHII Launch Event, included 19 examples of completed innovative Indigenous housing projects from across Canada. Simultaneously, MABRRI created posters, to be displayed during the IHII Launch Event, which illustrated each of the 24 innovative Indigenous housing projects that were chosen to participate in the Accelerator.

During the four day event, MCP students and MABRRI staff assisted with numerous activities including: co-facilitation of breakout sessions, media coverage of the event, set-up and take-down activities, reception desk duties, and chaperone duties during the field day. My highlights from the event include: observing the innovators and their mentors work through various aspects of their projects together, meeting so many inspirational mentors and innovators, and the field day which ended with a dinner and celebration hosted by the Snaw-naw-as First Nation.

In my opinion, the event was hugely successful in fostering conversation and relationships among the Innovators and their mentors. I hope the momentum built from this event continues to drive success with each of the projects, and that a community of practice will provide support for each of the innovators participating in the IHII Accelerator.