We are an Indigenous innovation platform.  Our goal is to empower Indigenous innovators and communities to identify and solve their own challenges, transforming lives and driving inclusive growth and health through social innovation.

Indigenous Ways of Knowing

Created and led by Indigenous leaders, the Indigenous Innovation Initiative is built on a foundation of Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and is deeply rooted in Indigenous values.

Our team is visionary, solutions focused, and has a solid foundation of Indigenous values. Our commitment is exemplified by working closely with our Indigenous Innovation Council whom will provide guidance, leadership, and insight on all aspects of our work.


Indigenous Innovation Council members:

  • Jeff Cyr, Raven Indigenous Capital Partners (Chair)

  • Wendy Phillips, Elder, Queen’s University

  • Nadine St. Louis, Les Productions Feux Sacrés / Sacred Fire Productions

  • Max FineDay, Canadian Roots Exchange


Justice Murray Sinclair: “Innovation isn’t always about creating new things.  Innovation sometimes involves looking back to our old ways and bringing them forward to this new situation.” — 2015 Indigenous Innovation Summit

We believe given the proper resources, Indigenous innovators will use their knowledge and tenacity to continue to find opportunities and apply our wisdom to solving the challenges in areas such as mental health, housing, economic development, and youth employment.

The Indigenous Innovation Initiative aims to remedy resource gaps and assist in building innovation capacity for Indigenous innovators.

The Indigenous Innovation Initiative is hosted by Grand Challenges Canada, and is informed by their eight years of experience and the wisdom of supporting 1000+ innovations in more than 90 countries.

We are the platform to build Indigenous innovation capacity, launch Indigenous innovations, and transition innovations to scale to benefit all Canadians.

Collaboration & Consensus Building

The Indigenous Innovation Initiative uses a collaborative and consensus building approach, to identify the most pressing or important challenges — what we call a Grand Challenge — in identified priority areas. By asking our Indigenous community leaders, scholars, and those with lived experiences to identify what they think are the top challenges, we will begin the journey of finding creative ways to find solutions.

Each information gathering approach we undertake, will include face-to-face meetings and, through a process of continuous feedback and refinement over the course of 8 to 12 months, will build consensus on the top challenges in a priority area. These challenges will, in turn, create the basis for a call for proposals from Indigenous innovators, whom have bold ideas with big impact on the health and well-being of Indigenous communities.

Our first consultation process, supported by Johnson & Johnson, is focused on Indigenous Mental Health. The findings from this consultation will be communicated in late 2019.

  • Photo: Indigenous students
    The foundation of collaboration is education.
  • Photo: Indigenous students
    Collaboration is key to innovation.


The Indigenous Innovation Initiative acknowledges the support of the Department of Women and Gender Equality, McConnell Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, and RBC Future Launch.  We are grateful to work together to catalyze Indigenous innovation.

  • Johnson & Johnson logo

We want to hear from you

Are you interested in becoming engaged with the Indigenous Innovation Initiative?

The Indigenous Innovation Initiative continues to seek connections and strategic relationships with funders, the private sector, and Indigenous innovators that will help identify, promote, and scale up groundbreaking solutions that will support Indigenous people to develop their own solutions to improve lives and solve their own challenges.

Get in touch with us by using this form, and we’ll be sure to add you to our mailing list!