Making progress on tough challenges, together.

A better world is possible. But, faced with complex issues such as climate change, poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and ill-equipped to make real change.
The good news is that there is an emerging field of knowledge, methods, tools and approaches to make the shift…
· from working in isolation to working collaboratively;
· from addressing symptoms to tackling root problems;
· from dealing with single issues to changing systems, and
· from linear planning to real-time experimentation and adaptation.

SHIFT Collaborative’s 3 Main Areas of Work

Creating change is hard. We equip people with the knowledge, tools, relationships and skills they need to drive systemic change.


In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. -Eric Hoffer

HOW WE HELP: We design and deliver learning and development opportunities that support people, organizations and collaboratives to  dig deep and develop the mindsets, practices, culture, and structures that are needed to gain traction and make a difference on issues that matter.

EXAMPLES OF WHAT WE DO: Curriculum development, Workshops, Webinars, Symposiums, Communities of Practice, Organizational Capacity Building, Partnership Development and Leadership Development Training

Take your plan off the shelf and put it into action. It’s time for a new approach to create meaningful and measurable change.


Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction. -Kenichi Ohmae

HOW WE HELP: We help clarify desired impacts, and uncover strategies for breakthrough results,  supporting people to work together on a common agenda for the common goodWhether we are working with a group over a single day, a few months or even years, our approach strives to increase strategic clarity, shared commitment, alignment and understanding about how to move forward, create and track change.

EXAMPLES OF WHAT WE DO: Theory of Change, Visioning, Evaluation, Strategic Planning, Strategy Development, Collaborative Structures & Governance

Break out of the same old approaches. We work in new ways, and at multiple scales, to address systems, not symptoms.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. -R. Buckminster Fuller


There is no such thing as a failed experiment.  Only experiments with unexpected outcomes.  -R. Buckminster Fuller

HOW WE HELP: We create processes and platforms that help groups to build trusting relationships so that they can work adaptively and create breakthrough change. Drawing on the emerging field of social innovation, we support groups to more effectively take action collectively.  In a nutshell–we help you to dive deep, discover new possibilities and get unstuck, by testing out new ideas to address complex challenges.

EXAMPLES OF WHAT WE DO: Collective Impact, Social Labs, Human Centred Design, Systems Mapping, Human Systems Dynamics, Adaptive Action and Prototyping

Issues getting our attention


In the past decades, our food systems have drastically transformed. While this has led to certain benefits, it has created a whole other set of challenges. In a world of increasing uncertainty and pressures to land and water use, supporting integrated, locally responsive, sustainable food systems are essential to the well-being of people, communities and the environment.


Climate change is a defining challenge of our time. In addition to the need for wholesale transition of energy production and consumption systems, we are also beset with impacts of climate change—such as flooding, extreme heat and water shortages—that are already being felt in our communities and food systems. The gift of climate change is that we just can’t do things the way we always have, and expect a different result. It is a call to rise to the challenge of finding a new way forward, together.


In our fast-paced, digital, globalized world, there is an increasing recognition of the need for place-based connection, resourcefulness, and enhancing life at a human scale. The world is changing in unpredictable and complex ways, and building resilient communities is how we will prosper, together.


Rates of chronic disease are reaching alarming rates, and with an aging population, healthcare costs are projected to exceed our capacity to respond to the needs. We need to look upstream, addressing the root causes of health and well-being. This means addressing the whole person in the whole human and ecological community.

Our Portfolio

Three people face away from the camera and are reaching up to hold a man's legs as he balances on their shoulders to reach a bell hung high between two brick and concrete buildings.

Winnipeg Housing Solutions Lab: Supportive Solutions for Indigenous Youth Aging Out of Care, 2019

A blue sky filled with white fluffy clouds.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): Strengthening Inclusion and Participatory Practices, 2019

A group of people in a U shape in an office with abstract art on the wall. Most people are focussed on a femme presenting person in the centre of the room speaking with their hands.

ICLEI Canada, 2019 Livable Cities Forum: Building Better Communities Through Resilience, 2019

Four people standing outside on the grass holding construction paper speech boxes that are blue, bink, teal, and orange above their heads.

Island Health, Interior Health and Northern Health, Regional Health & Wellness Survey Community Engagement Plan, 2019

A red, orange, blue, and green patch work quilt.

Burnaby Association of Community Inclusion, Stitched Services Developmental Evaluation, 2018-2020

The sun sets on the North Eastern part of the interior of BC.

Fraser Basin Council Project: Northeast Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments, 2018 – 2020

Climate change
A warm orange sky with the sun rising above fluffy clouds.

Interior Health, Health Alert Response Workshop, 2019

A night view of the city with the lights and cars blurred out a little.

Living in Community, Impact & Developmental Evaluation, 2018-present

A heap of multicoloured, unsorted puzzle pieces.

Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, Strategic Learning for Social Impact, 2019

A black and white photo of a crown of people with graduation caps on. They are all facing away from the camera.

TeenWork at CanAssist: Program Evaluation, 2018-2019

The hands of two colleagues in a meeting at work. The person on the left has long gold nails. The person on the right has long green nails. The person on the left is resting her left hand on a folder with lines paper in it. They are working on a shiny wooden table.

Victoria Foundation: Convening Collaboratives Series, 2018 – Present

Pumpkins, squash, spinach, an onion, and a variety of other veggies on a blue countertop.

Island Health, Community Food Action Initiative Evaluation, 2019-2020

Uncooked pasta, a wooden spoon, a dish towel, tomatoes, and basil leaves spread out on a dark wooden table.

Christ Church Cathedral, Developmental Evaluation of Maundy Café, 2018-2019

SFU Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT), Low Carbon Resilience, Best Practices for Professionals, 2018

A table set with corn and lemon slices and a banquet of food, sits ready for dinner.

North Shore Table Matters, Collective Impact Coaching, 2017 – 2018

A small team of people hold their puzzle pieces together to see if they fit.

Making the Links: Climate Change, Community Health and Resilience, 2018

A road disappears into a field covered in brown water with trees poking out.

Fraser Health Authority, Building Healthy Communities for All in a Changing Climate: Collaborating with Municipalities on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, 2018

The Dawson Creek museum rests at the foot of the grainery.

City of Dawson Creek, Flood Mitigation Planning, 2017 – 2018

Three young people hang out around a table laughing and writing on their computers.

Well Ahead, Systems Practice Curriculum & Training for District Coaches, 2017

Vegetable basket of carrots, onions, beets and more

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Evaluation of the Community Food Action Initiative, 2018

Who we work with

We work with individuals, organizations and collaboratives whose vision includes a better world, recognizing that our current ways of working on critical social and ecological issues are not getting us where we need to go. Those we work with are ready and hungry for something different, and are willing to invest time, effort and resources in doing things differently, for the sake of having real impact.
Our work supports leaders from all sectors to come together to create, sustain and meaningfully impact change, including:
● Municipal, regional, provincial, federal and First Nations government,
● Public and philanthropic organizations,
● Businesses, and
● Civil society including community-based organizations.

What people say about working with us

Throughout Deirdre’s involvement with the committee, she provided a positive, solution-focused approach to our barriers, and this helped the committee members develop a common direction. I would recommend Deirdre for any process-related work that wishes to bring disparate viewpoints together into a single approach.”

Karen Abrahamson

Coordinator, Surrey Child and Youth Committee

Kerri Klein and Stacy Barter […] are consummate professionals offering […] creative survey design, implementation and communication of results in a collaborative, supportive and fun style. They have coordinated and facilitated challenging hands-on workshops in diverse settings with excellent results and been instrumental in filling a crucial niche with the Climate Change Health Policy Group in BC.”

Dr. Tim Takaro

Associate Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

Erica [has an] intuitive ability to keep asking questions until you get past your usual answers until new thinking and impact becomes possible. I also appreciate Erica’s vast toolkit of social innovation processes – having an experienced facilitator who can bring people together to collectively imagine new approaches to longstanding challenges is invaluable.”

Jennifer Meilleur

Coordinator, North Shore Table Matters