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

Many tiny wood houses and sheds and wooden tree models site on a grey background.

L’Arche Canada, Inclusive Housing Solutions Lab – At Home in a Neighbourhood Where I Belong, 2021 – 2023

Women work together in Victoria.

Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, Housing Solutions Lab: Supporting Women+ to Transition from Homelessness to Safe Stable Housing, 2020 – 2021

The sun has set over a Vancouver neighbourhood.

Collingwood Neighbourhood House, Scale Your Impact: Systems Change Program Developmental Evaluation, 2020 – 2021

Wood beams fit together in a jigsaw and glue.

Iisaak Olam Foundation, Indigenous Housing Solutions Lab, 2020 – 2022

An elder walks on a forest path with a small child.

BC Community Response Network, Non Violent Communication Workshop, 2020

Salmon, tomatoes, and almonds and more, sit on a granite table.

Dan’s Legacy Foundation and Sources Community Resource Society, Victoria Foundation Developmental Evaluation, 2020 – 2021

Mountains loom in the background with the Athabasca river in the foreground.

Solutionogenics, Peace Athabasca Delta Institute Governance Structure, 2020

A group of people sit together coming to a consensus.

Island Health, Physician Quality Improvement (PQI) Committee – Planning Workshop, 2020

A group of people stand in a circle and put their hands over each other.

OHWN (Oceanside Health and Wellness Network), Exploring Ways to Strengthen Impacts, June – 2019

A view of Vancouver metro.

Fraser Health Authority, HealthADAPT Climate Change and Health Engagement Process, 2020 – 2021

A child smiles and swings and plays with two adults and a soccer ball.

Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, Theory of Change and Evaluation Framework for Qwalayu House and Bear Essentials, 2020 – 2021

Colourful pieces of a strategic map.

Natural Resources Canada, Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) Committee Workshop, 2020

People sit around a table with their coffees, notepads, and computers.

Capital Regional District, Climate Change & Healthy and Safe Environments Workshop Series, 2020

A woman picks up a small child with a cargo ship in the background.

BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Climate Change Impacts on Diverse Populations in BC, 2020 – 2021

Beautiful carrots, radishes, and more, lay across an table at the outdoor garden.

Island Health Community Food Action Initiative, Evaluation of Island Food Hubs, 2019 – 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

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

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

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 – 20

A blue sky filled with white fluffy clouds.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Strengthening Inclusion and Participatory Practices, 2019 – 20

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

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