What We Do
IAM operates with the mandate of ensuring that societies become more conducive places to live, recover and thrive in for all people, even more so for those impacted by a mental health issue.
IAM is a bold effort to stimulate a culture of innovation in mental health, influence public discourse about mental health and wellbeing, and build on existing research.
Focusing on applying practical solutions and making them easily available to the public, IAM occupies a unique position within the mental health sector by offering niche market solutions that directly improve people’s lives.
IAM works with partners in the corporate, research and health sectors to co-design creative solutions supporting those impacted by mental illness, tackling and often helping to identify gaps in mental health supports currently available in our communities.
How We Do It
What we are creating through IAM is a highly collaborative entity comprised of three key components:
Service Delivery Innovation
IAM Innovation Platform
IAM is a unique space for mental health innovation in Canada. Taking a human centered approach to solving today’s problems, IAM is dedicated to supporting those with lived experience in mental health across a wide spectrum of needs. We call this Service Delivery Innovation. IAM puts people in the driver’s seat, inviting them to be co-designers alongside innovators. In this way, IAM positions people who need support and solutions as the drivers of our work.
The innovation platform will offer innovators a path from concept (Incubation) to adoption (Acceleration, Futures Lab), while also creating the conditions and environment for diverse collaboration with people, communities, investors and leaders (Partnership Ecosystem) to help solutions thrive. Throughout everything, we will always optimize learning opportunities, from our successes and failures equally (Learning Network), and rely on digital resources to facilitate our collaborative needs. We will be leaders in endorsing a culture of innovation and authentic partnership — all while consistently measuring and evaluating the trajectory of our work (Evaluation, R&D). All of these elements set the stage for building scalable and sustainable solutions to help ‘redesign society for better mental health’.
Our Innovation Platform includes four key functions:
Mental Health Incubator
The Incubator will be a designated space for innovators to access a suite of supports and evolve their new or existing early stage mental health idea — a nucleus for discovery, ideation, iteration and testing through to scalable prototypes. It is also a space where teams are invited to problem solve. To carry out this work, IAM will rely on gold-standard human centered design and people-driven evidence. We believe in ‘baking the bread well’, building solutions in the right environment with diverse partners. Whether we do or don’t scale, the incubator will be a place of learning.
A major output of the platform will be what we learn through innovating and active research. Without the Knowledge Network, lessons learned from mental health innovation continue to be experienced in silos, not changing the bigger picture. We will normalize mental health literacy, build best practices, and pivot from perceived roadblocks. The network will also keep a finger on the pulse or trends of mental health, but will also prioritize R&D to break down assumptions in our work.
Now is the time to build a body of knowledge, resources, and standards around social R&D. As we move more into a knowledge-based economy, the specialization we harness in our field and how this gets folded back into innovations, will be part of our value proposition.
The ecosystem convenes critical thinkers and leaders in both innovation and mental health, investors, foundations, philanthropists, community organizations, corporations, government, the public and unusual players – it becomes the ‘coral reef’ for supporting our innovation needs. Over the last year, IAM has been wholly focused on building the ecosystem, amassing a roster of approximately 150 mental health partners and innovators.
A culture of mental health innovation means re-imagining who our problem-solvers are. What we need to start with is those who benefit – the ‘end users’ where we build and implement solutions locally — not in hospitals but within the society we live in.
The Innovation Platform will think proactively about mental illness through a Futures Lab. We are looking at existing wellness challenges that have permeated societies for years to now nurture some foresight: how will mental health unfold over the coming decades? Future work is a growing practice that gives us the tools to mitigate risk. We can observe in hindsight today the decisions we made years ago and the implications of those, like deinstitutionalization. IAM sees future-forward work as critical to its organizational thinking.
In the lab we will look not only at the future of mental health, but the growing gulf between solution availability and adoption. We will also look at sustainability and capital, today more inclusive of our civics, commons and public goods, as well as social capital, social impact bonds and investment.