Culture

Our Values

Put People and Planet First

We are bound by one shared vision: to put people and planet first. Everything we do, every decision, exchange, system, product and offering must move us closer to impact. We are determined to make the world better.

Be Scrappy

We are a dynamic group of bootstrapping entrepreneurs who navigate chaos and embrace opportunity. We will not forget that being resourceful, nimble and humble make us who we are. We are innovators.

Together or Die

We believe in the synergies of connection, the explosive potential of partnership, and the transformative power of movements. No one can do it all. We must work together. Collaboration is in our DNA. It isn’t just nice—it’s imperative.

Keep it Real

We won’t pretend to be something we aren’t. Authenticity and transparency keep us grounded in truth. You may not like what you see, but at least you will know exactly who we are. We bring our values & vision to this work.

Make Social Change & Have Fun Doing It

We’re serious about not taking ourselves too seriously. Happiness, joy and play remind us that the process and the product both matter. Changing the world is hard work. You may as well have fun doing it.

Get to Yes

CSI is a place for solutions. We default to optimism. We will always design our work, our systems and our world to get to yes. When we have to say no, it’s because we are saying yes to our mission.

Build Healthy Cultures

Core to the human experience is a sense of belonging. We will be absolute in our pursuit of inclusivity, diversity and openness. We will often smile and sometimes even hug you if you let us. We really love each other. We all have a role in co-creating our amazing community.

Blow People’s Minds

Don’t let the blue jeans fool you. We embody excellence, experience & expertise every day. We do our homework, hone our craft and get the job done. We are both gritty and great!

It’s up to us

We believe that change happens when people decide to make a difference. We don’t sit back and wait for things to get better: we shape the world in which we live. We’re ready to lead with you!

OUR STORY

The story of the Centre for Social Innovation begins way back in 2003, when a group of visionary social entrepreneurs decided that something wasn’t working in the social mission sector. Too many organizations were working out of isolated and substandard facilities. They asked themselves some core questions: How can we improve access to office facilities? How can we lower the cost of administration and let organizations focus on their missions? How can we tear down the silos that keep organizations apart? And, how can we best catalyze social change?

Part of the answer came in the form of the Robertson Building at 215 Spadina Avenue in Toronto, which had been recently purchased by Urbanspace Property Group. With generous support from the landlord, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Harbinger Foundation, the Centre for Social Innovation Spadina opened its doors to 14 founding tenants in 5,000 sq. ft. of space in June 2004 – one of the very first coworking spaces in the world!

The model worked. It meant sharing ideas, strategies and experience. It meant collaborating, learning, growing and becoming resilient in ways never imagined in isolation. And so we grew! We now have over 2,500 members and five locations, including two buildings we bought and renovated thanks to our innovation in social finance the Community Bond.

The video below tells the story of our journey from 5,000 sq. ft. to New York City. But so much has already changed since then: we recently bought the 64,000 sq. ft. Murray Building in downtown Toronto with the help of 227 community investors and we’re expanding through our affiliates network, CSIx!

COMMUNITY ANIMATION

What starts as a group of people coming together to share workspace becomes a community through careful and deliberate animation. Community animation is the glue that holds a shared workspace together and the air that breathes vitality into the lives of everyone who moves through it. We bring our members together for work and pleasure.

Six Degrees of Social Innovation

Part social and part social experiment, Six brings together a diverse mix of people who are making our world a better place. Expect a talk or presentation + facilitated networking + the unexpected.

CSI Summits

Summits are designed to reveal the assets in our community, and spur collaboration and shared learning opportunities. They are our most intentional and successful initiative to connect members to ideas, resources, and to each other.

Salad Club

Every revolution starts in a kitchen! Salad Club is a ritual that happens every week at each CSI location where we crowdsource a communal lunch.