Marc Langlois –
“You can’t stay an introvert very long. It’s very collegial”
Making Connections, Trying out Ideas and Fueling Passions for Change
Knowing it would be the only thing to get him out of his attic office, Marc Langlois moved his startup, Twelve Canada, to Innovation Works in downtown London. It’s offered the grassroots organization a new space to grow, make connections and get involved on projects it otherwise wouldn’t have.
As a hands-on educator, action researcher and social entrepreneur, Langlois appreciates how Innovation Works allows for easy access to new conversations to try out fresh ideas.
“It’s helped us do that and meet some people we might not have worked with, might not have even met prior. As a result, what we’re up to mixes with someone else’s up-to. And the new solution is stronger,” says Langlois.
He describes Twelve Canada, which launched 14 months ago, as “very much about innovation.” The organization cultivates and supports young people in new project coordination roles. They research 12 particular practices to help coordinators facilitate change, and the coordinators in turn support project’s creating a learning culture for impact. Langlois notes that “something magical happens” when young people take on leadership roles in organizations looking to make an impact on their communities.
The advancement and experimenting mentality of Innovation Works is one similar to his own. He says staff in the building offers his team and him genuine relationships and heartfelt opportunities to connect with suitable partners. They arrange co-tenant events with real intent, like a speed dating networking event that lead to useful introductions, which is important to Twelve Canada. The organization was also invited to bid on an evaluation project with Pillar Nonprofit, Innovation Works’ parent organization.
“It’s very much about trying to fan passions, and encouragng] people to let free what intrinsically motivates them, which is to hang out with other people, to work with other people, to create beautiful solutions.”
Langlois loves the friendly vibe at Innovation Works.
“You can’t stay an introvert very long. It’s very collegial,” he says.
With an office of their own, his team can focus in its own corner, but the open layout and shared space allows break times to become easy avenues to chat with people in unrelated fields. They use the space’s board rooms, meeting spaces, and white boards along with the closed-door office they rent in one corner. He’s noticed his own professional vantage point and networks expand.
“There’s too much working in isolation… but [Innovation Works] breaks that isolation so you have an opportunity to feel supported and work with some peers that are trying to create some of the same kind of change you are and that’s been really important.”