a collaboration laboratory expanding the edge of change

DESIGN & HOST :: agile collaborative processes, workshops and events for communities, organizations & social enterprises.
IGNITE SHARED VISION & ACTION :: project design, interactive research, social enterprise incubation, hosting meaningful conversations and creative events.
UNEARTH COLLECTIVE WISDOM :: support strategic solutions that meet today’s complex challenges.
HUMANIZE PLANNING STRATEGIES :: everyone has great ideas and everyone’s voice must be heard.
SOCIAL INNOVATION FACILITATORS :: that utilize tools rooted in design thinking, art of hosting, organizational planning, and authentic leadership in action.

OUR WORK : What We Do

With roots in urban planning, neighbourhood-scale development, local economies, place-making, the Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter, Appreciative Inquiry and event production – co*LAB supports idea development and community resilience not only in Halifax but throughout Atlantic Canada, Latin America and Europe. As a team and apart we have worked with the public, private, non-profit, social, educational, co-operative and many other sectors.

THE TEAM : Who We Are


Sophia Horwitz // community catalyst // innovation facilitator

Community development practitioner and social entrepreneur, Sophia has spearheaded transformation projects in Cuba, Honduras, Canada, Turkey, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Through participatory processes, Sophia engages multi-stakeholder groups around complex issues ranging from social innovation, to urban design, and sustainable development. A weaver of relationships, Sophia builds trust between disparate parties, her specialty lies in facilitation, strategic planning, and cross-cultural communication. She has completed an international trans-disciplinary Masters in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability. Her passion for a more equitable and engaged world drives her to pursue holistic projects that foster local co-action and a global systems thinking perspective.





Rachel Caroline Derrah // serial collaborator // community designer

A serial collaborator, Rachel acts on her passion: helping others act on their passion. Social entrepreneur to the core, she develops creative engagement projects from rural New Brunswick to Halifax to the UK. Using public art and public space to spark ideas, Rachel experiments, co-creates and produces large scale, multistakeholders projects such as 4 Days: Better City LAB – an “unconference” and idea-launchpad for a Better City, Better Life in Halifax.  Graduate of Dalhousie University’s Community Design program, Rachel has extended her learnings with training in the Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter from leading thinkers in Nova Scotia, Denmark and Sweden.  In addition to working with co*lab, Rachel is part of ThinkHalifax, a collective of conversation hosts, designers, and social media gurus working in public engagement to bring authentic engagement into city planning processes.  So far they have worked with the Halifax Regional Municipality to engage over 1,000 to design the new Halifax Central Library and helped the Cole Harbour Basin community in a multi-stakeholder process to surface a common vision and action projects for the Open Spaces of their region.



Gregory Woolner // social entrepreneur // planning strategist

Gregory is an entrepreneur at heart, has been a full-time professional musician and is a natural convener.  He has a passion for creating and advising organizations and social enterprises that are focused on bringing together, empowering and celebrating communities.  He combined his passion for music and social enterprise in 2009 when he co-created Team Rhythm Works, an organization that facilitated interactive team-based workshops through the experience of drumming and percussion.  This experience was brought to organizations and thousands of students across Canada. Bringing together groups to excite big energy and big ideas has become his life’s work.  Most recently he has focused on building community spaces through local food gatherings in the North End of Halifax.





Andrew Bateman // communications specialist // project designer

A number of multifaceted experiences; one inspired vision: Andrew is an action researcher using creative events, multimedia, social media, and research to enhance communication channels and collaboration between people and institutions. A goal-oriented person with strong storytelling skills and creative ideas, Andrew designed a number of powerful communication projects that span public awareness campaigns, recruitment campaigns, promotional videos, and websites. On top of that, Andrew co-founded a number of multi-stakeholder projects that hold the uncommon characteristic of achieving continued success past his involvement, including The SchoolArts Project and Brains for Change. Andrew is most recently found collaborating on education and environmental policy projects in Europe, while maintaining strong ties to his community in Halifax.




Ryan Watson // transformation strategist

Ryan works to build leadership capacity and facilitate change in organizations and communities. In addition to designing change processes and strategies, he has managed the finances and operations for a variety of projects in this field. Ryan led the Green Party of Nova Scotia through the 2009 provincial election campaign. His efforts are now focused on enhancing participatory democracy and developing sustainable local economies.