Our Services

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NORDIK Institute brings years of knowledge and practical experience to your unique situation to help you get the impact you’re seeking faster. Interested in finding out more? Get a free consultation today.

Strategic Planning & Facilitation

NORDIK supports community development by working with organizations, enterprises, and local governments to support strategic planning and to facilitate discussions and dialogue on challenging issues. A strategic plan helps you define your goal or vision and develop a plan to achieve it; helps with daily decision-making; and with allocating human and financial resources effectively. Facilitation services can help group decision making by providing a disinterested party to guide the process or point to new ways of exploring ideas and solutions.

Community-Based Research

Research can be the key that unlocks new ideas for action on complex social issues. In community-based research, we work with your community or organization to make a research plan that responds to your needs and engage with you to address your issues with a team of researchers drawn primarily from the faculty and staff of Algoma University, often in collaboration with members of the requesting community or organization. The research process is designed with the community, and the community owns and controls the research outcomes.

Community Engagement

NORDIK has engaged with the diversity of communities across Northern Ontario – First Nations, francophones, urban Indigenous, cities, small towns, farming communities – since its inception. The Institute has learned a great deal about engaging community members in research, dialogue, analysis and reflection on their community’s strengths, needs, gaps and solutions. In the process, we’ve learned a lot about ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to participate, and in making space for those voices which are often overlooked in community development processes.

Evaluation

Every organization wants to be the best that it can be, and program evaluations are a method of supporting ongoing improvement. NORDIK takes a strengths-based approach and actively seeks out ‘what’s working’ to identify the program’s successes and how they can be leveraged to improve the organization’s overall performance. This provides guiding principles for strengthening other aspects of program delivery that can be improved. NORDIK works with organizational staff to identify the cultural values guiding the organization, and integrates these throughout the evaluation.

Training & Skills Development

NORDIK provides training in various research methods: Collective Impact, Program Evaluation, Community Engagement and Strategic Planning; Logic Models; focus groups and interview processes. To date, we have trained over 400 students, community members and professionals in research and development skills and created Toolkits in strategic planning and community engagement.

Social Innovation

Is your organization or community struggling with deep-rooted social problems that just don’t seem to go away? Social innovation is about developing new approaches to pernicious social problems, and is characterised by: the capacity to address social needs that traditional policy seems increasingly unable to tackle; the empowerment of groups and individuals; and the willingness to change social relations. NORDIK staff will assist you in approaching the problem from new directions; exploring the role that technology or the arts might play in developing new strategic approaches; or tackling issues using new paradigms.

Community Economic Development

CED is sometimes called ‘development from the inside-out’ because it is action rooted in local knowledge and led by community members. CED is an approach that recognizes that economic, environmental, cultural, and social challenges are interdependent, complex and ever-changing. CED promotes holistic approaches, addressing individual, community and regional levels, recognizing that these levels are interconnected. NORDIK has worked with a number of communities, including Indigenous governments, in designing CED strategies and approaches that support greater community and regional autonomy in both economic and social development.
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Promoting more vibrant, caring and sustainable communities through research, dialogue, analysis and reflection dedicated to the practice of holistic community development.

Frequently Asked Questions

NORDIK has two primary areas of focus: i) Regional development in rural, smaller urban, Northern communities; and, ii) Indigenous communities. It has completed over 80 research projects within the economic, social, environmental and cultural sectors since its incorporation in 2006, primarily in Northern Ontario, although a few of the initiatives have spanned provincial and international boundaries.

Its research foci include: community resilience, sustainability, transportation infrastructure, food security, agri-innovation, social economy, social innovation, cultural development, health and welfare, habitat stewardship collective impact and social return on investment.

Based in Northern Ontario with a team of researchers drawn primarily from the North, NORDIK is uniquely situated to provide high-quality research that addresses the complexity of Northern, rural, smaller and Indigenous communities. A team of highly qualified personnel is drawn together to meet the specific need of each initiative. Faculty members from Algoma University and other institutions are recruited to serve as research leads, researchers and project advisory committee members. Working with diverse communities across the region, NORDIK’s engagement in regional development brings uncommon insight and experience to its research product, making the work both innovative and practical.

NORDIK is a community development and research institute that takes direction from communities regarding the research being conducted in those communities. NORDIK’s research is designed to meet community needs, or pairs local and academic interests, and is conducted in partnership with the communities it concerns. Community partners include municipalities, non-profits, cooperatives, and Indigenous communities.

Whenever possible and wherever applicable, NORDIK contracts individuals as Community Based Researchers from within communities where NORDIK is conducting research for the purpose of increasing local research capacity as well a providing essential localized perspectives to research projects. Partners’ members are frequently directly engaged in the research through interviews, focus groups, community consultations, and open houses.

NORDIK attempts to keep its community partners apprised of research dissemination activities such as conferences, workshops and seminars; welcomes them to become member of the organization; and, attempts to build collaborative networks of partners sharing mutual interests and goals.