Project Blue Thumb Social Lab

Project Blue Thumb logo

How can we work together to maintain and improve water quality?

Introducing Project Blue Thumb: Action on Water Quality Issues, Alberta’s first social innovation lab dedicated to addressing water issues.

Recognizing that watersheds are complex systems – with a range of individuals and groups having different needs – Project Blue Thumb brings together a diverse (and growing) team of people to design, test, and iterate solutions to water quality challenges.


Project Blue Thumb is led by the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance and the Alberta Ecotrust Foundation, with support from pioneers of the social lab approach, Reos Partners. The lab team includes approximately 30 committed individuals from government, industry, the non-profit sector, academia, and the public.

Labs are a useful approach for working on complex issues in changing times, and are designed to be creative, collaborative, and systems-based. The key idea is that we can work smarter and faster if we pool our efforts.

Since launching in Spring 2015, the lab team continues to meet regularly and is actively working on a range of initiatives aimed at improving watershed management and water quality. Through a focus on “learning by doing”, the lab team is already implementing aspects of Blueprint: An Integrated Watershed Management Plan for the Red Deer River Watershed, while simultaneously helping to advance new and innovative ideas.


This hybrid approach to watershed management seeks to get the better of two worlds: a focused plan, supported by strong relationships across the watershed, and ongoing, flexible implementation.

A website with more information about Project Blue Thumb will launch in Spring 2016 so please stay tuned as more information about the lab and active prototypes is released.


For more information, please contact the RDRWA - josee.methot (at)







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