How are our industrial age institutions adapting to growing demands for citizen engagement, to globalization and to rapid technological change? What is their capacity to innovate?

These are some of the questions explored at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s annual conference, held in Ottawa in November 2015, “Fail, Adapt, Innovate: Institutions for a Changing Society.” The independent and nonpartisan charity, established in 2001, encourages critical reflection and action in four areas important to Canadians: human rights and dignity, responsible citizenship, Canada’s role in the world, and people and the natural environment.

The conference agenda focused on the challenges facing local, national and global institutions and how these institutions are adapting and innovating to address these challenges.

The articles in this special feature, written by Trudeau Scholars who participated, contain their thoughtful reflections on various aspects of this important subject.