Monthly Archives: January 2016

Co-Creating Civic Proposals for Systemic Change

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How might we move or collective thinking and action beyond single-issue social action?

Does it make sense to build our urban worlds and future societies by winning one political issue at a time?

Can we design civic business models for our cities and society?

In February’s Design with Dialogue we workshopped our framework for co-creating civic design proposals with a group of 35 citybuilders, ranging from youth activists to City of Toronto people to architects and SFI students.

A significant design challenge of our time is anticipating the relationships of multiple environmental and social problems as a complex system of nonlinear relationships. However, we cannot think about, model or discuss the relationships well, especially in the heat of discussion with deliberative groups and decision making processes. We need not only better engagement and dialogue processes for citizen deliberative problem solving, we require relevant tools.All social services, determinants of health, and economics are complex and interrelated. So why do we expect any political body or activist group to get it right? Only meaningfully diverse, multi-stakeholder groups can envision the variety of interests and outcomes in complex social systems.

With the OCADU Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group and with Strategic Foresight & Innovation students we designed a relevant framework from the common language of business model tools, adapted for civic decision models for flourishing cities and settlements.

The Flourishing Cities framework adapts a design tool for strongly sustainable business models as a visual organizer for engaging stakeholders in co-creating normative  operational guidance for civic groups, community planners, and local governments. Flourishing can be understood as “to live within an optimal range of human functioning, one that connotes goodness, generativity, growth, and resilience,” or as John Ehrenfeld states it:

“Flourishing is the possibility that human and other life will flourish on this planet forever.”

This visual model enables a participatory mapping of propositions, values, and preferences that might yield significantly better group decisions for sociocultural and ecological development and governance in any planning engagement. Participants developed working models in 30-40 minute studio sessions, and presented compelling narratives for issues in:

Climate Change Action and Citizen Motivation

ClimateChange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Equity

FlComms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affordable Housing

AffHousing2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Placemaking for Well-Being

Placemaking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An additional table developed a model for Textile Waste Recovery.

 

The Flourishing Business Canvas is shown below, the basis for the Flourishing Cities model adapted in the workshop.

Unlike the Flourishing Business Canvas, the “Cities” canvas has not been employed in actual practice yet. This is a proposed concept, developed from extended research and is presented as a model for further inquiry and evaluation.

Presentation and references from DwD Flourishing Societies Framework.

 

The Possibility of Creating Community

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What’s the potential for Design with Dialogue as a true Community of Inquiry? How could we all co-create this together this year?

The first DwD of 2016 was convened by Peter Jones (dialogue) and Patricia Kambitsch (visual), held with a group of 20 new and continuing participants drawn to the shared inquiry into the possibility of community. The session was guided by several questions about the meaning of and stake in community.

The dialogue opened with acknowledgement and mapping of the communities we participate in, as shown in the sketched map, people placed notes in the spaces for Business, Religion, Regional, Neighborhood, Health & Fitness, Arts, Civic, Academic, and new communities such as “Value” and “Place”. Discussion in the circle revealed the differences in views of community and the level of engagement that counts to be considered a “community.”

CommunityMap.smThe dialogue dived into the meaning of the Design with Dialogue community to its ongoing stakeholders. DwD has evolved from 2008 to today into a deeply connected, ongoing Community of Practice for learning and facilitating with tools for social and organizational transformation. Our central question for the evening was essentially, who are we a community and why are we? Do we only support and engage with these communities outside of DwD, or is there a centre of life and practice here, a community that continues in its own purpose, even if undeclared by most of us?

What’s the potential for Design with Dialogue as a true Community of Inquiry? 

A visual mapping of the dialogue was sketched live during the conversation, as people responded to the question of community as:

PlayMuralJan16-sm

 

  • Place for the power of dialogue
  • Bringing groups (stakeholders) in to DwD to dialogue on an issue
  • Finding meaning in discourse
  • Seeds for new stories
  • Getting unstuck, and “dialogue as therapy”
  • Listening beyond these walls
  • Developing a common language and different perspectives

The group inquiry process adapted Peter Block’s six conversations on community.Variations of the questions asked each particpants to inquire and share their experience with:

  • What’s your story? What’s your commitment to the group or its purpose?
  • What gift do you bring? How do you lead or form the community?
  • What have you been unwilling to commit to?
  • What refusal have you withheld in your community?

These expressions were shared in the whole group and mapped (to the right) in the mural.

The final process developed a core set of responsibilities that lend group wisdom toward the DwD 2016 plan for co-creation and community engagement.

Together we the potential to engage and influence thinking and action in the crucial concerns of our time. Given this potential, how might we most effectively contribute to the civic issues and policy thinking in our larger communities?

Floorsketch

DwDPossibility

 

DWD – The Evolution of a Learning Community

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The seventh year of Design with Dialogue has led to the recognition of our opportunity to convene a series that uniquely mobilizes dialogue as a dynamic community process for social purpose and transformative learning. Several overarching themes evolved from our year-end discussions:

  • To connect the main DwD series with issues and themes to increase their impact and reach
  • To integrate across the 4 DwD communities, to hold events in DwD, Unify and Systems and Visual Thinkers that reinforce and continue common themes via the different practices of each
  • To promote DwD as a learning and development opportunity for grad student leadership
  • Co-produce DwD events with single-sponsor or civic community leaders
  • To explore new venues and partnerships that might connect the DwD learning model to other communities of practice in the GTA and elsewhere

CONTRIBUTIONS from the Retreat  

  • Beginner’s Workshops – Learn convening skills with mentors and develop community of practice in training
  • Integration of Practices – Connect learning and methods from across the four communities
  • Issue-based Dialogues – Civic and global issues, e.g. terrorism, sustainable economy, foreign policy, finance capitalism, educational reform
  • Indigenous movements, Decolonization and post-globalization (JRS or other special guests)
  • Stakeholder driven sessions – Formation of DwD “innovation circles” for specific stakeholder groups
  • Citizen engagement within communities – Affirmative outreach to engaged citizens and groups for specific sessions
  • Connected series of sessions – Connecting sessions across themes & DwD communities of practice.
  • More Community in CoP – Convene spaces for real conviviality
  • Methods and Themes “matrixed” together
  • Action-oriented – Actionable outcomes and follow-up from DwD engagements
  • DwD + OCADU, MaRS, Ontario, Interchange,
  • Spinoff practices from DwD sessions
  • Experimentation – Taking previous sessions and going deeper
  • Connecting communities within each month
  • Partner on community based projects with partners

DwD and Strategic Foresight and Innovation

  • Engage SFI Students directly as session leaders and co-creators
  • Student workshops – Convene training-oriented sessions for SFI students within DwD platform
  • Develop an OCADU SFI “ladder” of facilitation training
  • Engage Foresight program – Hold “Future of” workshops
  • A “Methods taster” – What could this prepare people for?
  • Invite more leading practitioners
  • Policy design and civic innovation
  • New entrepreneurial and business-oriented sessions

We would love to hear from the DwD community, online (remember the DwD LinkedIn group) and in person.