Tag Archives: Civic engagement

Framing Four Perspectives on Mental Wellness

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DwD 11.13.13

Adapting a method we call an Innovation Town Hall, November’s Design with Dialogue explored the landscape of campus and community mental wellness, the innovation of responsive care, and the experience of health services. The session was organized as a collaboration with OCAD University’s Health and Wellness Centre as part of their service design to provide a positive, growthful experience with students and clients. Recent campus dialogues and news stories have contributed to deepening our understanding of the student experience of emotional and mental health in learning and dealing with stresses and growth. Partnering with the Wellness Centre in a community-focused DwD, students, faculty, and professionals joined to explore the experience and struggles of mental health and the enhancement of health services.

Several significant questions were introduced as starting points:

  • How can we move beyond the conventional views of mental health and learn from each other?
  • Are there innovations in community and social health that might enhance awareness and improve mental wellbeing?
  • What might we understand together to cultivate empathy and insight about the experience of emotional and mental health journeys?

A visual summary of the proceedings, live sketched by Patricia Kambitsch, illustrates the main issues that emerged from the dialogue:



The Innovation Town Hall engaged the perspectives of four committed presenters who shared about their current, personal and professional issues in mental wellness and care:

  • Canadian society, Mark Henick
  • OCAD / Institutional, Andrea Yip
  • Psychological,  Jennifer Robinson
  • Student perspective, Alicia Raimundo






 aliciaThe four speakers engaged in whole group dialogue, then moved to small groups based on their perspective, and developed contextual stories and health concepts co-created within each groups.







Inquiries by each of the four perspective groups led to unpacking of concerns and issues, including the systemic drivers and experiences in each worldview. The Psychological group, for example, identified concerns and suggested remedies found later to be very well aligned with the student experience. The inclusion of peers and education of faculty and other campus employees were found to be significant opportunities for complementing clinical services with safe, trusted caring relationships in the immediate learning context.








Group moderator Karen Oikonen presents the conclusions from  the Psychological group’s inquiry.




Session Hosts

Peter Jones
Peter is co-founder of Design with Dialogue and associate professor at OCAD University, in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation MDes program.

Andrea Yip

Andrea Yip, MPH is the Coordinator of Mental Health Initiatives at OCAD U and Ryerson University and is working to co-design a collaborative mental health strategy between both schools. Working along the intersections of art, social design and health promotion, Andrea is coordinates community-led initiatives that have human-centered impact. ayheadshot

Andrea is an advisor to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the Wellspring Centre for Innovation.  MentalHealthxDesign.com   AndreaLYip.com  Twitter: @andrealyip

SOAR Workshop: Thriving First Nations

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Our Futures Depend on Thriving First Nations

How might Canadians help create durable social change for first nations in the coming decade for education, employment, housing, justice and health equity, and spiritual connections to land?

The August 2013 DwD session was held by the “social start-up” Generation Connection to collect ideas toward an educational initiative envisioned to support the upcoming generation of First Nations and aboriginal entrepreneurs. About 25 participants engaged to co-create ideas and approaches to help realize durable social change within the coming decades. One of the intentions was to find ways in a multi-stakeholder inquiry to acknowledge First Nations and Aboriginal language and culture, and ways to support ancestral ideas and desire for self-governance, with economic sustainability.

Workshop Approach: The SOAR (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results) method is an appreciative inquiry approach that focuses on generating positive approaches and developments, from which action can be taken. A report was created (DwD Aug2013 First Nations SOAR), and is now available to participants and interested readers.















Generation Connection 

Generation Connection is a social enterprise seeking to provide entrepreneurial education and related support services in collaboration with new First Nations and Aboriginal entrepreneurs. The mission is to provide entrepreneurial education as the catalyst that will enable local entrepreneurs to develop and implement business, social, and environmental solutions to local problems.  The vision is to provide alternative pathways out of poverty through entrepreneurship, to enable entrepreneurs to resolve local social justice gaps and barriers, and to live in a just and sustainable society.

Peter Scott, BFA, MDes Candidate OCAD U

Peter is a 2nd year Strategic Foresight and Innovation MDes student at OCAD University.  His background focuses on social entrepreneurship education, including entrepreneurship certificate programs from MIT Sloan, Wharton, INSEAD and Rotman School.  For the past seven years, Peter has been the program administrator for the Small Business Program (SBP-Regent Park Program) a jointed initiative with Rotman School, U. of T. and the Regent Park Community.  His research interest includes ways to enhance learning in the classroom experience, scaling up small businesses, and systems and design thinking approaches.

Ushnish Sengupta, MBA

Ushnish has an Industrial Engineering and MBA education, experience in starting up and managing Social Enterprises, and in delivering entrepreneurship and business courses. Ushnish’s specializations include project management, strategy, and IT

Larry Sadler, MBA 

Larry Sadler is an experienced business consultant, who has served for 5 years on First Nations reserves. Larry’s specializations include strategy, governance, operations, IT management, and three decades of co-operative development experience.

What is Co-production?

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What is Co-production? How do we make it happen in our communities?

The May 2013 DwD was presented by Satsuko vanAntwerp and Lucie Stephens at the new location of The Moment.  The workshop presented the context of citizen co-creation of services at the community level.

We are the public and therefore all public services are of our making, our legacy, and our experience. However, the complex challenges the world faces right now – changing demographics, fiscal reductions, environmental collapse, growing inequality – are straining these services and pushing us to question how we act, organize and respond as citizens and communities.

Co-creation and co-production offers a new perspective that values the vital resources already present within the system – the skills and resources held by citizens and communities in and around public services. The dialogue session explored the questions of:

  • What is our role as citizens in making services more effective, efficient and sustainable?
  • What would it take to make better use of wider resources in community and see all citizens as assets?
  • How might we grow our social networks and rethink our capacity to lead change within our community?


Live sketchnotes at the event by Playthink



Lucie Stephens is the Head of Co-production in the Social Policy team at nef (the new economics foundation). Her work aims to increase the amount of co-production taking place in public services in the UK and overseas. Lucie supports people to develop their co-production practice, documents examples and develops the theory of co-production, sharing learning and auditing existing activity.  She works with people in communities, charities and third sector organisations, policy makers and people designing and delivering public services. Lucie’s publications on co-production include: The Co-production ManifestoPublic Services Inside Out and The New Wealth of Time.

Satsuko VanAntwerp is the Manager of Social Innovation at Social Innovation Generation (SiG). Her work aims to create legitimacy and structure for the nascent field of laboratories for social change and to incentivize collaboration among lab practitioners. Prior to joining SiG, Satsuko participated in a work-term on co-production with Denmark’s MindLab and assisted with the paper: Designing For Co-Production: Discovering New Business Models For Public Services. Satsuko holds an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship and is an avid blogger on social innovation and systemic change at Think Thrice.