Tag Archives: Dialogue in Action

Playing to Change the World: The Oasis Game

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How can we play to change the world? How can we, in the process, help a collective socio-cultural, environmental and economic dream materialize?

Returning from Warriors Without Weapons – a 32-days intensive leadership training program in Brasil, Dona Geagea shared the philosophy and magic behind The Oasis Game.

The Oasis is a game and, today, a movement that is emerging out of Brasil, based on the Elos Philosophy that practices 7 disciplines: Gaze, Affection, Dream, Care, Miracle, Celebration, and Re-evolution.

A transformative process that begins with the self and extends to community, the Oasis is designed on the premise that our world is full of “deserts”- areas where social and environmental vitality have been destroyed- and where change can offer hope, stability, and refuge for weary travelers crossing the desert. How can this game open space for personal and collective transformation, effectively, quickly and with the engagement of all players?

Thirty brave souls found us for this session to put their beings into The Oasis Game and experience its underlying philosophy first hand through storytelling and activities to practice the seven disciplines.

Warrior Gaze

Learn more at: Warriors without Weapons

Warrior Circle“On the warrior’s path, it is up to you to discern which threads have been woven by divine hands and which have been woven by human hands.  When you begin to discern the difference, you become a Txucarramae- a warrior without weapons… When you discover what you have been doing with your life and how it is you dance through the world, little by little you let go of your weapons, those creations made to kill creations. Suddenly, you discover that when we stop creating enemies, we extinguish the need for weapons” – Kaka Wera, Guerreiros Sem Armas











Dona opening the circle after bringing all participants in, one by one.










Everyone plays together for 10 minutes, creating a totally new environment in Lambert Lounge .


Dona Geagea is Hub Manager with Waterlution Canada and social entrepreneur behind Beyond the Jar.  As a facilitator and change-maker, Dona pushes her own creativity and innovation through what she offers to the community, and her experience in the Warriors Without Weapons international leadership training program was part of this spectacular and transformative learning journey. With a Master in Globalization Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Water Without Borders from the United Nations University (Institute for Water, Environment and Health), Dona is continuously engaging the water community in multi-stakeholder dialogue, locally and internationally, and hosting inspiring spaces to encourage systems-thinking. Through developing her own capacity at promoting creative disruption, she hopes to motivate others by the power of innovative ideas to change the water space and beyond.  She is thrilled to be able to share with the Design with Dialogue community stories and processes from her transformative journey in Warriors Without Weapons/ Guerreiros Sem Armas.



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Citizens as Co-creators of Community Services

The Citizen Engagement to Empowerment workshop was held in Berlin, Saturday Nov 24 4:00 – 7:00 as the inaugural event at the new co-working hub d.collective.
Peter collaborated with Agoras Institute associate Heiner Benking and d.collective facilitator Johannes Milke to facilitate a workshop based on the recent Toronto DwD held a week before. About 30 people (Potsdam d.school students and recent grads), and others from the design community attended and fanned out into several small groups to develop community service concepts.
The primary question was that of “For a community in which you participate, what service could members invent or radically improve? ”

After a brief overview of dialogic design and DwD, the workshop followed the same 4 stages – two visual recorders worked together to create a single composition of the evening’s dialogues:

Dialogue 1: “What are the some stories from here or around the world of community-led local services?”


Dialogue 2: Possibilities   “For your neighbourhood, what service could community members invent or radically improve? ”

Idea Selection

Dialogue 3: Idea Design     For your idea:

  • What personal or community need does this service address?
  • How might this service involve the community to deliver maximum value?
  • What, tools, resources or incentives would community members need to help them initiate and implement this service?
  • What support could government provide to kickstart or sustain this service?

Dialogue 4: Design Harvest

Every dialogue was captured in pictorial detail by the fantastic volunteer recorders.
Each table started with an open brainstorm around their idea and the first of 4 questions.
The “Party Payback” team bodystormed their presentation on the idea of paying their neighbours an incentive gift to allow their flat parties (a pay-it-forward bribe to not call the police!)
The Berlin d.collective crew were great to work with, and we have started discussions about continuing with design dialogue exchange as their design community space grows and takes shape over the next year. Gratitude and thanks to Heiner, Eva and Johannes (shown here), and Lukas, Laura, and all the d.collective members.

From Engagement to Empowerment

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Citizens as Co-creators of Community Services

New forms of community initiative are emerging as people take charge of social services once expected of government.
What are the opportunities arising in the increasing distance between community needs and what governments can provide? How might we design and organize to befriend this trend?

Governments as we know them are transforming, budgets and infrastructures are tapped out while citizens demand more than agencies can support. Social contracts are breaking down across North America as governments go broke, outsource and privatize. Citizens will need to organize to compensate and get their community needs met. 
How will we close the gap between what governments can provide and the social services that vibrant citizens and communities require? We can learn from the many small-scale community-led projects around the world where people are leading the way – to make, plant, harvest, heal, build, and teach collectively. At some point these collective actions become organized services that serve more needs across the community. 
What tools or infrastructure can governments provide to empower citizens to take leadership of the services they need? What role can citizens play in improving the services we use? What community-led initiatives are emerging in our dense urban enclaves? How might this practice unfold in Ontario or Toronto? 
About 27 people participated in the session, convened as a series of dialogues from an opening circle to small group idea design sessions. Thanks to Patricia Kambitsch of playthink again for the visual reflection, sketched live during the whole group dialogues.

Five sets of proposals were generated by the small groups, each with a sketch or scenario mapped to the following questions:
  1.     What personal or community need does this service address?
  2.     How might this service involve the community to deliver maximum value at minimum cost?
  3.     What, tools, resources or incentives would community members need to help them initiate and implement this service?
  4.     What support could government provide to kickstart or sustain this service?
The five concepts generated by the groups were cooperative service led by community participants:
  1. Community skill library exchange
  2. Senior citizen buddy system (a kind of circle of care concept)
  3. The community wiki garden (This one is actually happening now)
  4. Community time bank
  5. Incentives for community participation

Related News:

Canada Economic Growth Won’t Match Demand For Services
Anti-austerity protests in Spain and Portugal
City of Toronto Workers Destroy Free Community Food Garden Amid Growing Food Crisis


Friends of Dufferin Grove Park
Transition Toronto
The Circle Movement
Yellow Springs Community Solutions
Ezio Manzini on Creative Communities


Peter Jones is a professor in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation MDes program at OCAD University and senior fellow of the Strategic Innovation Lab. Peter is founder of Redesign, a strategic innovation research company. Redesign conducts ethnographic and design research to guide innovations for professional practice, clinical and healthcare services, and information work. His research explores emerging social and service practices in publishing, science, and healthcare – his Rosenfeld Media book on healthcare service design, Design for Care is expected early 2013. Peter blogs at Design Dialogues and tweets @redesign.

Greg Judelman is a co-founder of Design with Dialogue and is a facilitator, designer and innovation consultant based in Toronto. Through his firm The Moment, he works with the conceptualization and facilitation of collaborative design workshops and innovation processes for organizational and community transformation. From 2006-2011 he was a senior designer at the globally recognized Bruce Mau Design, where he led creative teams on identity, web, experience and strategy projects for clients ranging from not-for-profits to universities to public associations to multinational corporations.

Authentic Leadership in Action

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The ALIA (Authentic Leadership In Action) Institute, based in Halifax, gathers a global network of systems-change agents for programs that explore how we can act as more powerful leaders in our communities and organizations. ALIA’s approach integrates experiential skill-building with mindfulness, creative process, and dialogue.

The recent annual Summer Institute, held in Columbus, Ohio, was well attended by DwD community members. July’s DwD session engaged about 20 participants with Greg Judelman, Patricia Kambitsch, Mark Kuznicki and others that attended revealing their learnings and insights. The structure and inquiry of the evening was inspired by processes from ALIA,  a movement exercise and reflection into our own deeper capacity to lead positive change.

The July DwD led to a voluntary continuation of dialogue at Sin and Redemption. It appears that our goal of re-creating the ALA experience was achieved – since the DwD, we’ve had numerous reflections on the core idea of vulnerability as authentic risk in leadership.

In his Attention Surplus podcasts, Sean Howard discussed his insights into the practice of attending to vulnerability explored in this DwD. Being vulnerable in leadership, listening, and engagement with others was a core notion from ALIA.  Highly recommended –

Enabling Cross-Cultural Dialogue

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DwD and the Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation (C2D2) hosted Karen Mock and Raja Khouri, co-founders of the Canadian Arab-Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group. The June 2011 session was held in cooperation with the Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation, with joint participation between our groups.


The session engaged the challenges of the Canadian Arab-Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group by an inquiry into their goals, community development, and future. About 20 participants workshopped strategies in small group sessions, with Patricia Kambitsch and Elsa Lam capturing proceedings in visual reflection.

         Photo by Pamela Purves

Issues directly related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were not addressed. The session was organized for the benefit of the Arab-Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group to have impact locally and in their larger mission to draw attention to alternatives for peacemaking.


Karen MockDr. Karen Mock (Ph.D., C. Psych.) is an educational psychologist who has been the Executive Director and CEO of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and was  National Director of the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada, as well as Executive Director of the League’s Human Rights Education and Training Centre.

Dr. Mock has conducted research and published widely on multiculturalism, anti-racism, human rights and diversity, and has received many awards and honours for her work. Dr. Mock chaired the National Advisory Committee to the Secretary of State and Canadian Secretariat for the UN World Conference Against Racism, and was on the Canadian delegation in Durban South Africa.

She chaired the Hate Crimes Community Working Group for the Attorney General, and served as Senior Policy Advisor on Diversity and Equity to the Minister of Education for the development and delivery of Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy.

Raja KhouriRaja Khouri is an international consultant in organizational development and capacity building, focusing on civil society and human rights work.  He is a commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, advocacy co-chair of Human Rights Watch Canada, and co-founder of the Canadian Arab-Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group.

Raja formerly served on various government and civil society bodies, such as Ontario’s Hate Crimes Community Working Group, the Minister of Education’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy Roundtable, Pride Toronto Community Advisory Panel, and the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs.  He also served as president of the Canadian Arab Federation in the period following the events of 9/11. Raja has chaired conferences, given and moderated lectures, given numerous media interviews, and published commentaries in journals and major Canadian dailies.

C2D2The Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation(C2D2) is a community of individuals and organizations dedicated to the creation and sustainability of vibrant communities, businesses, governments, not for profits and learning institutions through the good practice of dialogue, deliberation, collaborative action and decision-making processes.