Tag Archives: Personal Transformation

Dating by Design

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Dating by Design

Navigating the complexities of modern relationships

We spend a lot of time perfecting our craft at work – striving for that 10,000 hours. But when was the last time you spent dedicated time on getting better at relationships? Perhaps because designers are often tasked with solving “wicked”, complex problems, the language of design provides many useful metaphors for exploring the complexities of modern relationships. By using design as a language to talk about dating and relationships, the conversation becomes more objective, and less subjective (aka less awkward).

DwD hosted Ayla Newhouse to present a design charette (a short, intensive and collaborative design exercise) for relationships, to apply the creativity and processes of design to dating and relationships. Participants were matched up into small groups to design their way out of (or into) fictional relational and dating situations.

dating sketchThanks to Aimee @ISEEAIMEE for the live sketching.

Hosting the session:

Ayla Newhouse is a Communication, Interaction and “Attraction” Designer with 16 years of relationship experience ranging from misalignment to creative brilliance. She is the creator of Dating by Design, and the author of “the ABC’s of Dating by Design” (datingbydesign.ca). Ayla also offers one-on-one and couples Dating by Design consulting.  Follow her at @aisforayla

Previously, Ayla co-founded 1thingapp.com: a social gratitude journal that helps people recognize the good things in their lives. A graduate of the Communication Design program at the Emily Carr Institute and the Interdisciplinary Design program at the Institute without Boundaries, Ayla worked with Normative Design and Bruce Mau Design before starting her own design/coaching practice in 2011.

Facing our Future Challenges with Authentic Hope: The Work that Reconnects

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The Work that Reconnects was an evening of dialogue and experiential exercises based on teachings and practices developed over the last 40 years by eco-philosopher Joanna Macy and colleagues. The workshop offered an inspiring context for action and   participation in the Great Turning toward a life-sustaining society and world.

Joanna spoke June 21st to a sold-out audience at OISE, on her new book Active Hope – How to Face the Mess We’re In Without Going Crazy. This special DwD workshop followed Joanna’s recent talks and workshops in Canada for a Toronto community experience of The Work that Reconnects.

The Work that Reconnects

Following the Spiral of the Work that Reconnects, as developed by Joanna Macy, PhD, we journeyed into gratitude and joy in being alive, through honouring our pain for the world, to seeing with new eyes and finally going forth.

Three Stories of our Times: participants were invited to consider narratives by which we understand the times we are living in and what is possible now for life on Earth.

Business as Usual: Industrial Growth Society must and can continue; it is a wonderful success story involving continuous human progress and growth in economic prosperity spreading around the world. Getting ahead is what matters, and the problems of the world are seen as far off and irrelevant to our personal lives.

The Great Unravelling: The destructive consequences of the business-as-usual mode. Life-sustaining systems of Earth and of human communities are in serious decline, as seen in economic instability and inequity, resource depletion, climate disruption, peak oil, social division and war, and mass extinction of species.

The Great Turning toward a life-sustaining society committed to the recovery of our world.

This turning is manifested in three dimensions: 1) holding actions that slow the damage being done by business-as-usual and protect ecological and social systems; 2) alternative or Gaian structures, the creative redesign of practices and societal structures in fields from education and healthcare to housing and justice; and 3) a shift in consciousness that deepens our sense of connectedness and collective identity and inspires us to consider the inner frontier of change and also to take action in the world.

Reflections: How do you see each of these stories unfolding around you in these times?

Which do you want to get behind?

The group process called Meet the Ancestors allowed participants to step outside of time and meet imaginatively as people of the present day and people of the future.

Our Guest Presenters

SALLY LUDWIG M.A., M.Sc. works towards transforming relationships as a therapist with individuals, couples, families and groups. She is a co-founder of Transition Guelph, part of the international movement to build community resilience in a changing world.

NATALIE ZEND M.A., CTDP is a training and facilitation consultant with 14 years’ experience in international development and human rights. She is a co-founder of Unify Toronto, and offers the Awakening the Dreamer symposium, compassionate communication, and other social technologies in her local community.

The process and reflection was live sketched by Patricia Kambitsch of Playthink.


Passion in Action: What is your Calling?

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Vanessa Judelman of Mosaic People Development hosted the April 2012 DwD.


Everyone has a life purpose. It is the reason we are on this planet. It is the thing we are meant to accomplish, the gift we are meant to bring.

The session explored:

  • What a fulfilling life would look like
  • Core values and how they guide more fulfillment in life and life’s work
  • What might be stopping people from realizing potential
  • Bringing more passion and purpose into life

Download the session exercise handout.


Vanessa Judelman is president of Mosaic People Development. a company that develops great leaders and builds collaborative teams. She has 15 years of experience as a facilitator, trainer and certified coach. In her coaching practice, she is passionate about helping others to find their purpose and enjoy a truly fulfilling life.

She is noted as an expert in her industry and has been published and quoted in The Globe and Mail and the National Post.  Her clients include Torstar Digital, Blakes LLP, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, United Nations, Motorola and Ovarian Cancer Canada.

DwD April 2012

Opening circle conversation "What would a fulfilling life be like for you?"

Breakout group in conversation


Wheel of Life (handout exercise)

Designing a Future for our Future: Personal Foresight

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Get ready for The Multiplicity.

This workshop engaged participants to co-create multiple personal futures in large and small group collaboration. This social design experiment in personal foresight generated the creation of possible personal scenarios for the challenging next-future term possibilities. We started by creating a personal profile for the Low Tech Social Network. Communities listed on the profiles were shared in the closing circle to co-create a living network among the participants.

An amazing array of participants were involved, suggesting that DwD is reaching beyond its business + creatives + designerly roots. More and more people from dedicated social change communities are engaged and returning. While businesses can benefit from and afford these creative group processes, social change agents need to learn from each other. A community across communities is forming.

The event was framed by the question of considering the multiple futures we have choice to create. When we think of the future, we tend to push a vague collection of dreams, possibilities and wishes out to a speculative point in the years following the nearest term. We can guess about the world in two years, we can plan for 5 years, but 10 and 20 years challenge personal vision. Our concept was to confront the future opportunities for humanity, by learning to position our own inherent multiplicities as creative narratives to counter a technologically-determined future, whether a career ideal or the “singularity.”

The venue supported the creation of a circle and pairs for the exercises:

  • Values conflicts at the Crossroads
  • 3 Whys of 3 Values: Core values, Calling values, Contra values
  • Mapping Values to Actions
  • Mapping Value-Actions to future possibilities in the Pathway template

The workshop was convened by Peter Jones and Patricia Kambitsch (visual reflection) at The Design Exchange  Feb 24th in the DX boardroom as part of the Toronto Design Week Design Offsite Festival.


Designing a ‘Whealthy’ Life

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How can I gain confidence that the choices I make will allow me to thrive? What implications do my choices have for myself and my community?

In October’s DwD, Eric Rosenberg shared how concepts from financial asset management might craft a broader ‘human portfolio’. We investigated the principles and practices of ‘value investing’ and its connections to wealth and well-being. Participants examined their inventory of existing prosperity tools recognize ‘expenditures’ for which they’re taking responsibility, and began creating a ‘choice architecture’ designed to realize a Life Well Spent.

About the host

Eric Rosenberg is a nature-inspired city guy with strong curiosities and big talent for turning what he learns and how he sees it into forms and content that engage us. He has a post-industrial sensibility, meaning his inclinations are toward a small-scale, grassroots way of life, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Eric has degrees in finance, fine art, and education, which feed his passion to voice and gather people around the idea of developing their own human portfolio that serves as a foundation from which they design a life of their own choosing – a life well spent. Learn more about Eric’s own developing portfolio at healthymoney.ca.