Tag Archives: Social Change

Innovative Learning in Canadian Higher Education

Written by . Filed under Think, Understand. Tagged , , . No comments.
April’s DwD was convened by an graduate student-led panel, organized by Strategic Innovation Lab and Strategic Foresight & Innovation, responding to the question:

What new ways of learning, particularly in higher education, will Canadians need to thrive in an evolving society and labour market?

The roundtable and dialogue was sponsored by Imagining Canada’s Future, the strategic development of next-generation social science for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) with the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS).

This question was one of their key Future Challenge Areas. The SFI team documented the session and prepared a report for CAGS and SSHRC. This report is now available to the public, linked here and titled Innovating Canada’s Higher Education.

Canada, like many other countries, is at a tipping point in the way its education system, especially higher education, is conceptualized, structured and delivered in light of the knowledge and skills required for the 21st century. The panel discussed and explored the following issues:

  • What knowledge, skills and delivery methods are required in order for the public education system to create an innovative, resilient and culturally rich society?
  • What aspirations and expectations will a diverse and global citizenry bring to the work environments, jobs and labour markets of the future?
  • What conditions are needed for new models of research—particularly, co‑creation of knowledge with the public, private and/or not‑for‑profit sectors—to flourish?
  • What roles will emerging and/or disruptive information and communication technologies play in learning for individuals, institutions and society?
  • What role should individuals, institutions and governments play in promoting and supporting the life cycle of knowledge—including creation, accessibility, retention and mobilization—across sectors, both domestically and internationally?
  • How can we harness Canada’s strength and innovation in the arts, digital media and cultural industries to build social, economic and cultural well‑being?

Panel and workshop photo-documented by SFI student George Wang.

Panel1

 

SFI graduate student panelists opening the first part of the event.

audience1

 

 

Table4

 

Tables were convened by graduate student panelists for each of the main questions.

Boards

 

 

Responses to each table’s question captured on standing boards.

FinalSketch

 

 

Graphical recordings by SFI students Maggie Greyson and Ana Matic during panel and in closing plenary.

The final report is now available here, and was delivered to very positive response by CAGS and SSHRC, especially for its vivid capture of the innovative process and the visual approach to communicating the results of the civic dialogue.

The convening team had suggested some related readings for members of the panel and public:

Joseph Wilson on learning: ‘People are envious of what we’re doing in education’ (or any of the Possible Canadas articles)

Democracy Hacks  was recommended as a relevant podcast.

The Governor General David Johnston has been advocating rethinking education, and this may be his legacy for Canada in 2017.

A pan-Canadian joint undergraduate degree is taking shape: Pan-Canadian University

Slow Learning, a site presenting critical visions for self-directed, community learning

 

HOSTED BY THE SFI DIALOGUE TEAM

Inessa Chapira
Christina Doyle
Maggie Greyson
Conor Holler
Goran Matic
Corey Norman
Adrienne Pacini
Sheldon Pereira
Patrick Robinson
Peter Scott
Jacqueline To
Ryan Voisin
George Wang
with faculty advisor Peter Jones

sLab+sshrc

 

 

 

Action Methods and Dramatic Expression: Finding your Role in Community Engagement

Written by . Filed under Act, Play, Think. Tagged , , , , , , . No comments.

November 2014 DwD hosted over 25 participants. After introductions, Stephen Sillett cleared the space and everyone got on their feet and we positioned ourselves on a simple Spectrogram, an highly versatile Action Sociometry method. Think of the Spectrogram as a graph on the floor, in this case, one end represented being very comfortable participating in the session and the other end representing, not at all comfortable. We were invited to stand in the position that best represented how we felt at that moment. We then starting a drama activity, with the whole group milling around the room, shifting our attention from the spaces opening up on the floor and stepping into them, to the other bodies in the room, and finally to greeting other participants as they moved around the room. We continued milling, and started to follow 2 people in the room, we then attempted to place ourselves equidistant between the 2 people we were following, then slowed down until the group came to a stable arrangement. This was a interesting activity, with shifting in dynamics. After the activity, all the participants reflected on the experience by again positioning themselves on the Spectrogram and then observing any personal or collective shifts regards comfort levels.

We next experienced some exercises from the world of physical theatre, looking at how personal and social space relates to perceptions of power, and how we interact with that in non-verbal ways. While exploring these activities, participants were asked to stay alive to the experience, and reflect on how it may relate to engaging people in community conversations.

Part 1. Shared inquiry: How can we involve people more fully in Community Dialogue?

Participants split into break-out groups, and a shared inquiry into what it might mean to bring the “whole person” into community dialogue began. The inquiry raised questions about definitions of the “whole person”. Does this refer to the physical and mental aspects of a person? What other aspects, could/should be included?

We then formed a large circle, and shared some points raised in the shared inquiry. Here are a few:

  • How cultural aspects of the person always exist during our engagement – either visibly or invisibly.
  • Values are always present at some level during our community engagement.
  • Challenges exist in online communications, as this limits how much the “whole person” can be engaged in group conversations.
  • We always marginalise certain aspects of ourselves when we engage, and this changes in different contexts.
  • A state in which the “whole person” is engaged, can never be fully attained.
  • Body scanning and meditation practice, can help bring the body into the space, and deepen engagement.

We ended this part of the session creating a Locogram, another Action Sociometry exercise (see The Living Stage for more info.). Participants engaged the exercise by reflecting on a particular situation, during which they were trying to deepen conversations. They then positioned themselves relative to a central point in the room, having done this we created body images to convey our thoughts and emotions from recounting that experience. This exercise was not unpacked, as we needed to take a break and prepare for part 2 of the session.

Summary: Part 1 of session helped participants experience:

  • Approaches that build community trust and release communication barriers.
  • Multiple perspectives regards how we engage with each other.
  •  Two simple yet powerful, Action Sociometry methods

Part 2. Strategic Action Fields

While the first part of the session worked through established methods, the 2nd involved Interactive Scenography, an innovation that Stephen and ADCID have been working on in their InFusion Lab sessions. For this part, participants were invited to take a performative journey, into a single Strategic Action Field (SAF) of their choosing. This was a personal journey, with others present and simultaneously creating their SAF at the same time. There was no external audience for this performative act, everyone was participating in the creation and exploration process. Participants created their field, explored it, and looked to discover what this may mean to them. Photo elicitation and fabric was used to help each participant to individually enter into a dialogue with the space, and generate a landscape of understanding. This was a shallow dive into what would normally be a longer, even multi-day process.

The goals for this final activity was more open. One outcome was that the activity provided an experimental insight into working with this emerging process. Another was to give a sense of ADCID’s approach to complex work across Fields of Strategic Action, and spark insights among those present. Stephen would like to thank all those who took the plunge into this activity, and appreciates all the feedback received after the session from members of the DwD community.

saf1-585x548x2

saf2-585x282x2

Background: Through his years of practice in international development and collaborating with local community-based organizations, Stephen and ADCID  have found these processes very useful. They have been used to shift the relationships and dynamics that local Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) have with marginalised populations they serve. When working on projects in Africa and Canada, Stephen finds this depth of group inquiry to be particularly relevant to long-term, capacity focussed projects..

About the Host

ssillett

Stephen Sillett is co-executive director of Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID), and helps the organization research, facilitate and direct dialogue, drama and art processes for healing and community development. Through ADCID projects and in partnership with other social actors, he is exploring approaches that engage community members in conversations, consciously orientated to maturing visions of the future. Research interests include the facilitation of non-verbal and spatial meaning-making practices within group workshop and the creation of interactive performance. He directs InFusion Labs where theatre artists, therapists, scientists and social practitioners explore spatial approaches to exploration and discovery.

ADCID’s community-driven approach, has evolved over 10 years in rural South Africa through:

  • Peer Influence workshops in Schools across Ingwavuma, South Africa – supported by Health Canada
  • Water and Sanitation project in rural South Africa supported by Oxfam Australia . Large-Group community dialogue and reflective Inquiry process using Socio-Drama Topography.

ADCID has also been focussing on 2 areas of engagement with communities in Canada.

  • CrossGEN: Connecting across Age and Culture. Connecting newcomers with long-term residents to form networks that can inform service provision and innovate ways to deepen interactions in our public spaces. Supported by Ontario Trillium Foundation.
  • Imagining Possibilities a project with communities with communication and complex physical disabilities to participate in a community arts journey and engage with others through story creation and performance. Supported by Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.

Playing to Change the World: The Oasis Game

Written by . Filed under Learn, Play. Tagged , , . 1 Comment.

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

 

donaopen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

funpalace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

ABOUT THE HOST

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.

 

SOAR Workshop: Thriving First Nations

Written by . Filed under Act. Tagged , , , . No comments.

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.

SOARhealth

 

 

 

 

 

SOARsketch2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

Written by . Filed under Learn, Think. Tagged , , . No comments.

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?

coproduce1

Live sketchnotes at the event by Playthink

coproduce-2

ABOUT THE HOSTS

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.