Tag Archives: Social Innovation

Designing Group Dynamics through Movement

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From Terri Chan’s recent blog post on the Social Presencing Theatre workshop:

In this post, we will explore ideas of presence and movement to further dialogue from only words, and the immense power that they bring to groups in building trust and synergy. I was at an event last week exploring Social Presence Theatre with Toronto-based Design with Dialogue (DwD), a monthly event to co-educate community design practices.

July’s DwD featured Patricia Kambitsch from Playthink and Heidi Madsen from Ohio AIDS Coalition (both of them wear many hats, as all creative people do). Our group was lucky enough to also have had the guidance of Penny Williamson from Centre for Courage & Renewal and John Hopkins University. Throughout the night, we were guided along a series of activities that incrementally built on one another – and we were encouraged to use minimal words and more gestures and movement to convey how we envision our future to look like. We all made our own small gesture to convey our vision and shared it first with our partner and then to the entire group, and this marked the beginning of utilizing presence, awareness, and body language as powerful tools of communication.

They say 80% of what is communicated is nonverbal, but we are so hyper-aware of our bodies (the very reason why the Dove campaign is so successful) that I wonder… what are we communicating with our bodies?

Read much more at Designing Group Dynamics through Movement

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.

What is the True Nature of Partnership?

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March’s DwD session was hosted by Mary Pickering of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund.

What is the true nature of “partnership”?

 Funders want it, social innovation demands it and professionals now “broker” it. With the rising clamor to establish partnerships within and across organizations to get people working together more effectively, the time has come to reflect on what a partnership really means in the social change context.
At this dialogue session we explored these questions:
  • What defines a true partnership?
  • Is there partnership potential in every working relationship?
  • When should – and shouldn’t – we create partnerships to advance our causes?
  • How might a partnership impact an initiative?
  • What are the key principles for making, managing – and breaking up – working partnerships?
Mary Pickering Mary Pickering has been with Toronto Atmospheric Fund since 2004, serving as VP Programs and Partnerships. Previously she worked for six years for World Wildlife Fund Canada as a major gift fundraiser. Her work with TAF focuses on incubating collaborations focused on local greenhouse gas reduction strategies. Mary has led TAF’s work on Solar Neighbourhoods, ClimateSpark, MOVE the GTHA, and the Collaboration on Home Energy Efficiency in Ontario (CHEERIO). She is currently undertaking Level 2 accreditation with the Partnership Brokers Association and is very interested in your experiences and views on creating effective partnerships.

Business Model Innovation for Social Entrepreneurship

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How can social organizations thrive in a post-funding society?

A special innovation circle session was held with Maya Roy and the Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto.  Through turbulent economic times, Maya and staff leadership grew a team of committed members and made the organization a successful NGO for helping new families settle into Toronto. With impending budget cuts, they are faced with an immediate need to change their business model from a publicly supported service to a social entrepreneurial model.

York University’s Antony Upward presented the “Strongly Sustainable” Business Model Canvas (an innovation of the BMG canvas) the framework for group ideation and collaborative design. In large and small group sessions, the group explored innovation of business and revenue models, service provision, new relationships and communications channels.  As the first public unveiling of the research and design of the  “strongly sustainable” business model, we gained valuable and practical feedback on the applications of the new approach.

Generating one group’s model based on its “What If” starting point (orange label).

Sharing the group’s model with the whole and Antony collecting and aggregating the unique values of each in a common map.

This was the first public application of the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Canvas – and most of the participants were unfamiliar even with Alex Osterwalder’s original Business Model Canvas. Therefore, even with all having watched Alex’s videos and our handout materials, we found the session required a significant degree of education in the methods. The SSBM Canvas is not a tool that can be applied “out of the box” but requires context setting and some training in the concepts.

May Roy shared her experience with the process in terms of outcomes for Newcomers:

The use of the expanded canvas allowed NEW staff, volunteers and members plan though how the organization will continue to innovate in the next 3 years. We used the DWD session and day long strategy sessions to discuss, argue, debate and sometimes cry over the challenges and opportunities inherent in a time of economic restructuring.

Transilience: Adapting urban living for a changing future

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A special Design with Dialogue event was held in conjunction with the 2011 McLuhan Centenary and U of Toronto’s KMDI, as a panel and participatory workshop in which the public is invited to engage the questions:

  • How are ecological changes moving us toward planning for urban resilience?
  • How might we make the transition to resilience as a community and not as competing resource users?
  • How is the city a medium, a media system? Can McLuhan’s notion of media ecology help guide historic changes in resource ecologies?
  • What are the risks if we don’t act, or we fail to cooperate in “transilience?”

Video by Gregory Greene, ResilientPLANET

Although starting from different perspectives and communities, both movements are coordinated, advance responses to near-future impacts to urban planning, transport, food and water supply, energy, ecology, and habitation. The big question remains for citizens and communities, that, if foresight is true, what ought we to do – today?

Two global movements have emerged in the last few years as a civil societal response to foreseeable constraints and societal shocks resulting from changes in climate and energy resources – Resiliency and the Transition Town.

Peter Jones (DwD, OCADU) hosted the session and workshop. Peter Rose moderated a one-hour panel discussion with three leading thinkers and planners.  (Presentations are now available)

  • Resilient City planner Craig Applegath (Dialog Design)                                  PDF
  • Jeff Ranson (Innovolve and OCADU Strategic Foresight & Innovation)     PDF
  • Transition Town planner Blake Poland (UofT Public Health).                       PDF

Many thanks to Patricia Kambitsch, whose live sketches provided visual reflection. And to documentary videographers Greg Greene (ResilientCITY, End of Suburbia) and Dexter Ico for their coverage and photos (all photo credits, Greg and Dexter).

Over 70 people from around the GTA joined us for an engaging, creative, hands-on thinking and doing workshop. Participants left the session wanting to know and do more. We planned this session with the hope that we might help our communities change values, habits, and communication to create and adapt to a more resilient future.