Every year a group of DwD facilitators and stewards (community volunteers who curate sessions) meet for a year-end retreat. We celebrate and appreciate the learning and accomplishment of the year and have an inquiry toward planning for the next year. Among the dreams and possibilities we considered for 2017 were:
Dreams from the Retreat
- The Stoa and the Agora – Creating spaces for emerging challenges received as significant or arising within society as opportunities for deliberative dialogue. Extending DwD to civil society and public engagement.
- Continuing with Unify’s Indigenize or Die, guiding its continuity toward a community to deepen participation with settlers toward reconciliation and becoming stewards of the original land
- Rather than singular issues, fostering a commons to reveal connectedness between our programs: Such as Indigenous ways of knowing, Theory U, Listening practices (Bohmian)
- Integrating an connecting issues or dialogues between the series events.
- Host indigenous speakers in Systems Thinking ON to inquire into aboriginal systems of thinking
- Inviting and appreciating the “Mixing of Unlike Minds”
- DwD can take on specific problem areas: Environmental Defense – break stakeholders out of groupthink Inclusion and flourishing of newcomers with right livelihood
- Host invitational innovation circles again – such as with Toronto Star
- Cartography of social issues: Mapping issues and interfaces in collaborative dialogue, boundary crossing and boundary object formation
- Creating pop-up labs and studios through DwD – Connect with MaRS, Innoweave, Interchange Peace Finding
- Critically engage the rapidly forming memes of the day: “Fake News,” Russia-bashing, Fake foreign policy, …
Design with Dialogue – 2017
- January – Can we Reenvision Peace as a Goal Again? Also, Ethics of Autonomy, Information Warfare, Causes and confusions of the Refugee Crisis
- February – Play to Perform?
- Invited Workshops
- SSHRC Imagining Canada’s Future (Canada @150) and social futures
Systems Thinking Ontario – 2017
- Reframing the purpose of ST-ON: Outreach, Education, Connecting local systems community, Creating contexts for teaching, youth engagement
- Bringing local and international speakers to the regular sessions: Martin Bunch, Steve Easterbrook, Judith Rosen
- Exploring classic issues, e.g. The Human Use of Human Beings (Wiener)
- Entertaining “unlike minds”
- Exploring mindsets – limited scope of thinking
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Invited subject experts who can host a systems conversation about their practice
- Invite artists and creatives to explore systemic thinking
- The human and natural systems of water
DwD Engagement Model
The Agoras model of staging from “Lab” to the field of stakeholders has relevance in the current proliferation of social innovation labs, as the lab concept has been employed ubiquitously and metaphorically. There’s little evidence of external impact in terms of higher quality programs and stakeholder services that would not have been done without the labs. They are often small developmental teams using facilitative approaches that work with policy or startup organizations. Given that the SFI MDes program trains people for leading in such roles, we need to consider whether there are more or less effective models of “lab work.”
Christakis and Warfield developed an approach 20+ years ago for the developmental evaluation of social science innovations in stakeholder applications, as a reference for SDD. Known as the Domain of Science Model, it shows that the “Lab” is the initial, most tentative stage in a series of four domains that are needed to develop an evidence-based social innovation. The stages are summarized in the following model:
• Lab – Building creative Foundations from philosophy, social science, systemics
• Lab – Visualizing Theory & building artefacts to test in Studio
• Studio – Design science, adapting Theory > Methodology
• Studio – Building new methods for application in Arena.
• Arena – Adapting & testing method & evaluating in Arenas with stakeholders
• Agora – Releasing to public in new forms.
Peter Pennefather shared a sketch of his extension to this model after the retreat, in the following diagram. His contributions adds several new dimensions, such as the dominant logic/reasoning process in each stage, the transformation of public goods (from need to effect) and the inclusion of the design process that’s central to DwD.