Design With Dialogue

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 10:00pm to Thursday, March 12, 2015 - 1:00am

The Experience of Climate Change at the Intersection of Art & Neuroscience

How do we experience climate change? How does the nature of our experience influence our ability to take action? How might insights from art & neuroscience inform our leadership on the issue? 

Join us for March's DwD  with hosts Ross Curtner and Scott Baker of Adjacent Possibilities. Set to the back drop of international climate negotiations, we will explore the physiological and civic experiences of climate change. From here, we deploy insights at the intersection of art and neuroscience to imagine alternatives. Drawing inspiration from systems thinking and game design methodology, the session will provide participants the opportunity to prototype the mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics of renewed relationship with this complex issue.

Insights generated from this workshop will be used to inform the design of Adjacent Possibilities' next exhibition at the Cop21 climate negotiations in Paris, November 2015.

About The Hosts
At heart, Ross Curtner is a facilitator, curator and purveyor of purposeful play. Putting these passions to work he’s lead strategic planning retreats for cleantech investment and business development groups, designed leadership experiences for arts foundations, consulted for government and recently, co-founded Adjacent Possibilities, an agency which connects artists and entrepreneurs to enable new approaches to complex challenges. An alumni of MaRS’ Studio Y Fellowship, he previously worked at The Stop and Community Food Centres Canada. When he’s not scheming of creative ways to address big issues, you can find Ross exploring Toronto’s forests with the PINE Project. @RossCurtner

Scott Baker was raised on wind-licked west-coast of Vancouver Island and has since been working at the intersection of climate policy and civic engagement with the Canadian and European Green Parties, Leadnow, and Tides Canada. Currently Scott is a StudioY Fellow at MaRS Discovery District and the co-founder of Adjacent Possibilities. 

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 100 McCaul St. Lambert Lounge, Room 187
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Design with Dialogue

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 10:00pm to Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 1:00am

Building Social Capital for Retirement

What will it take to care for ourselves, others, and our communities as we age? How might inter-generational dialogue spark new ways of sharing resources and innovative retirement planning?

Our financial advisors tell us the importance of our retirement savings plans to ensure that we can take care of ourselves financially during retirement. But what about our “social capital” accounts? As we attend to our busy working lives now, are we spending enough time considering how we are going to take care of ourselves, each other and our communities as we age, especially given growing concerns about how current social systems will support an aging population with fewer public resources? And how can we assist younger generations who face challenges in finding work and entering into the housing market? Are there ways that we can combine forces and share resources across generations?

This DwD session will begin to consider how we can integrate social innovation into our retirement planning to build better solutions for ourselves and the generations that follow us.

To get us started, we’ll hear from Christine McMillan, a long term advocate for seniors and people with disabilities. Christine is the founder of Oasis Senior Support Living Inc., a not-for-profit organization that partners with the owners of apartment buildings occupied by seniors to provide affordable onsite services similar to those offered in retirement homes. Christine will present this innovative pilot study to stimulate our thinking about the ways we can leverage community resources to improve quality of life for seniors and reduce public costs.

About the Host
The session will be facilitated by Mary Pickering. Mary has 25 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, focused on building multi-stakeholder relationships to address environmental challenges. Mary is an accredited partnership broker through the international Partnership Brokers Association and has a strong interest in learning more about leveraging community resources. She is concerned about the challenges looming for youth and seniors but also confident that drawing on untapped community resources offer exciting possibilities to improve quality of life for all.

Venue & Address: 
Lambert Lounge, Room 187 100 McCaul Street Toronto, Ontario
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Design with Dialogue

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 11:00pm to Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 2:00am

Deep Democracy: Transforming Conflict into Collaboration

For the first DwD of 2014, join host Violetta Ilkiw as she guides you through this remarkable change process.

Conflict is a common aspect of all our lives. Deep Democracy is a conceptual framework for analyzing group dynamics and conflict, and a set of methods for facilitating group interactions. In Deep Democracy, conflict is seen as an opportunity for growth and transformation.

The process of Deep Democracy values diverse leadership, bringing to the forefront voices that are not usually heard or can become lost in traditional decision-making models. The process helps us become stronger collaborative leaders, access the strength of any group, surface conflict and work toward more holistic community & group outcomes.

At the January DwD we will explore:
• the basic principles & concepts behind Deep Democracy
• basic steps to conflict resolution
• ways to explore conflict within ourselves
• how to utilize these basic skills to ground ourselves as facilitators, in working with conflictual situations whether these are interpersonal, in small groups or in organizations.

Violetta Ilkiw brings 20+ years of facilitation experience, with a particular interest and focus on participatory multi-stakeholder processes. Her work is grounded in adult education principles, Art of Hosting & process design, and she is driven by a desire to see fundamental systemic shifts and change, ultimately resulting in healthier communities. Violetta has also acted as senior consultant to the Laidlaw Foundation for the past 14 years, and has been integral to bringing strategic vision, design, innovation and increased collaboration into the Foundation’s work with young people. Violetta is currently in the final year of a 3-year Masters in conflict facilitation and organizational change at the Process Work Institute in Portland, Or.

Venue & Address: 
The Moment Studio, Suite 407 130 Spadina Avenue Toronto, Ontario

Design with Dialogue

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 10:00pm to Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 1:00am

Facilitating Co-Creation – Design Patterns for Dialogue

How do we design for dialogues?

July’s DwD session invites facilitators, designers, and the DwD community to join us in exploring tools for design for dialogue events for clients, organizations, and communities. We will explore the patterns and key elements of effective group processes found in our own experience, with guidance from emerging process design tools. With your participation as co-designers, we ask:

-What patterns and modes of engagement enable committed participation and reflective inquiry?
-How might deepening our awareness of the essential elements found in our best methods foster successful group outcomes?
-How might these patterns differ between arenas, whether creative organizational workshops or in civic dialogues?

Based on a workshop taught in the OCADU Strategic Foresight and Innovation program, Peter Jones invites you to learn and share workshop design patterns that enhance facilitated group dialogues. Working with the Group Pattern Language Project as a source of structure and tools, we’ll deep dive into:

-What patterns for dialogue structuring might best enable our own, everyday group work situations?
-How do we select and adapt best-fitting practices and methods to create mindful, evocative learning communities for creative inquiry?
-How can we learn from these patterns to co-create new methods or group structuring approaches?

The workshop will have practical outcomes of interest to design and facilitation practice, with the ultimate goal of deepening competency through collaborating with peers to improve our resources and toolkits. We draw from some dialogue theory, group patterns, and your experiences to co-create an evolved understanding of process and design facilitation. Your own context of practice – whether a creative design group, a community setting, or organizational workshop – will guide the design inquiry. Participants will co-create new workshop concepts with these patterns and ideas, exercising the pattern language for meaningful social design problems. In the end we hope to build a shared model of engagement types and essential patterns that might deepen our practices and possibly lead to designing new hybrid methods.

The Hosts
Peter Jones and Chris Lee guide this session on group design patterns. Peter is co-founder of Design with Dialogue and associate professor at OCAD University, in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation MDes program. Peter runs the innovation research firm Redesign and has been engaging groups of all sizes and shapes since the mid-1990’s. He is author of the early handbook of facilitation process, Team Design (1998), We Tried to Warn You (2008), and the recent Rosenfeld title Design for Care: Innovating Healthcare Experience. His work can be found at

Chris Lee is a Toronto based facilitator and process designer. He runs Potluck Projects, actively using concepts and participatory methodologies from the Art of Hosting, Asset Based Community Development, and Person-Centred Planning to support groups in achieving collective outcomes that are greater than the sum of its parts. He also works with the YSI Collaborative, a network and community of practice that accelerates and amplifies the conditions for youth-led organizing and engagement in Ontario.

Design with Dialogue (DwD) is an open community of practice learning together to lead organizational & community change through participatory design, strategic dialogue and emerging facilitation methods.

We gather monthly to convene workshops as a practice in social design to engage the organizations, projects, and civic communities to which we're committed.

Join us from 6-9pm on the second Wednesday of every month at OCAD's Lambert Lounge.

DwD is coordinated by:
Peter Jones
OCADU professor and Principal at Redesign

Greg Judelman
Chief Design Officer at The Moment

Kaitlin Almack
Process Facilitator at ICA Associates

Christopher Lee
Principal at Potluck Projects

Venue & Address: 
Lambert Lounge, Room 187, 100 McCaul St. 100 McCaul Street Toronto, Ontario
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Design with Dialogue

Design with Dialogue
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 10:00pm

Discover Your "Why"

How do we discover our Why and implement it meaningfully?

Octobers's DwD session is hosted by Stephen Shedletzky, founder of

Our "Why" is our cause, purpose or belief that guides our every thought, action and behaviour. All individuals have one Why, as do organizations. The challenge is that our Why is hard to discover and articulate on our own.
This session is designed to:
Help us discover our Whys
Teach us how to lead the Why Discovery process so that we can help others find their Why
Create a larger network of trusted friends who we can call with future issues
Provide a fresh perspective on what it truly means to be a leader
When we are in the right conditions, human beings are naturally trusting and cooperative. However, in the wrong conditions, we become cynical, paranoid and selfish. The best organizations, and the best leaders, create conditions in which we naturally work together and help each other. In this session, we will focus on what it takes to create a culture of leadership, cooperation, and trust in our lives, organizations, communities and families.
When we are clear on our Why, disciplined in How we bring our Why to life and consistent with What we do, fulfillment is our result. These concepts are called the Golden Circle, which were discovered and made popular by thought leader and author Simon Sinek in his book Start With Why and his TED Talk, How great leaders inspire action.

Stephen Shedletzky
believes in a world in which the vast majority of people are fulfilled by the work they do. He leads, and collaborates with Simon Sinek’s team at Start With Why—an organization that exists to inspire people to do the things that inspire them. Stephen engages leaders and organizations to discover and create their “Why”—their higher purpose that provides the clarity needed for fulfillment. He speaks, coaches, consults and creates content all with one purpose: to connect with people in meaningful ways. Stephen has received leadership and coaching training with the Richard Ivey School of Business and the Coaches Training Institute.




Venue & Address: 
Lambert Lounge, Room 187 100 McCaul Street Toronto, Ontario