From designing buildings to facilitating transformation

50 %
50 %
Information about From designing buildings to facilitating transformation

Published on March 30, 2014

Author: HannahduP



We have an established practice when it comes to designing things. But what does design look like when applied to the messy complexity of human communities? Hannah du Plessis -- Pittsburgh based designer and lecturer in the "MFA in Design for Social Innovation " program in New York City -- is part of this emerging field. This talk is about the shift from designing when your material is physical to when your material is social. It looks at three scales - community, team and individual.

from designing buildings to facilitating transformation Hannah du Plessis 1  

From  designing  buildings  to  facilita4ng  transforma4on   Hannah  du  Plessis      |      Fit  Associates,  LLC      |      @hannahdup   Presented  February  and  March  2014  at     University  of  Pretoria   Green  Side  Design  Center   University  of  Johannesburg   Cape  Peninsula  University  of  Technology                       ©  2014,  Fit  Associates  LLC         This  work  is  licensed  under  the  Crea4ve  Commons  APribu4on-­‐NonCommercial-­‐NoDerivs  3.0  Unported  License.  You  can  copy  and   redistribute  it,  so  long  as  you  aPribute  credit  to  its  authors,  do  it  only  for  non-­‐commercial  purposes,  and  don’t  alter  it  or  create  deriva4ve   works  based  on  it.  To  view  a  copy  of  this  license,  visit  ”­‐nc-­‐nd/3.0/  or  send  a  lePer  to  Crea4ve   Commons,  444  Castro  Street,  Suite  900,  Mountain  View,  California,  94041,  USA.   2 @Hannahdup Hello! MFA in Design for Social Innovation I had my first career in the world of interior design and architecture. Today, I’m teaching and practicing design – but my materials have changed radically. I’m now working in the field of “design for social innovation.” This talk is about the shift from designing when your material is physical to when your material is social. I co-teach a course called “Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation” at the School of Visual Art in NYC and work with Fit Associates in Pittsburgh. I do both of these with Marc Rettig. 3  

Fifteen years ago, I started my career in interior design and architecture. 4  

I worked on three continents with great clients and in wonderful teams. I loved seeing ideas take on concrete shapes. Later on I had my own business … things were going swimmingly. 5  

BUT 6  

Honestly, I don’tdeeply care 7  

…that your offices are more collaborative 8  

… that your art gallery has an amazing shape 9  

…or that your customers find it delightful to select their paint colors 10  

? careless relationships Like yourself I grew up in South Africa where we are not sheltered from the raw realities of this world. From an early age I was dumbfounded by the careless relationships human beings seem to have between -  Man & man = Oppression, segregation, the have/have not divide -  Man & nature = We’re consuming and discarding at unsustainable rates -  Man & self = Why do so many of us have self-destructive habits? In 2010 more people died of suicides than wars, murder and natural disasters combined. (Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation) I wanted to make the world better. 11  

First question: How can I change the world?

attempt # 1 “How can I change my community to act kindly?”! ! Leadership During my school years I was in leadership positions in both my school and church community. Every year a new leadership team would be selected. Every year we had the best intentions and would start of with great gusto, poised to change our world… 13  

Tip o’ the hat to Peter Senge But, every year around April or May we would see a decrease in our enthusiasm and, well, things would go back to normal. Nothing seemed to really change. After living through this curve for 8 years, I had enough of that. I was done with leadership. But not with making the world better. 14  

attempt # 2 “How can I help close the economic gap?”! ! Interior Design I found the world of design and fell in love. Here is a discipline that has the ability to make the world better on a very practical level. Most of my clients were mainstream, not socially minded. But I used every project to build a bridge between financially stable clients and emerging artist and crafters. It was lovely to see a moment of financial relief for artists and crafters… 15  

But I was not creating sustained change. The larger economic system was unsupportive of a dream to see a more equitable world where there is enough for everyone, not mere moments of relief. During that time I had done work for Coca Cola. “What would happen,” I thought, “if Coke saw themselves as part of the health of their communities and not just purveyors of sugary drinks? Surely a big corporation can create systemic change?” 16  

attempt # 3 “How can I influence corporations to do good?”! ! Business strategy I went back to grad school to obtain my masters in design research and strategy. And, guess who was my first client? Pepsi. There I was in their glass and marble offices over- looking the Chicago skyline, bristling with excitement as we presented to their innovation management team. 17  

GR E A T !   F A BU L O US !   My excitement was short lived. As I was standing there reading their corporate values in golden letters, looking at my clients whom I had gotten to know and respect, I realized I was in the wrong place. Again. I was back in my role of advocate. I was an external voice, a dusty chicken from Africa asking a big organization to be different that what it is. Good luck with that honey. 18  

Why are we repeating our uncaring patterns?? Needless to say I was disappointed. Why in the world is it so darn difficult to change? Why, more than a decade after Mandela became president, has so little really changed in South Africa? And why have I not changed? You see, when I left South Africa, I left my firm and my marriage behind. I knew I needed something more life-giving. Two years later, I had a new career and a new relationship. Even though the form had changed, the essence had not. My new career was not making the world a better place, it was just increasing the waistlines of white middle-aged men. And my new relationship was not as new and great as I wanted it to be – I was still repeating my old patterns of busking for approval. 19  

I began to inquire into the nature of change. I came to see that we as humans are less like building materials and more like plants. 20  

If I cut a piece of wood, it will stay in that shape for the rest of its life. But I I cut down this field of flowers… 21  

Next spring, they will come up again in more or less the same shape. 22  

The same is true for humans. We can attempt to change our behavior, but if we don’t change the invisible inner world that gives rise to our actions, we are fooling ourselves. 23  

Tip o’ the hat to Peter Senge Arc of a typical organizational change effort This diagram is from Peter Senge, who works extensively in organizational learning. He says we make great plans and have great aspirations and everyone wags their tails with excitement, but soon the “organizational inertia” sets in. Peter Drucker says “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – we commit to working more effectively or going to the gym, we select a new president, we make a strategic plan, we pledge to end poverty or act as equals – but our conditioned way of being is much stronger than our rational intentions. Who we are, not what we wish for, determines where we go. 24  

“’The universe is made of stories, not atoms,’ poet Muriel Rukeyser famously proclaimed. The stories we tell ourselves and each other are how we make sense of the world and our place in it. Some stories become so sticky, so pervasive that we internalize them to a point where we no longer see their story- ness — they become not one of many lenses on reality, but reality itself. … stories we’ve heard and repeated so many times they’ve become the invisible underpinning of our entire lived experience.” Maria Popova (Brainpickings) 25  

Unless we change our story, we will not create sustained change in our behavior. 26  

But changing our story is not enough. 27  

Behavior, stuff, words, actions Organization, process, regulations Identity, culture & relationship A model of change in human communities Marc Rettig Our stories create our structures and then result in our shared reality. Apartheid is a great example of this. At its root was a story of inequality – white being superior to people of color. This belief was then expressed in physical structure: think about town planning that separated white and black, and economic and educational policies, and so on. story structure form 28  

New question: How do we transform? Asking “How should we change?” was the wrong question for me and working with what I can see (behavior) was at the wrong level.

the “s-curve” model of innovation… You may recall the ‘s-curve’ model of innovation. If we would think of long distance travel, the first S represents sailing ships. Sailing ships were displaced by steam-powered ships, then steam ships lost popularity as commercial aviation took off. 30  

Model: Berkana Institute Image: Chris Corrigan’s video, “Dynamics of Living Systems” At the same time, some people begin to question the old and jump off. We call them pioneers. Change happens similarly in living systems. This model describes the cycle of living systems. Corporations, schools, institutions etc. are all living systems. A system is born, it thrives and grows and then reaches its apex at which point it begins to decay. The pioneers start out as solo players, but soon connect to others to form networks which evolves into communities of practice. Eventually this group become the new system of influence and the old system decays. Think about the middle ages being replaced by the enlightenment. 31  

The old The new If you look at change in families from a systems perspective, a family dynamic doesn’t change because one person tells everyone around him or her to change. A dynamic changes as one person becomes aware of the current relational dynamics and chooses to engage differently. He or she might say, “I’ve had enough of this social pantomime, I stand for something different.” And as they proceed to live their new values a new dynamic is introduced and becomes the new norm. Even for ourselves: our habits do not change because we kill our old habits. From a neurological perspective, our old neural pathways will never go away. But as we make different choices, choice by choice we begin to grow the new and after some time our different choices become our new normal. 32  

How can I change/fix the world to be more like I want it to be… I’ve made peace with the world as it is, I am no longer interested to ask… 33  

How do we create the conditions for more thriving life, resilient communities, a self-healing world grow? I want to know… 34  

Design is an excellent teacher in creating the new when your material is physical or digital 35  

Understand CreateReflect   The discipline of design has taught me to create a different future. I’ve learned: 1.  To really listen to all the voices comprising the current reality: clients, budgets, spatial constraints etc. 2.  Reflect and allow the future possibility to emerge 3.  And then iteratively bring it to life through drawings, conversations, concept boards, models until it becomes the new reality 36  

…but I don’t find design on its own to be adequate for transforming social situations. 37  

new reality How we work together How we live together current reality How we work together How we live together Who we are What we believe How we relate Who we are What we believe How we relate What do I mean when I say “transform social situations?” I’m not talking about “design for good,” where people need a water pump and we design it for them. I’m referring to a group of people who want to change their reality. Yet, THEY are the ones who make up their current reality. And so, their better future will emerge from them having transformed their own stories, relationships and structures. 38  

1. understand the challenge 2. rely on best practice 3. “fix” this 4. impose strategy on an accepting environment 5. agree on a solution When we work with physical materials we can… We can’t understand the invisible & connected We can’t determine ‘becoming’ There is no cause & effect Humans are intentional Multiple stakeholders = diverse interests & perspectives Design is notorious for showing up in situations and creating more harm by providing shallow point solutions. We thrive when we have agency and are seen as competent co- creators of reality. We wither when we’re seen as order takers or replaceable cogs in wheels. Design is couched in a traditional problem-solving mindset, which has several assumptions baked into it. But when we work with humans… We’re working with a living entity with a will and intelligence of its own. Beliefs, fears, power relationships etc. are far below our radar. 39  

An expanded practice is required The logic needed to create with physical material doesn’t apply when working in social complexity 40  

The kind of work has social structures and situations as its starting point. The materials of this work are relationships and human depth. The tools of this work are collective experiences that touch people deeply, and dialog that’s open and deep enough to transform beliefs & relationships. You can’t affect this directly. There is no 3D printer that can print peace or an injection mold that can change perceptions. Therefore … 41  

“You cannot predict the outcome of human development; all you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which it will begin to flourish.” Sir Ken Robinson Leave the old …become the new At Fit, we see our work as helping people move from the old to the new. That process is not a choice but a matter of becoming. It is a question of creating the conditions for transformation to happen. 42  

Individual Team Community And transformation is fractal in nature. The change of a big system is intimately tangled with changes in all its sub-systems and individual members. Our work focus on three scales: …on three scales: community, team, and individual 43  

scale one How do we help communities become the new? 44  

Approach # 1 Nurture seeds and sprouts “The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed.” William Gibson, writer Asset-based approach: identify what is right, and amplify it.   45  

In Vietnam during 1990, three out of five of children under the age of five were malnourished. Monique and Jerry Sternin were asked to see if they could help. The “Let us go in and give aid to communities” approaches were unsustainable. The Sternins wanted to find a way for the community to solve this problem for themselves based on the resources already available. Positive Deviance Child malnutrition in Vietnam 46  

The Sternins created a team from the local community to be the design team / experts on this project. In this case the problem was already defined. But in their other projects they ask the community to identify the problem they want to work on. 1. DEFINE A PROBLEM Invite the whole community to a meeting Let them identify an issue that they deeply care about Create a team that represents the community as best it can 47  

3. DISCOVER EXISTING UNCOMMON BEHAVIORS & STRATEGIES If the community self-discovered a solution, they are more likely to implement it 2. DETERMINE POSITIVE DEVIANCE INDIVIDUALS Identify the positive deviants in the community “Are there people in your village who have the same set of circumstances as everyone else, yet their kids are well nourished?” It turned out there were. This was good news to the villagers! Who are these people and what can we learn from them? The villagers went to visit the folks whose kids were healthy despite their low income. They were asked to spend time with them and observe what these “Positive Deviants” were doing differently. The team identified several things the families did differently. They cooked foods that were seen as inferior or even dangerous (like snails and the greens of sweet potatoes); fed their kids more frequently and cared for their kids differently. The team was excited. They had identified behavior that could help the rest of their village have healthier kids! Now, all that was left was to teach the rest of villagers a better way. 48  

4. Design and develop initiatives to leverage these solutions in the whole society. Best practice solutions often rejected by the “natural human immune system.” How can we design a practice based on doing rather than ‘hearing’ and ‘seeing’? We say that people resist change. I don’t think that is so. If I win the lottery today, that will be a big change for me and I’ll welcome it. We don’t fear change, we fear loss. If you have done something in a certain way for a long time it is your normal. If someone tells you “to change”, you might hear something different like “your old way is no longer good enough; you need to leave your comfortable way and take a risk.” Risk = failure = fear. It is only human to protect ourselves when we feel afraid. People’s strategies of disconnection include making the other person look stupid, avoiding the matter altogether, or becoming small and invisible. You can’t have a generative conversation when someone is in a fearful place. It was good that the Sternins knew that telling someone to change won’t work. They developed a two week clinic in each village where the caretakers of the undernourished kids worked alongside the villagers who had done the research. The underlying assumption was that “It is easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than to think your way into a new way of acting.” As they worked alongside together – catching crabs, cooking meals, feeding kids – this new way of working was becoming easier for the caretakers and they could see their kids’ health improving. 49  

5. Discern the effectiveness of the initiative By the end of the year, 80% of the malnourished kids were healthy again and this initiative continued in the rest of Vietnam for the next 7 years. I told a short version of this story – please visit the Positive Deviance website for more information ( What I like about this approach is its belief that a community contains the capacity to solve their own problems and it is our work is to create the space for them to discover and apply it for themselves. 50  

Approach # 2 Social prototypes: test- drive life across the gap We can often be stuck in our old story, talking extensively about “the way things could be” and finding 101 reasons why it will never work. This is not helpful. What would happen if we create a sample taste of the future, helping the community experience a different reality, learn from it and work from there? You can’t plan and execute the future. But you can experience parts of it and have that experience affect your present.   51  

Better Block Jason Roberts in Dallas, Texas Jason Roberts lives in “the bad part of town.” Inspired by the thriving European city life, he wondered what a thriving community life could look like in his town. 52  

Yet, the zoning laws crippled the potential of this neighborhood. They were not allowed to have fruit stands or awnings, no crowds, and you needed to pay high licensing fees if you wanted flowers or street cafes. Jason and his friends asked “What would happen if we break every law we possibly can over a week-end?” 53  

They decided to find out …. 54  

They created pedestrian walks. 55  

They created bike lanes and brought in bikes 56  

They created street cafes & pop-up businesses. 57  

They printed out all the laws they were breaking and pasted it on the windows. They invited the community and members of the city council to this week-end, and they came. 58  

This story’s magic lies in how a weekend experience can change people and relationships. It changed the perceptions of the residents about what their neighborhood could become. It changed the relationship between the residents and the city council. It changed the city council’s perspectives on their laws and the type of future their laws were creating. They said “We don’t know why these rules have been in the book for so many years; we can change these things.” One of the stores became permanent and an anchor to the community. An experience such as this has the power to change a community’s perception of themselves and the future that they can create together. And it can give any group of people great clarity and momentum towards the future they’ve all experienced. 59  

Approach # 3 Deep co-creative journey Things, words, actions Organizational structures & processes Relationships, values, purpose Based on C. Otto Scharmer’s Theory U   Understand together   Create together  Reflect   This work is based on Otto Scharmer’s Theory U. Scharmer’s organization is the Presencing Institute. They and a separate consulting firm called Reos Partners do really great work based on Theory U, both worth looking into. The change architecture of this method is the closest I know to the design process and underpins most of our work at Fit Associates. 60  

See the story, “Collaboration and the elephant that sat on it” on the Fit Associates site Fit Associates Redesigning a Quality process in Corporate America One day a global consumer products company contacted us with a request to help them get better at understanding their customer’s world and communicate it internally. Their quality process – the flow between the customer’s world and organizational decision-making – was not working so great. When you tell me that something like process can be better, the designer in me jumps up and wants to fix it. Thankfully we didn’t take that route. Instead we created a five-day workshop with the intention to reconnect the people working on the quality process to the world of their customers, to each other and then to create from there. 61  

Our participants came into the workshop with very specific perspectives representing the points of view of their departments. We started by mapping out the process from their different perspectives – it is important for people to say how they see things and feel heard. After some training in suspending judgment and deep listening, we took them out of their offices and into the homes of their customers. Over three days they experienced a mini ethnographic research journey. 62  

We visited customer homes together. 63  

Then we watched all the videos together. 64  

We used a lot of sticky notes for analysis & synthesis. 65  

People from all over the system, together making sense of what they’d seen 66  

… as they worked together the conversation deepened and something happened 67  

The elephant in the room stepped out. People were able to speak honestly and say things they couldn’t say before. “We are divided,” said some, “We don’t feel seen in this process,” others said. Many agreed that “We don’t trust each other.” Once the elephant was out, the participants collectively agreed that there was something bigger that united them. They all cared about creating really great quality products for their customers. 68  

Designing ways to use the pent-up heart for quality. Working from what they cared about, people from across the process re-designed their own quality process together. 69  

This image is from a different workshop. Here we spent two days generating ideas and roadmaps for becoming the new. I get excited when I see people from different perspectives leave their old differences behind, find their shared purpose and work together to create their new together. 70  

scale two How do we enable team transformation? Social innovation is a team sport and one of the most dangerous. We as humans are approval-seeking machines, we can operate smoothly and safely within the existing power dynamics and social norms. But that is exactly what is keeping us stuck. We need to learn to create a team space that can transcend our social conditioning and create the new together. 71  

Find Shared purpose Story: Fit Associates Working in their neighborhood A great design has at its heart a strong and clear concept – an underlying essence that gives the building or product its coherence and story. Great teams share something similar. One can call it intention or purpose. 72  

This story is set in the neighborhood that we live in, Polish Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. THE CONTEXT: We share a similar history to Detroit. In the last hundred years our neighborhood has gone from 10,000 residents to just over a thousand. Now, for the first time in decades a new development is going to be built on a prominent site in the neighborhood. THE MIX: Our neighborhood has three very strong groups in it. The first is the original Polish folks who have lived here all their lives. The second are the anarchists who moved into the neighborhood when things were still rather grim about fifteen years ago. And the last group are the professionals who started to move into the neighborhood about eight years ago. THE CHALLENGE: People don’t really like those outside their own tribes, yet we need to work together. The old folks distrust the anarchists and accuse them of vandalism. The anarchists have no time for the older folks’ closed community. The professionals feel unwelcomed by the anarchists, and the anarchists feel the professionals are gentrifying their neighborhood. The old folks resist changes the professional people propose. Get the picture? 73  

Behavior, stuff, words, actions Organization, process, regulations Identity, culture & relationship Marc Rettig story structure form While my colleague Marc and I were sitting in one of our neighborhood meetings, we realized that the disagreements were all about the form – how big, for whom, how expensive … But we were not asking the important questions such as why do we do this and who are we as a neighborhood? We decided to get a representative mix of people from the neighborhood together so that we can focus on our identity as a community. It was not easy to get people to come. The anarchists were disillusioned by endless meetings and all the talk, and the older people were hard to approach. On the day of the meeting none of the artists showed up… 74  

…until about twenty minutes into the meeting. I was grateful - we had a representation of our neighborhood in the room – a team of people that can talk on behalf of Polish Hill. During the first half of the workshop we told stories aimed at reconnecting us to what matters to us all. We went around the tables, and each person describing, “how I got here and why I belong in Polish Hill.” This gave people the opportunity to hear each other’s stories and listen to the things they value. Next the conversation needed to go deeper, to the place beyond your stories. But how do you get a group of people to tap into their intuition? We went for a walk in the neighborhood (in our minds only – it was freezing outside!) We walked past the landmarks we loved – the church, our coffee shop, the open spaces, the three bars... This simple visualization helped us get to the right side of our brain. I then asked them “What is the soul of our neighborhood? Can you listen for it?” 75  

When you work with intuitive things like soul and purpose, people fare better when they can use artistic means that represent the essence they can sense, but not necessarily say. Each person stayed in silence and built a model that represented the soul of the neighborhood. We went around the table, each one saying what their model represents. Some good stuff came out. One older lady built a model of two streams. She started to cry when she spoke: “This is the old soul of our neighborhood, this is the new soul… I am so afraid that we will not get together.” The conversation opened and people talked about the things they feared, the things they shared in common. The group built a collective model that represented the soul of our neighborhood and the reasons why they live here, like our sense of belonging, community and safety, our green spaces, the diversity of the residents and the gritty worker-class character of our neighborhood. 76  

Looking towards future developments, we continued to refine what we value about by filling in a matrix. It helped us clarify what is a)  ideal for us, b)  acceptable and c)  just downright out Of course there wasn’t agreement on all the issues. We documented disagreements, which made the conversation richer and allowed for different opinions to live side-by-side. When a team of people work together, it is essential that they come from a place of shared purpose and a sense of identity. Without the basis of who we are and what we collectively care about, it would be close to impossible to move towards a collective future. 77  


Communicate the deep Story: Organization unbound Kufunda Village One thing I am tired of seeing is gorgeous fire-side moments where people openly speak about what matters, and soon after their conversations flatten to normal niceties. The following story is from a village in Zimbabwe as told by Warren Nilsson from Organization Unbound (in Cape Town) 79  

Kufunda Village is a learning center in Zimbabwe that asks, ”What does it mean to live sustainably: both environmentally and socially?” Warren en Tana attended one of their village meetings. The issue on the table was the financial management of the village. Up till now outsiders managed it, but it was time for the local people to take ownership. Everyone agreed. When the time came for volunteers to raise their hands, no one volunteered to be part of the new finance team. There was an awkward silence. People were getting frustrated and you could almost hear the normal projections: “Ah, people aren’t really committed….” But then it was suggested to take a moment and just hear what everyone was feeling at that moment. They went around the room, with each person airing their internal experience. In many teams this would be hard to do, as people don’t feel safe to share their experience. But at Kufunda, people knew honesty would be appreciated and not held against them. Things came out like, “You know, I am excited about this, but I’m not qualified and this would be a learning curve for me, you’ll have to be patient.” Someone else commented that “I’m sensitive to the financial team becoming the boss of the village, and I’m not comfortable with taking on such leadership.” “I’m over committed as it is, but I would like to support the team in such and such a way.” This conversation took about 10 minutes, but it was profound. Kufunda village – image taken from Warren’s presentation: Social innovation from the inside out 80  

"The reason things stay the same is because we've been the same. For things to change, we must change!"￿￿Eric Jensen It is easy to forget that we are the world. The beliefs, patterns of relating, power structures that inform our current reality are embedded into us. The thing is, we are blind to our own beliefs. They reside inside ourselves as implicit knowledge and we don’t know about them until we bump into them. In this story, people bumped into their own fears (“I am not an expert”) and limiting beliefs (“the financial team will dominate the village”) and were given the opportunity to air them. If they remained unspoken, they would continue to have a limiting effect on the group. But once people were able to be honest, they could see that the things they believed were not true enough to keep them from moving forward. I was not there for the rest of the conversation, but I imagine things being said like, “Yes you might be slow to learn, but there is no rush here, we’ll help you!” “Ah yes, we understand that finances can tend to dominate the world, but this does not have to be so here. We can all work together to value the life of our community above financial constraints.” 81  

1. Sense what you feel 2. Communicate honestly from I-perspective 3. Hear the other’s needs 4. Respond honestly from I-perspective This diagram depicts a communication cycle essential to any team involved in social innovation. The cycle seems deceptively simple. But in practice it requires us to be sensitive, vulnerable and gracious. This goes against the grain of our “be strong, assertive and perfect” culture and is a new skillset to learn. “You mean hungry and tired are not feelings?” (student of mine.) As a modern culture we’ve lost the ability to really sense and understand what we’re feeling. What does sadness, anger, fear feel like? I’m well-trained to say the socially acceptable thing. Vocalizing that I feel frustrated or disappointed or scared is difficult. It takes practice to hear what someone is actually saying and to to read their need as a demand or accusation. Based on Non Violent Communication by M Rosenberg and the work of Dan Siegel 82  

And of course we are all human and this cycle will break and people will get hurt. That is to be expected. The invitation is not to be perfect, but to acknowledge when something goes badly and to repair that rupture. This is key to building robust relationships. 1. Sense what you feel 3. Hear the other’s needs 2. Communicate honestly from I-perspective 4. Respond honestly from I-perspective 83  

Basis of trust creativity co-operation transformation This cycle of honest communication is the 84  

scale three How do we enable individual transformation? You can be a jerk and design the greatest buildings. The same is not true for design for social innovation. What you do flows from who you are. To the degree that you're involved in your own transformation, you can help other people transform. We can't give people what we don't have ourselves.  85  

Engage in transformation Mostly, we don't grow up to be who we are, we grow up to be what our society asks of us. As our approval and the acceptance of our (family, school, work, religious) group is mostly hinged on us doing or saying the right thing, many of us have lost sight of who we are. Life coach Martha Beck describes the steps to living an inauthentic life: a) We go dumb by not speaking our hearts b) We go deaf refusing to hear our souls Repeat. 86  

Individual transformation is about moving from living your culturally-expected story toward becoming your true and authentic self. It is about moving from a world view that sees yourself as fixed and the world as controllable to adopting a way of being where you can navigate uncertainty and complexity and develop the sensitivity to work with emergence.  At the School of Visual Art where we teach "Design for Social Innovation," our course has three tracks. Community, group and personal transformation. This image is from a group of students acting out the Transtheoretical model of behavioral change. We looked at several transformation models. Create a felt experience of a transformation cycle 87  

Fear keeps us in our current patterns. Here our students did an exercise by Martha Beck. They jotted down their inner lizard's top ten tunes and made drawings and models of their fearful selves. We talked about our fearful beliefs in small groups. Feeling like “I am a failure, I am not good enough, I will never succeed…” does not make us flawed. It just means we’re deeply human. We don't overcome fear, we befriend and question our beliefs and gradually they lose their power over us.  88  

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and wounded. It is a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” Pema Chödrön. This is student drawing, made after we’ve invited them to work with their past pains. 89  

The first step towards transforming a system is to become aware of its patterns. Here we are in class, about to do exercises aimed at developing interpersonal and personal awareness. We’re using a framework from neurobiologist Dan Siegel and complimenting it with exercises drawn from the world of mindfulness and theatre. 90  

Design is a wonderful discipline to help us create something new inside uncertainty. We can work iteratively towards something we sense. Uncertainty can be really uncomfortable. You’ve all been in social situations where the dynamics feel wonky and you’re not sure what to do next. In this image we are doing some improv games – they’re great to help you develop the muscles necessary to lean into uncertainty and discover something new – moment by moment. Improvisation – a great tool to lean into uncertainty 91  

Get the best out of your material As designers we are really good at doing this: helping the material come to life in our designs. 92  

How we see people = how we work with people “We fare best when nourished deeply and well by the simple, daily nourishment of genuine acceptance of who we are, mercy for who we have been, and unconditional love for who we will become. Under these conditions, the fields of our soul are set free to provide a rich and abundant harvest” – Wayne Muller When we see people as somehow defective, broken, incompetent, broken, lazy… (you make the list) we tend to want to fix them, change them, distance ourselves from them. But what if we can choose to focus on the innate goodness inside the person standing in front of us? 93  

Come from a place of worth. “Your biography is not your identity” – John O’Donohue In design for social innovation, you don’t have a singular client like you often have in design. Our client is the unborn future. This asks of us to act with integrity, to act on what we know is deeply true, even if that goes against the cultural grain. Cultivating a space of unconditional love and acceptance within ourselves enables us to stay strong amidst criticism. And it helps us to be generous towards the people we are working with, regardless of their past history and present labels. 94  

the  great  turning Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown invite us to step into the future. There we will find our great-great-great grandchildren telling the story about “the great turning.” In this story, our society was hell-bound on destroying the life support system we depended on. But then, right about now, something began to happen. Through the countless choices of individuals and groups things started to shift. Our society changed from an industrial growth society to a life-sustaining society.   95  


“The gift you carry for others is not an attempt to save the world but to fully￿belong￿to it. It’s not possible to save the world by trying to save it. You need to find￿what is genuinely yours￿to offer the world before you can make it a better place. Discovering your unique gift to bring to your community is your greatest opportunity and challenge. The offering of that gift – your true self – is the most you can do to love and serve the world. And it is all the world needs.” Bill Plotkin  And as individuals, we are invited to leave our cultural scripts behind, cease our efforts to change what is not ours to change and become the life we long for in this world. 97  

Thank you & Discussion 98  

Add a comment

Related presentations

My Music Magazine Pitch

My Music Magazine Pitch

October 30, 2014

music mag pitch

Questionaire charts

Questionaire charts

November 4, 2014


Final research

Final research

November 5, 2014

final research

Cersaie 2014

Cersaie 2014

October 30, 2014

allestimento in cartone per il Cersaie 2014 alberi in cartone scultura in cartone

Quarta turma do workshop de Infografia, ministrado por Beatriz Blanco e Marcos Sin...

Related pages

From designing buildings to facilitating transformation ...

Here is the abstract: We have an established practice when it comes to designing things. But what does design look like when applied to the messy ...
Read more

Designing Structures for Transformation: Facilitating ...

Designing Structures for Transformation: Facilitating Transformative ... Designing Structures for Transformation: ... As we move into theory building for ...
Read more

Eco-Acupuncture: designing and facilitating pathways for ...

... to catalyse rapid transformation of an existing urban environment, ... designing and facilitating pathways for urban ... With DeepDyve, ...
Read more

Eco-Acupuncture: designing and facilitating pathways for ...

... Advancing sustainable urban transformation. ... designing and facilitating pathways for ... Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning ...
Read more

Designing and Facilitating Team Meetings and Offsites ...

The Piras Group consultants have been designing and facilitating team ... Enterprise and Transformation ... in facilitating these kinds of team building ...
Read more

Facilitating sustainability in heritage buildings in ...

... the construction and use of buildings is said to ... Facilitating sustainability ... it is generally agreed that the activity of designing is not ...
Read more

Designing Buildings Wiki

Designing Buildings Wiki The construction industry knowledge base. Register; Sign in; Search. Home / news. Site info / tools. Site. Full text search ...
Read more

facilitate this! dedicated to developing and delivering ...

... facilitate this have ... Designing meetings to ... facilitating learning, building partnerships or facilitating transformation we have a ...
Read more

Facilitating with Heart E-book by Martha Lasley

Designing the Facilitation ... Community Building. 297. 16. Revolution from the Heart 303. ... Business of Transformation. 324. Facilitating in ...
Read more