Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation 2013

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A survey of

Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation by the Fall 2013 cohort, MFA in Design for Social Innovation, School of Visual Arts

a survey of

Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation Fall 2013 Edition

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4 0 International License See creativecommons org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4 0/

a survey of

Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation Ways of seeing, working, and being for the work of creating social health, presented as a set of mini-posters

Created by the Fall 2013 cohort of the MFA in Design for Social Innovation, School of Visual Arts Marc Rettig and Hannah du Plessis, Professors New York, New York


How can we advance the practice of creating resilient social health? Our class pursued this question through two interconnected themes: system scale and personal scale. The assignment: summarize a key topic in two pages The pages in this book are student summaries of key topics, concepts, and ideas covered during the Fall 2013 conduct of the Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation course. Drawing from course slides, lecture notes, and assigned readings, each student summarized two topics in mini-posters, which were displayed during the program’s Fall Show, then become a spread in this book.

Creating in communities, organizations, and systems Overview of the program and the course . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv

Some fundamental skills

The SVA DSI class of 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vi

Learning to listen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

The challenge of designing for social innovation

Finding patterns in stories . . . . . . . . . . . 26

The landscape of DSI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Iteration: the fundamental design process .

Complexity ofsocial situations . . . . . . . . . . 4 The Dynamics of living systems . . . . . . . . . 6

Some approaches to designing for social situations Theory U, overview and example . . . . . . . . 8 Positive deviance, overview and example . . 12 Appreciative inquiry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Prototypes as catalysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Emergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

The art of the interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 28

Facilitating dialog and co-creation Six conversations for transformation . . . . . 30 Facilitation: the mutual learning model . . .


Ground rules for effective groups . . . . . . . 34 Prototyping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 The ladder of inference . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 The skills of a facilitator . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 World Cafe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Collective story harvesting . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Open space technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Action replay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Theater of the oppressed . . . . . . . . . . . . 50


Self & team: personal and interpersonal fundamentals What informs behavior?

Cultivating healthy relationships

The enculturation process . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

Self-acceptance and self-care . . . . . . . . . . 74

Constructing an inner world . . . . . . . . . . 54

Relationship to your emotions . . . . . . . . . 76

Forming boundaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Relationship to your body . . . . . . . . . . . . 78

Understanding transformation Introduction to transformation . . . . . . . . . 58 How habits change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 How habits form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Brain states . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Fear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Making peace with the past . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Cultivating awareness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Cultivating compassion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

Relationship to stillness . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Strategies of disconnection . . . . . . . . . . . 82 How to brew a thinking environment . . . . . 84 Healthy work cultures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Unhealthy work cultures . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88

Readings and resources

The program MFA in Design for Social Innovation, School of Visual Arts Design for Social Innovation at SVA is the first MFA program in the rapidly growing field of social impact design. It was created as a much-needed path for designers who want to work at a strategic level within business, government and the social sector to solve the major challenges humanity faces, and to teach non-designers to use design to create positive impact.


The program is unique in a number of important ways:


DSI is cross-disciplinary. We “blow up� and scale traditional design to include invisible systems and mental models, mapping, visualization design, game design, communication and social movement design, metrics, leadership, entrepreneurship and ethics. Students work from the beginning on important challenges with real clients and stakeholders. Our belief is that learning in social design comes from experience, with theory to inspire, support, guide and evaluate it. Stakeholder projects are built into the curriculum, as well as in the form of sponsorships and collaboration on programs and events outside of classes. Our faculty are all working professionals with deep experience in a wide variety of fields from healthcare, innovation, research, game design, venture philanthropy and entrepreneurship, corporate leadership, non-profit leadership, entrepreneurship, academia and philanthropy. We continue to offer new classes and workshops that bring the latest thinking and practice into the program. We are diverse. Our 45 students come from 13 countries, range in age from 22 to 57, and have undergrad degrees from design academies and ivy league schools. Our students’ experience and interests are as diverse as they are. The cumulative effect of this is a cohort that learns from each other as much as from our faculty.


MFA Design for Social Innovation School of Visual Arts 136 West 21st Street, 5th floor New York, New York 10011 Professors Marc Rettig, Hannah du Plessis,

The course Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation This book was produced by students in Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation, a course taken by all students during their first semester in the DSI program. Design for Social Innovation is a relatively new area of study and practice, and students come to the course from diverse backgrounds. The course covers material in three main areas: • design fundamentals • approaches to creating in communities, organizations and systems • the fundamentals of personal and interpersonal transformation The Fundamentals course is built on the following insights and principles, which provide a foundation for the course lectures, readings, and projects. Design = creating with intention through iteration If you want to create something good, but you can’t immediately see what it should be or what it should be like, you can walk towards that something good with alternating steps of “understand” and “try.” That’s called design. “Social” is profoundly invisible The “social” in “social innovation” means that we are working with profound things we can’t see: the relationships between people and the depth of their inner life. Communities are living systems A group of people – a family, school, community, organization, and so on – is a thing with a life of its own. The dynamics of its conversations and relationships may change in response to what’s going on around it. And its essential structures and patterns tend to stay the same even though individual people come and go. This is called a “living system.” Living systems are too complex for any one person to comprehend. There are no experts. No control: partner with life’s emergence You can’t just tell a family to change. You can’t control an organizational culture. You can’t bring peace or compassion to a situation by deciding to do it, planning it all out, then following that plan. They are living systems, they have a life of their own. The “command and control” or “decide, plan, and execute” approach is inadequate. But we can help better configurations of the system to emerge from its own insides.

Tend conditions for wholeness to emerge Because of all this, “design for social innovation” means we’re learning to help communities create intentionally for themselves. That will happen one step at a time as they have purposeful experiences and open, purposeful conversations. In this way, we can nurture the conditions needed for lasting positive shifts in the living system to emerge. The tools are experience & dialog We can’t directly change people’s identity, beliefs, and relationships the way we can work directly with physical or digital materials. But we can affect those things indirectly by taking a design approach to people’s conversations and experiences. New ways of seeing, working, and being Anyone who does this kind of work will need new ways of seeing human and social complexity, new ways of working because this is more like gardening than manufacturing. And they’ll need new ways of being because you can’t be successful at this work by being the “expert,” the “decider,” or the “creative one.” This work requires our whole being. You can’t do this without cultivating your Self In order to work with other people’s relationships and the depth of their inner life, we need to know how to work with our own inner life and how to cultivate great relationships ourselves.

The SVA DSI class of 2015


Elizabeth Abernethy

Covadonga Abril

Anna Braga

Rachel Dixon

Jenny Emmons

Laura Kadamus

Gina Kim

Michelle Kwon

Ashley Larsen

Meghan Lazier

Juno Lee

Xintong Liu

Marc Rettig, professor

Hannah du Plessis, professor

Akshata Malhotra

Pragya Mishra

Meryl Natow

Robin Newman

Kate Nicholson

Maria Perez Tello

Renzo Perez-Acosta

Swar Raisinghani

Rhea Rakshit

Haya Shaath

Yuka Uogishi

Liora Yuklea

The challenge of designing for social innovation “Most of the management approaches we have in place have evolved from order, not from complexity. But most human systems are complex. So we need to rethink the way we research and the way we do decision-making. ...A complex adaptive system is not causal, it’s dispositional. There are no foreseeable repeating relationships between cause and effect. You can however make out how the system is disposed to act. It may evolve in this way, it may evolve in that way, but it can’t evolve in that direction. So understanding they are dispositional systems, not causal systems, is key.” Dave Snowden, Cognitive Edge

The Design for Social Innovation program sits on a frontier of design practice: it prepares students to address social systems challenges, work which is fundamentally different from the design of physical or digital products. Our course opened with a look at the complexity of working in social systems. Understanding the nature of this complexity helps us identify the kinds of approaches and methods we will require to succeed at our work. The key insight is that social situations are a special kind of complex adaptive system.... Social systems are in constant dancing change A human system is a dynamic system. Which is to say, each of its people and structures are constantly shifting and moving in a kind of dance, as everyone reacts to one another and to the world outside the system. So we can’t tell what’s going on by looking at a snapshot, or by looking at just the parts. Any static description of the situation will be inadequate. Social complexity is different than other complexity Social systems are mostly made of people. Objects, software, laws, policies, processes and so on play roles, but they are not the heart of the system. And social systems are especially made of people in relationship to one another. So most of what makes a human system “social” is invisible: people’s inner lives, relationships, identities, beliefs, stories, conversations, and so on. So-called “best practices” can’t be relied upon The nature of social complexity is such that there is no way to predict the affect of an intervention (unlike say, a physical or digital system). And we can’t say ahead of time what a “desirable” configuration is going to be like. We can’t specify a “solution” ahead of time, and we can’t plan in detail beyond our next step. But there’s hope While the study of complex human systems is relatively new, there is much we can learn from living systems theory, the practice of organizational learning, and many other pioneers who have something to teach us about the daunting, but not inaccessible, complexity of the work we’ve chosen to do.


solutions come from experts and are designed for social systems made of smaller social systems

health and wellness for society is built into systems with social systems made of smaller social systems

systems emerge in society due to the inherent abilities of social systems made of smaller social systems


solutions come from experts and are designed for social systems made of individuals

health and wellness for society is built into systems with social systems made of individuals

systems emerge in society due to the inherent abilities of social systems made of individuals


solutions come from experts and are designed for individuals

health and wellness for society is built into systems with individuals

systems emerge in society due to the inherent abilities of the individuals



Design for…

Design with…



Nurture the conditions for life…


As you move up the y-axis (social scale) the size of the social system increases. Level 1 is merely individuals, Level 2 is social systems made of individuals (such as a school), and Level 3 and higher are social systems that can be broken down into smaller social systems (such as a school district or districts within a county). In other words, work becomes more complicated and typically more widespread as you move up this diagram. Along the x-axis (depth of process and outcome), the reach of influence of the project in question increases. From left-toright, the diagram begins with “designing for”, or situations where an outsider comes in to influence change, such as a doctor. Next is “designing with” which is when the designer is an insider. Finally is “nurture the conditions for life”, beyond designing within a system, and ultimately is a society or system in which change is self-produced.


Complexity of Social Situation



e cannot address our tough challenges only through driving towards self-realization or only through driving towards unity. We need to do both. Often we assume that all it takes to create something new — whether in business or politics or technology or art ­— is purposefulness or power. This is because we often assume that the context in which we create is an empty world: an open frontier, a white space, a blank canvas. In general this assumptions is incorrect.

A challenge is socially complex when the actors involved have different perspectives and interests; such challenges cannot successfully be addressed by experts or authorities, but only with the engagement of the actors themselves. And a challenge is generatively complex when its future is fundamentally unfamiliar and undetermined; such challenge cannot successfully be addressed by applying “best practice” solutions from the past, but only by growing new, “next practice” solutions.

Our society is increasingly full of diverse, strong, competing voices and ideas and cultures. This fullness is the fundamental reason why, in order to address our toughest social challenges, we need to employ not only power but also love.

Social situations all exhibit all three of these complexities:

A challenge is tough when it is complex in three ways. A challenge is dynamically complex when cause and effect are interdependent and far apart in space and time; such challenges cannot successfully be addressed piece by piece, but only by seeing the system as a whole.

Social, dynamic, and generative

Power and Love, Adam Kahane

Designed by Michelle Kwon Designing for social innovation, designers must understand the complexities of social systems and approach to problems. For more, see Adam Kahane’s book, Power and Love

Therefore our approaches to complex problems must be

participatory emergent holistic



Existing systems reach apex and begin to decay. At the same time, a new system begins to emerge.

A living system is any non-linear grouping of parts (people included) that are interdependent, and self-organizing. Living systems are also socially, dynamically and generatively complex. Almost anything you can think of, from schools to families to large conglomerate corporations, is an example of a living system. So what does that mean for designers of social innovation? By definition, innovation happens when something new or unfamiliar is introduced. This word is often tied with scientific feats or developing products, but the same principle can be seen while observing the diagram explains how an existing system’s growth and development gives way to the birth of a new living system and how that new system emerges through a process of trying to find its own way. The best part about this diagram? It illustrates the way of all living systems, and by understanding how these systems behave - we can begin to collaborate with this powerful force of life.



Summary and Visualization by Elizabeth Abernethy


dominant system become solo pioneers of the new system.




The new system helps build a bridge for people to cross from the old system to the new one.


Eventually, this community of practice becomes the new system of influence while the old system dies.



Over time, they develop a common purpose to gather around, illuminating posibilities of a new dominant system.



The solo pioneers begin to connect to one another, forming networks that will turn into communities of pracice.

Chris Corrigan “Dynamics of Complex Living Systems”

Linda Booth Sweeney “12 Living System Principles”

Some approaches to designing for social innovation “The challenge is to think broadly enough to have a theory and methodology that have the power to make a difference, and yet be simple and clear enough to be accessible to anyone who wants to make that difference. We need ideas from a variety of places and disciplines to deal with the complexity of community. Then, acting as if these ideas are true, we must translate them into embarrassingly simple and concrete acts.� Peter Block, Community: the structure of belonging

We need new approaches Given the complexity of social systems and situations, methods developed for typical product and business situations often are not adequate on their own. They work when the situation can be addressed through research or expertise, but not when we are trying to foster a positive shift in something that is dynamically, socially complex.

From expert to facilitator, from surface fix to underlying dynamics Most current design methods cast the designer in the role of an expert, who identifies a “problem” that part of society is facing. The focus is then on fixing that problem, addressing that need. But this is inadequate for fostering resilient shifts in social systems, because…

In this course, we covered a number of approaches that have the characteristics needed for having lasting impact in a complex social situation. These approaches are:

• the “problem” can only be identified by seeing the situation from the many points of view that exist inside the system, not by a single expert or team

Participatory: These approaches help us work from inside the situation, involving the people who are live it every day. This system’s future is going to be made of them, and so it must come from them.

• there is unlikely to be a single problem; more likely there are a number of negative dynamics or tendencies in the system, and it will not be clear how best to affect them

Holistic: These approaches help us work with the situation as a whole, not just its parts. Emergent: These approaches help us manage the emergence of a healthier configuration of the system over time, as opposed to “best practice,” “specify and build,” “decide, plan, and implement,” or “decree and comply” approaches. We can’t tell what to do simply from past experience, smart planning, or good forecasting. Our approach must be emergent. In next year’s course, we will drop Appreciative Inquiry from the list of approaches, as we do not find it to be a peer to the other overall approaches we cover. In its place we will add the work of Dave Snowden and his company, Cognitive Edge – the Cynefin framework, distributed ethnography, and managed portfolios of safe-to-fail experiments.

• any “fix” is more likely to affect the symptoms rather than the underlying dynamic that gives rise to the symptoms; design has a poor track record for addressing the roots of a situation • improvements in the situation are less likely to involve things we can see and make, and more likely to involve relationships, conversations, identities, people’s inner lives. It is more likely to involve patterns and tendencies over time than behavior in the moment. A difficult shift Most of us come to this work with a belief (either explicit or tacit) that it is possible to understand a complex system, and become expert in applying methods for intervening in that system. It is a key tenet of the course that both of those things are impossible. That’s the point of talking about the sources of complexity. If it’s dynamically and socially complex, it’s a complex adaptive system, and there’s no such thing as “cause,” “no such thing as “solution,” no such thing as “understand.” There’s only “tendency,” “emerging configuration,” and “sense of pattern.” And that’s why we introduce approaches from people who have worked hard, sometimes at great cost, to develop approaches for working with emergence in social systems.

THEORY U The five stages of this process in brief are: Co-initiating, Co-sensing, Co-presencing, Co-creating and Co-evolving. 1. Co-initiating: Listen to others and to what life calls you to do. The first step in the Theory U talks about initiating a intention. This is the culmination of three smaller steps:

The U-Process, also known as Theory U, was co- developed by Otto Scharmer and Joseph Jaworski and colleagues at the Society for Organizational Learning, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Generon Consulting and Reos Partners. Theory U is a social technology for addressing highly complex challenges or issues. It is an innovation process, a theory and a set of practices, for creating unprecedented relationships, networks and innovations within and across the worlds of business, government, and civil society. Theory U is appropriate for issues or problems that are highly complex and systemic, where existing approaches to change or solving the issue are clearly not working.

Attending: By constantly observing, in a non judgmental fashion, to what our heart desires to do and to what other people want us to do we develop the ability to view our own intentions with greater clarity. Connecting: After gaining clarity about your own field of interest, you initiate dialogue with the most interesting people involved in that field by staying open to suggestions and having the perseverance to move forward when faced with rejections or data that does not fit well with your intentions. Co-initating: Finally, you bring together the right people at the right time in the right place. Meeting such a group of people where no single person has greater control leads to the group creating a common spark of intention. 2. Co-sensing: Go to the places of most potential and listen with your mind and heart wide open. The second step is to take the first steps towards putting it into action. This can be explained through these steps: Clarify: The core teams asks and answers the important questions of What, Why, How, Who and when along with setting additional goals for the project. Discover: By shadowing, participating and initiating dialogue with people one discovers answers to some of the core questions regarding a project. Observe: One has to suspend one’s voice of judgement to be open to exploration and wonder. The idea is to observe without forming opinions or ideas.


Listening & Conversing: The most effective interviews with people happen when and interviewer approaches the interview with an open heart and will.

4. Co-creating: Prototype a microcosm of the new in order to explore the future by doing. By prototyping and constant iteration of it we learn things faster and with feedback from stakeholders we make our ideas stronger.

Collective Sensing: By creating an environment where everyone involved interacts and contributes freely, one can tap into a vast resource of individual knowledge and perspectives to lead to collective sense making and thinking.

Power of Intention: By setting a vision and intention that shows people what they do makes a difference and is something they connect to they will willingly give all they have a project.

3. Co-presencing: Retreat and reflect, allow the inner knowing to emerge. Here one is focusing on connecting the knowledge gathered to the future you want to see emerge.

Core Groups: When a group functions well they bring in newer people, create opportunities and resources that builds momentum to propel toward the eventual goal.

Letting go: Learning to let go of these fears and having the courage to step into unknown territory forms the base for good leadership.

Prototype: By creating smaller, lower fidelity versions of our future vision we maximizing our chances of learning more early on and anticipate better what will work and what will fail with the vision.

Letting come: As humans, a part of us is defined by our experiences to this point and another is the dormant one of what we could become through our future experiences. By connecting these two parts that reside within us we create a space that can help us evolve to our greatest potential. Intentional Silence: By practicing being silent one makes space for reflection and contemplation that helps us tie loose ends and gain clarity about future course of action. Follow your journey: Accessing our greatest potential involves doing what you love and loving what you do. While we live in a society that encourages reward driven behavior by encouraging people to do what they love you create an environment in which people do the right things just because they are right. Circles of Presence: When people who share a bond and feel a need for deeper inquiry into their personal and professional journeys come together to and raise issues and discuss challenges they face they can form a space in which the participants support one another.

Integrate head, heart and hand: A successful project invariably involves the integration of the head, hear and hands and improves our chances of striking on innovating ideas. Iterate: Its important we don’t fall in love with our initial ideas so much that we are not open to opportunities to improve it further by remaining open to suggestions. 5. Co-evolving: Grow innovation ecosystems by seeing and acting from the emerging whole. Along with the innovative ideas we need to provide the necessary infrastructure for these ideas to get adopted. Acting from the Emerging Whole: One has to understand the current system, imagine the future that one aspires to have and act in ways to make that future possible. Create Innovation Infrastructure: Innovation, just like a seed, needs a physical place, connectivity, nourishment and developmental space to become sustainable.

The 5 Movements of the U-Process

We need to evolve systems where transformational changes in one part inspire similar changes in another. Theory U is being applied by many Creative people in business, social entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists are intuitively, in the process of idea or innovation creation, using this process. The U-Process takes what has previously been an individual, tacit, intuitive, and largely unrepeatable practice, and embodies it in a methodology that can be used collectively and consciously to open up and create visible fields of opportunity. When used to bring together multistakeholder or multi-sectoral groups, Theory U creates shared action-learning spaces, within which diverse teams become capable of team learning and collective intelligence. As Marc Rettig says: “It’s a formula for bringing together people from across a social system, opening their hearts and minds by giving them a chance to see the whole system together, then tap into their intuitive side – the deepest part of themselves– both individually and collectively in a way that grounds creative efforts in a profound shift in the way they see their own future. It’s a version of the design process that is explicitly participatory and emergent.” Its something that can be very useful to us in the context of Social Innovation. You can read more in the book: Theory U : Learning from the Future as It Emerges by C. Otto Scharmer

1. Co-initiating

5. Co-evolving

Listen to others and to what life calls you to do

Grow innovation ecosystems by seeing and acting from the emerging whole

2. Co-sensing

4. Co-creating

Go to the places of most potential and listen with your mind and heart wide open

Prototype a microcosm of the new in order to explore the future by doing

3. Co-presencing Retreat and reflect, allow the inner knowing to emerge

The U-Process can be illustrated simply as shown in the diagram. The five stages are shown in an U-shaped curve from which the theory gets it’s name. Compiled by Pragya Mishra | December 14, 2013

THEORY U THE SUSTAINABLE FOOD LAB: A CASE STUDY In 2004, a range of leaders and pioneers from multi-national food companies, global and local NGOs, farmers associations and cooperatives were invited to experience a new way of learning and working together. Through action and dialogue, they were invited to explore and create ways of “bringing sustainable food chains into the mainstream�. The meetings involved travelling out of the boardroom and into the field, engaging with the human and environmental dimensions of agriculture on the ground. These experiential meetings came under the title of the Sustainable Food Lab (SFL), reflecting the intention of creating a laboratory for a new experimental form of collaboration and innovation. The deep structure of the Sustainable Food Lab was the application of the U-Process showcased here.

Mid-Course Review november 2005

Realizing Design Studio april 2005

The kick-off for the innovation initiatives. Executive champions were also invited.

The team synthesized observations from learning journeys, constructed a set of food system innovations, crystallized visions of the future and identified strategic leverage points for shifting the systems towards this aim

Austria Brazil

Sensing Learning Journeys august -september 2004

Costa Rica

Trips organized around learning agendas developed in the first workshop designed to help the participants learn about the system by observing it firsthand.


Presencing & Realizing Innovation Retreat

november 2004

The team synthesized observations from learning journeys, constructed a set of food system innovations, crystallized visions of the future and identified strategic leverage points for shifting the systems towards this aim

The Netherlands

Sensing Foundation Workshop june 2004

The team began to construct a shared map of the current reality of the sysytem, based on varied perspectives and experiences. They identified areas for further research and learning.


The Food Lab as a Case of a U journey

Foundation Workshop

1. Co-initiating

5. Co-evolving


Realising Venture Launch june 2006

New York

The lab team, the Executive Champions, and other interested parties reviewed the results from the completed innovation initiatives, and decided which ones to scale and how

Learning Journeys

2. Co-sensing

4. Co-creating

Realizing Design Studio

3. Co-presencing


Presencing & Realizing Innovation Retreat

The Farming Initiative

Provided insights into public perceptions of food supply, along with “alternative frames” that informed how to effectively communicate information about sustainably produced food

The Business Coalition of US Based Companies Initiative

Steadily expanded in membership with a first round of “quick win” projects. A new coalition of Brazil based companies was also planned.

The Fisheries Initiative

Delivered economic benefits to fish harvesters and better management of fisheries whilst prospecting for financial resources worldwide

The Food for Health and Learning Initiatives

Planned to create new combinations of public officials and opinion leaders to provide better year round food in school and public health systems

The Responsible Commodities Initiative

Analyzed dozens of on going commodity certification efforts and developing a metastandard to simplify information flow about standards and certifications

for more examples and references, see... Websites 1. 2. 3. summaries.php Book 4. Theory U : Learning from the Future as It Emerges by C. Otto Scharmer Compiled by Pragya Mishra | December 14, 2013

POSITIVE DEVIANCE Summary and Design by Rhea Rakshit

THE DEFINITION Positive Deviance is based on the observation that in every community there are certain individuals or groups whose uncommon behaviors and strategies enable them to find better solutions to problems than their peers, while having access to the same resources and facing similar or worse challenges.

the approach “The traditional model for social and organizational change doesn’t work. It never has. You can’t bring permanent solutions in from outside.” - Jerry Sternin, Co-Founder, Positive Deviance Initiative The Positive Deviance approach offers an alternative to traditional change models - it looks for solutions within communities to bring about behavioral change. The two main features of this approach are co-creating solutions with communities through a process of discovery, and engaging community members to introduce these solutions to the rest of the group, to encourage behavioral change. By identifying positive deviant behavior among specific individuals or groups within a community, the approach allows communities to discover solutions that are already working for some of their members, who are facing the same challenges and resource constraints, but are using them in a more productive way. This also means that the solutions (behaviors) are both affordable and sustainable, and do not conflict with local culture. Positive Deviance also strongly emphasizes the distinction between teaching communities what to do, versus encouraging them to practice specific behaviors by discovering their benefits through the community themselves. The approach starts and ends with the community, as community members are involved integrally in every step of the Positive Deviance process. Various stakeholders and representatives of a community are first invited to participate in a project, following which they collectively define the problem they are trying to resolve, the factors that contribute towards it, and the outcome they are trying to achieve. Once this is determined, they collectively participate in each step of the process, right from discovery to design to monitoring and evaluation (as illustrated in the following page). Finally, the community members themselves are responsible for spreading the word about their conclusions, encouraging a more organic, bottom up alternative to encouraging behavioral change, and moving towards more successful outcomes.

The Positive Deviance Initiative: Rosenberg, T. “When Deviants Do Good. “ New York Times, February 27 2013 Dorsey, D. “Positive Deviant.” Fast Company Magazine, December 2000 Marsh, D., Schroeder, D. G., Dearden, K. A., Sternin, J., Sternin, M. “The Power of Positive Deviance.” British Medical Journal, May 12 2009


Positive Deviants are individuals or groups within a community that engage in uncommon behaviors that lead to successful outcomes, even though they are faced with the same challenges and resource constraints as the rest of the community.



The second step is to determine the presence of Positive Deviant individuals or groups within the community, by first deciding on a selection criteria, i.e. criteria that they meet the desired outcome even when faced with the some or many of the same resource constraints or challenges met by the rest of the community.

discover Step three is to discover the uncommon behavior patterns or strategies adopted by the positive deviant individuals or groups, which differ from normative community behavior, and lead to successful outcomes. This is done both by the processes of observation and inquiry, conducted by members of the Community Volunteers.










The first step of the Positive Deviance Approach is to have the community collectively define the following: the problem statement, the various factors, challenges and constraints that are currently perceived to be causing the problem, and the desired outcome of the project.



Once the uncommon positive deviant behaviors have been discovered and identified, they are shared with the rest of the project stakeholders and participants. The community members then collectively design activities that the rest of the community can easily practice and engage in, in order to experience for themselves the benefits of adopting these behavior strategies.

Finally, the Community Volunteers monitor and evaluate the project and the resulting initiatives, in order to document and share any improvements in the community, and any movement towards the desired goal. This helps the community understand the effectiveness of the initiative, by observing the positive changes or outcomes as they occur.





The traditional approach to designing social programs in the field of international development has been primarily prescriptive - a team of consultants working on a project (usually donor-driven) parachute in to communities, research and observe their behavior for a given period of time, devise a set of conclusions, and invariably tell communities what they should or should not be doing to achieve a specific outcome.

The concept of Positive Deviance takes exactly the opposite approach - it places the community in the center of the problem solving process, with the belief that solutions to challenges being faced by the community can be found within the community members themselves. By focusing on co-creation, designing interventions with communities, rather than for communities, this approach is a classic example of applying human centered design thinking principles to solving real issues.

POSITIVE DEVIANCE: CASE STUDY Summary and Design by Rhea Rakshit

case study: positive deviant voices One of the most successful projects conducted by the Positive Deviance Initiative is in the education sector in New York City. In 2012, Deputy Mayor for Health and Nutrition, Linda Gibbs, reached out to the Positive Deviance Initiative to see how their approach could be applied to the issue of educational outcomes among adolescent male students of color in the city. This lead to the launch of a pilot project called Positive Deviant Voices (PDV), conducted in the neighborhood of Morissania in the South Bronx in New York City. Given low school success, as reflected by low highschool graduation rates, experienced by African American and Latino males students in New York City due to a number of different factors, the community collectively decided that the desired outcome of the project would be to have the majority of male students of color be successful in school in the coming years.

the process The Positive Deviance Initiative facilitated this project in conjunction with the Children’s Aid Society and the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, with funding from the Mayor’s Fund. After defining the project’s problem statement, desired outcome, and conceptual framework (see next page), they then invited a range of stakeholders from the community to participate in the project. Stakeholders included students, administrators, teachers, parents and other community members like school guards, janitors, coaches, pastors, tutors, counselors, mentors, shop owners and the police. The majority of students, as well as one teacher and administrator, were from PS 190 Middle School. A group of 8 male African American and Latino positive deviant students from the 6th, 7th and 8th grades at PS 190 were identified on the basis of their school performance (Honor Roll). They were interviewed by the core group of community volunteers regarding their deviant behavior strategies.

current status After conducting interviews with the selected positive deviant students during the pilot phase (May 2012 to June 2013), the community group volunteers, primarily comprising the students themselves, presented their findings to the larger community. In July 2013, a group of rising 8th and 9th grade students from PS 190 designed and executed an intership program to orient the rest of the students to the Positive Deviance process, share their learnings, and re-think existing behaviors among students. The project is currently in the replication phase, for further roll-outs in other schools and communities.


Morissania (South Bronx, NYC) Morissania is a primarily low-income residential neighborhood located in the South Bronx in New York City. It is a part of Community Board 3. The majority of residents in the area are of African American, Puerto Rican or Dominican descent. In 2010, the Schott 50 State Report ranked New York City as the second worst with respect to high school graduation rates among African American male students. NYU’s 2009 Steinhardt Report stated that only 44% of African American and Latino male students from the 2005 cohort graduated after 6 years of highschool in New York City.

for more information For more information of Positive Deviant Voices, as well as other projects facilitated by the Positive Deviance Institute, please visit their website: projects/index.html.











Problem: the majority of African American and Latino male students in the Bronx do not succeed in school. Influencing factors: teen dating, family life, time management, after school activities, violence and respect received both in and outside of school. Outcome: most of these students will be successful in the future.

African American and Latino students who have an 80% average in all subjects, and who have experienced one or more of the following: gang violence or tough police tactics, single parents households, households where English is not a primary language.

A team of fellow students conducted individual interviews with “positive deviants� to discover uncommon behaviors, such as: sitting in the front of the class, showing consideration to all students, eating family meals together, reveiwing homework, etc.

The students design an internship program with alumni members to share the Positive Deviance process and discovered behaviors among the students at PS 190.

The community volunteers record and share the experiences of the students once they start practicing and adopting the behavior strategies identified among the positive deviant students, and move towards better school outcomes.

Photos: Members of the Positive Deviant Voices Community Resource team sharing their learnings. All photos have been taken from the Positive Deviant Voices gallery in the Positive Deviance Initiative website.

Appreciative Inquiry, or AI for short, is a way of working with change in any human group by asking questions about the group at its best and designing a future that draws on the strengths uncovered. This methodology encourages groups to inquire about, learn from, and build on what is working for them currently (or in the past), rather than becoming fixated on what is wrong and how to fix it. This focus on strengths and achievements, rather than on deficits and problems, is what makes

Solving Problems by Focusing on What Is Already Working

The ideal goal for this process is to get everyone in the room that needs to be there, creating the most complete and diverse group made, as possible.

Before you can analyze a situation, you need to define what it is you are alooking at. Make sure that your topic doesn’t constrain you too much. Appreciative Inquiry asks participants to explore as many possibilities and pathways as possible, so having narrowly defined problems sometimes simultaneously narrows your ability to think broadly.

Here, you need to look at and learn from as many sources as possible. Take a look into what worked well in the past, as well as what is currently working well for you. Get as many people involved as possible in this part of the process, and design your questions to collect stories (as these will help you figure out what might be working!) When you feel like you’ve gathered enough raw information, it’s time to analyze it and identify what contributes the most to your current and past successes.


Stephanie Judy + Susan Hammond “An Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry”

Appreciative Inquiry Commons

“Deficit-based approaches leave people with the impression that their community is full of problems and needs, many of which require the help out outside experts to overcome. This focus on needs entrenches a sense of dependence, and reduces people’s motivation to initiate their own activities, projects and enterprises.” AI also promotes ownership of the process and the result, honors diversity, leads to immediate changes, generates solutions grounded in reality, and is sustainable. As designers for Social Innovation, we deal frequently in the realm of wicked problems. This means that, unfortunately, most of the problems we are trying to solve are already very negative in nature. Sometimes, approaching problems from the opposite side (even just in how you phrase your topic) opens your mind to new ideas.

In this part of the Appreciative Inquiry process, you and your team dream of “what might be.” Think about how you can take the positive traits you identified in the previous phase and reinforce them. The way forward may or may not be obvious at this point. If it’s not, try some brainstorming with a diverse group of stakeholders about what you could do. Imagine your future and give it form. This can happen through a skit, poetry, dance, or any other kind of expression you want to try out!

Now that you have a big idea, it’s time to figure out how it could actually happen. This phase looks deeper into all of the practicalities needed to support your vision. Drill down into all of the processes and strategies that you will need in order for your dream to be realized. Define your values, ideals, methods of change/growth that can achieve your dreams.

Requiring the most planning and preparation of any of the phases, it’s time to turn your vision into a reality. The key here is the focal point. While deliverables or tasks to complete here, the overall result is an example of the changes that occur simultaneously throughout the organization. Everyone is all serving and working together towards supporting and sustaining your big dream. Make specific real-time plans for realizing the design elements you developed.

Prototypes as Catalysts Laura Kadamus

as catalysts for something new to grow. They allow designers to iterate on the go, testing solutions and immediately modifying them according to success. These prototypes are called catalytic probes, because they allow designers to immediately see if their ideas are creating change.

Dave Snowden, an expert on complex-

ity theory and founder of Cognitive Edge explains catalytic probes simply - through a children’s party.

You want to host a successful party,

but a group of 17 nine year olds are a complex social system, difficult to control. To get a good party to emerge, you need them to calm down a bit to get lunch together. So you put a movie on. The kids come in and sit down, becoming absorbed in the film. So you keep it on. If the movie didn’t work, you would try something else. This is the basis of prototypes as catalytic probes. If your initial idea - the movie - didn’t work, you would have iterated it, perhaps by organizing a game or some other activity. Since it worked and the movie calmed the kids down, you leave it on.


At DSI, it is necessary to understand the

power of catalytic probes. We are trying to create social innovations. In doing so, we must understand systems and the people who live within them. When working with these systems, we begin by co-creating low fidelity prototypes to see what ideas work. These prototypes can be situational, based on relationships, the environment, or anything else within the boundaries of the system. They can turn into catalytic probes and lead us to a deeper understanding of the system we want to improve. We can better utilize this approach with a clear understanding of complexity theory.

Systems are messy. We don’t always

know how they will act or how our prototypes will play out. Complexity theory is based around this concept that systems are messy. But they are also adaptive, made of dynamic interactions, and, most importantly, have flexible boundaries. When necessary, designers can adjust these boundaries to work within the system. Flexible boundaries give designers the space to play, iterate, and prototype, fostering the power to create within complexity.

Catalytic Probes It’s a Birthday!

let’s try an activity see if something good can emerge

create attractor put on a movie

try something else

(create a new attractor)

ify (keep movie o ampl n)

Prototypes made of people can serve

start a football game

positive attractor

the kids are calm

negative attractor the kids are not calm


How do we create within complexity? This city is a complex system...nothing seems to get done, but the downtown area desperately needs to be revitalized 2 ways to approach the problem:

1. The traditional way: “CODE” “TAX”



2 weeks of work (city official)

2. Start prototyping! “LET’S TRY IT OUT”



2 weeks of work

(example from The Better Block)

There is no science to prototyping with people in complex

systems. It takes trial and error, iteration and flexibility. It requires awareness to pick up on the stakeholders’ reactions to the prototype as quickly as possible, and modify accordingly. There is no way to know what will happen until you facilitate a new idea. So go do. The results may surprise you.

To learn more go to:

“Prototyping is creating

landing strips for

the future” Otto Sharmer


Some essential skills “[The] future is not just about firefighting and tinkering with the surface of structural change. It’s not just about replacing one mind set that no longer serves us with another. It’s a future that requires us to tap into a deeper level of our humanity, of who we really are and who we want to be as a society. ...This inner shift, from fighting the old to sensing and presencing an emerging future possibility, is at the core of all deep leadership work today. It’s a shift that requires us to expand our thinking from the head to the heart. It is a shift from an ego-system awareness that cares about the well-being of oneself to an eco-system awareness that cares about the well-being of all, including oneself.” Otto Scharmer

All of the approaches we covered in class require us to develop a common set of skills. Some of those skills can be learned in few hours, but many involve a career’s worth of developing mastery. We divided skill development into the following rough categories. Understanding: seeing and sense-making •

Seeing and listening without the filters and bias of judgement and interpretation. Helping others do the same.

Seeing the dynamics of a human system from many points of view.

Making sense of large collections of stories and story fragments.

Connecting a team personally to a situation: the difference between being able to explain something as an outsider, and having an insider’s gut-felt understanding for it.

What to do in the case of dynamically complex human systems, which can’t be genuinely “understood”: engage the whole system in collective understanding

Design fundamentals Many students in the class had no formal education in design prior to joining the DSI program. Knowing they are getting more of this in other courses, we limited our attention in this class to the most fundamental: “The heart of design is intention, and the engine of design is iteration.” Facilitation and social prototyping Design for social innovation often involves helping groups of people see, converse, and create together. We need tools that people can use to move forward through differing viewpoints, conflict, unequal power dynamics, and old stories that get in the way of the new. Students learned a number of common methods for facilitating dialog and co-creation, and had an introduction to some of the key fundamentals of becoming a good facilitator. An important question for this course, one which we are still learning how to experiment with, is this: we know what prototypes are and how to use them when our materials are physical or digital; but how can we get the same benefit of iterative insight when we need to prototype new ways of relating to one another, new ways of holding conversation, new stances toward one another, power dynamics, senses of personal identity and place in the larger system? We are finding clues about answers both in the emerging area of service design, and in the time-tested techniques of theater.

Learning to Listen

By Meghan Lazier

Why Listening Matters and the richness of the human experience are largely Relationships expressed through conversation and story. Just like any other skill listening is a habit. Practice can improve your relationships, your work and your writing. That’s why it’s an essential skill for social innovators.!

The Technique The concept of listening is simple. It’s being consciously open to hearing another person, expressing your curiosity by asking probing our clarifying questions. Listening is about giving presence and recognition.! 
 It may help to take notes as you listen. The goal is not to write down what you hear word for word, but to jot down reminders or things of interest so you can bring your presence back to listening. Once you are organized and present, it’s time to switch into observation mode.!

The “Problem” With Good Listeners “This is the problem with dealing with someone who is actually a good listener. They don’t jump in on your sentences, saving you from actually finishing them, or talk over you, allowing what you do manage to get out to be lost or altered in transit. Instead, they wait, so you have to keep going.”
 – Sarah Dessen, Just Listen !


Moving Your Center of Attention
 By shifting your center of attention, you can learn to listen without making judgments and interpretations. But without practice, it’s easy to fall into the lazy habits of listening.! Judgment: Inner judgment sounds like: “I know that already.” “I’ve seen that before.” “I disagree. That’s not how it is.” Stop judging what you’re hearing before it has a chance to fully develop.!

Distance: Distance is the arrogance or callousness that prevents us from really listening and understanding. We engage with distance when we see ourselves as separate from those “not in our tribe.”!

Fear: Fear doesn’t want you to get too far into other people’s contexts, to surrender to their world and accept it as valid, especially if it’s different from your own views.!

Solutions: When you find yourself solving others’ problems, you are listening for a solution, not a need. Listen for needs.!

Check Yourself
 You know you’re not really listening when:! ! •  You’re finishing others’ sentences! •  Trigger words send your thoughts wandering! •  Vocabulary or a way of speaking has your attention! •  You’re thinking about what you’re going to say next! •  You feel that your attention span is limited! •  You’re thinking about how you feel about what was just said!




Facilitating dialog and co-creation “Conversations are very powerful tools of action and change…. Conversation as an approach to work is also merciful, as it does not ask us to take on more weight or responsibility; it simply asks us to stay involved, to keep the conversation going. ...Trying to get people engaged in a particular task is often impossible through coercion or legislation. Human beings do not often change gladly to do others’ bidding— whether it’s to change their behavior or to increase their productivity or to pursue the many goals of the organization. What we can do, however, is to create a conversation that is invitational to our own and other people’s best powers, that releases imagination, creativity and energy.” David Whyte, Five Conversations on the Frontiers of Leadership

Conversations are THE fundamental There are many ways we could have chosen to spend our limited class time, with many new ideas and skills to learn and practice. From the long list of skills that will be useful to students in their future, we chose to invest heavily in introducing approaches and points of view for facilitating groups of people. as they come to see through one another’s eyes, see the whole system of which they are each a part, find words for possibility and purpose, and explore what something new might look like as they create it together.

“First, conversations reveal what we see in the world and the meaning we attach to what we see. Second, as Autry says, we name things and create reality. Third, we invite others to see what we see, the way we see it. And fourth, through conversations we either sustain or change the meaning of what we see. All these things play a commanding role in creating and defining an organization’s culture.” “The first, most critical step to creating a healthier, more productive culture is to change the conversations. Changing a conversation in the moment can change the culture in the room…. Changing the culture in the room in any given moment is the best any of us can do. If new conversations change the culture in the room enough times and in enough rooms, the organizations culture will change.” “Change will not survive or thrive if we continue having the same conversations.” Jamie & Maren Showkeir, Authentic Conversations

Six Conversations for Transformation summary and design by Liora Yuklea

In his book, ‘Community: The Structure of Belonging’, Peter Block lists six conversations that need to be woven through the fabric of community in order for positive change to occur. These conversations invite the community to look towards future gifts and possibilities rather than what went wrong in the past. The power of these conversations lies in asking engaging and transforming questions.

The Design for Social Innovation Connection: The six conversations can serve as a model and guide when facilitating groups and communities through change processes and development. Learn more at:



The Invitation is the call to join in the creation of an alternative future. Answering it is a matter of choice, so that the participants are there because they want to be and not because they have to be.

What are the possibilities for the future of the community? where can it go, what can it do? The Possibility conversation is about creating a common goal and vision. Openness and honesty are vital elements to this conversation.



This conversation is about creating Ownership of the process within the community. Those who take responsibility for what they are contributing to the group, for better and for worse, are more likely to succeed in making a positive change effort within.

The Dissent conversation is about creating a space to say ‘no’, to express doubts and reservations. A shared vision emerges from understanding what people don’t want as much as from what people do. When encountering dissent, don’t try to solve it, defend against it or explain it. Just absorb.



This conversation is about invoking authentic commitment from those in the community that are making a promise, with no expectation of return, to the group. The authentic commitment should be made public, to create accountability. The commitment is not mandatory — but those who can should own it.

This conversation is about shifting the gaze from deficiencies to the gifts and potentials of everyone in the group, bringing the strengths of those in the margins into the center. We are better defined by our gifts than by what we are missing, so this conversation creates the space to bring that to the group by choice. A gift is not a gift until offered willingly.


MUTUAL LEARNING MODEL The mutual learning model is recommended for maximizing the productiveness and success of a group. In this form of facilitation, compassion for both yourself and others is a key value. One needs to assume that while they have information to contribute, others in the group do too. This additional information may help fill in missing information, or contribute in a completely new way. The assumption that the other group members have good intentions is also important. With these core values and assumptions in place, the strategies that are implemented will lead to better consequences. Such strategies are to share all relevant information, test assumptions and inferences, and to jointly design the approach to the solution, just to name a few.






































fa li tion

Ground Rules for Effective Groups Summary and design by Gina Kim


Test Assumptions & Inferences When we make an assumption, we sometimes take is as a truth without verifying it. When we make an inference, we: 1. Are unaware of it 2. Consider it to be fact 3. Act on it as if it is true The Ladder of Inference shows us that sometimes we put meaning into the data we select causing us to adopt certain beliefs and later create reflective loops where our beliefs affect the data we select next.


Share All Relevant Information It is very important for group members to be honest and transparent with each other. Group members are encouraged to share data, decisions, and content. Each member is also encouraged to share uncomfortable information such as group members’ feelings about another and their work or disagreements to another’s preferred position.


Use Specific Examples and Agree on What Important Words Mean Sharing detailed relevant information that includes who said what and when and where it happened. This gives others the liberty to determine whether the information in the examples is valid.

Photograph from © 2013 Arden Theatre Company Blog 34


Explain Your Reasoning & Intent Explaining to others what your purpose is and the logical process you’ve used to draw conclusions. By explaining your reasoning and making your strategy transparent, you will open opportunities to actively listen to different views and approaches and learn where you have missed something.



Collectively Design Next Steps and Ways to Test Disagreements 1. Discuss with others your point-of-view on how you want to discuss including your interests, relevant information, reasoning and intent. 2. Inquire others’ point-of-views 3. Sync group members’ interests, relevant information, reasoning and intent.


Focus on Interests, Not Positions

Discuss Undiscussable Issues

First identify the group members’ needs, desires and concerns for any given situation. After agreeing to a set of interests, create solutions or possibilities that will meet the interests.

It is important for groups to discuss issues that may reduce the group’s effectiveness so that members can prevent defensiveness or other conflict. Sometimes group members choose to avoid undiscussable issues because it can be perceived to be uncompassionate.


Combine Advocacy and Inquiry 1. Explain your point-of-view 2. Ask others about their point-of-view 3. Ask others to ask about your point-of-view This creates focused conversations and conditions for learning

Why DSI ? One of the most fundamental lessons social innovators need to learn is how to collaborate and exchange ideas with group members. Being a part of a team is one of the biggest gifts when striving to make the world a better place. You get to be surrounded by like-minded people from diverse backgrounds and skills sets. However, there are times when people’s personalities or point-of-views clash. Because of this, it is very important to learn how to share every data, content, feeling, and interests. By simply being open and ready to listen to every member’s idea and intent, you are laying a foundation to a healthy group environment.


Decision-Making Generates The Level of Commitment Different groups go through different decisionmaking processes, thus generate different levels of commitment and acceptance of a decision. Ideally, groups accept internal commitment, where each group member believes in the decision and will do whatever it takes to put it into effect. However, not all group decision-making generates internal commitment.

To learn more, check out Roger Schwarz’s The Skilled Facilitator

Prototyping Laura Kadamus

Prototypes are preliminary models used to test

an idea, process or product. They serve as trials, allowing designers to test out new designs and adapt them until they arrive at the desired end result. The prototyping process often leads to the discovery of new ideas. Prototypes can be made of anything, from paper to people. When first developing an idea, it is best to make low fidelity prototypes, which are low-cost, easy to construct, and can be rapidly discarded or remade. As the IDEO saying goes, “fail often to learn quickly.” This is the beginning of the prototyping stage, where designers should come up with as many ideas as possible in order to arrive at the best one. As one idea emerges with more clarity, the prototypes become more refined, produced with greater attention to detail and higher fidelity. When designing solutions for systemic problems, people are often the best prototypes. There are many methods to prototyping. No matter the method, prototypes work best when they are flexible, generative and evaluative.

Prototypes are...


They encourage play and lead designers to surprise discoveries.


With low fidelity testing, designers can quickly see what is working, and iterate accordingly. Designers test, see, and modify ideas as they work. a


Laseau’s Funnel (Bill Buxton):



more detail, higher fidelity, clearer ideas

less detail, more imagination, fast paced, more ideas

THE DESIGN PROCESS initial ideas

final design

MESSY Prototyping is not linear, it looks more like this: Designing Things:

At DSI, we use prototypes to test concepts and

learn through doing. They help us develop new ideas and build systems through iteration. Prototyping is especially important when designing social systems, where the stakeholders are real and the goals is to have big impact. To better realize the needs of the stakeholders, we must prototype systems in small parts, so we can quickly see the outcome and adjust the process accordingly. This helps ensure that the results matter and have a positive impact on the lives of the stakeholders. We don’t want to innovate for innovations sake. We want to innovate to create positive systemic change in the world, and prototyping will help us get there.


Find the essence and intention together

Have ideas together

Decide what prototypes to make

Designing Systems:

Find the essence and intention together

Have ideas together

Make, iterate, play, co-create to see what emerges together

The system comes to Life!

Decide what prototypes to make

most importantly, prototypes reveal that


Make, iterate, play, co-create to see what emerges together


The user speaks out loud while performing a set of tasks

Observing interaction of the user within the context of the service

The magic comes from a “man behind a curtain�

Constructive Interaction

Service Prototype

Wizard of Oz

Simulate the user experience

Develop interaction flows

Use a model, illustration or collage to describe an idea

Experience Prototype

Use Cases

Mock up

Inspect usability based on predefined criteria

Evaluators experience a user journey for themselves

Get a number of users to try a mockup in an everyday context

Heuristic Evaluation

Cognitive Walkthrough

Usability Testing

To learn more: Sketching User Experience, by Bill Buxton


OF INFERENCE SUMMARY AND design by gina kim have you ever made a conclusion that was proven wrong? did anybody ever tell you to get your facts checked? many times our daily conclusions come from the values and upbringings we've accumulated in our lives. in Roger Schwarz's The Skilled Facilitator he introduces the ladder of inference, adapted from peter senge's, The Fifth Discipline and business theorist, chris Argyris's organizational principles. The ladder of inference is a model that helps us and others analyze hard data and test assertions so that we can validate conclusions. we can analyze our reasonings by working down the ladder and tracing facts and inferences. This model helps us identity where we are on the ladder so that we could re-evaluate our inferences at the right stage.


Why DSI ? At DSI we learn that it is important to know how we make our assumptions and to test if they are valid. By using the ladder of inference, we could widen our field of data and draw better conclusions. Instead of narrowing our field of judgment, we could use our beliefs , Values and experiences in a positive and innovative way.

To learn more about the Ladder of inference read: Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook by Roger Schwarz The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge

I take


based on my beliefs

I adopt


about the world

I draw


Reflective Loop

I make


based on the meanings I added

I add


shaped by my cultural and personal values



from what I observed

I observe


Our beliefs affect the data we select next time

What Data am i including? What Data am i excluding? Example: Fly on the wall or the way a videotape would capture it


The Skills of a Facilitator summary and design by Liora Yuklea

A facilitator is a craftsman of process. According to Jon C. Jenkins and Maureen R. Jenkins in ‘The 9 Disciplines of a Facilitator: Leading Groups by Transforming Yourself’, a facilitator should possess three type of skills: facilitating the environment, facilitating diagnosis, and facilitating resolution.

The Design for Social Innovation Connection: Add this skill set to your innovation toolbox and you will be prepared to craft your way through positive and efficient group processes and facilitation. Learn more at:

Facilitating the Environment

“What social/psychological atmosphere is needed to get this job done?” It is difficult for group processes to be effective without the right environment and setting. People need to have a sense of comfort and trust in order to find the willingness in themselves to take risks and get creative. The facilitator should cultivate an enabling atmosphere of support, mutual respect and safety in the group. She/he need to be committed to modeling behaviors, guiding the internal dynamics of the group and intervening in positive and supportive ways and techniques. Facilitators make sure that the group members are provided with a sense of support both from the inside and the outside, in the framework and ecosystem the group is a part of. Environment is both physical and spiritual — make sure the workspace feels warm and inviting, start meetings with group agreements and provide breaks. Smile and listen. Really listen. 40

Facilitating Diagnosis “What is going on here?”

The facilitator is able to read and understand the challenges and opportunities the group is facing, and how those can be addressed. She/he need to know what questions to ask and how to ask them — different experiences produce different answers. The starting point for diagnosis is some model or a set of models that serve the facilitator as underlying assumptions on the group’s structure and dynamics. Gareth Morgan offers some metaphors as options — a group can be like a machine, an organism, a brain, a culture, a political system, a psychological reality, a system of flux and transformation or an instrument of domination. It is up to the facilitator to use different models to examine and understand what the group is, what challenges are in its path — and then, what can be done about it.

Facilitating Resolution

“What can be done to improve the situation?” The most common form of facilitation is reaching resolution — enabling group decision making, implementation and discussion. It is the result of combining the promise of the situation with the solution reached by the group and the commitment by all participants to materialize the two. The facilitator needs to know how to manage the content, process and people. What information needs to be there? how is it dealt with? who is in the group and how does everyone interact? These insights best emerge from working with the group, co—creating and co—facilitating. Understanding the group, its dynamics and objectives enables flexibility, which is the sign of effective interaction. The facilitator is able to deal with the situation going in a new direction, managing through iterations and different approaches effectively, without losing control or the group going off course. She/he can see the big picture and communicate it inwardly and outwardly.

WORLD CAFE The World Cafe is a natural and effective way to host meaningful conversations that awaken collective wisdom & engage collaborative action. - The World Cafe Online Community 42


clarify the purpose create a hospitable space explore questions that matter encourage everyone’s contribution connect diverse perspectives listen for insights and share discoveries

The questions(s) you choose or that participants discover during a Café conversation are critical to its success. Your Café may explore a single question or several questions may be developed to support a logical progression of discovery throughout several rounds of dialogue. Well-crafted questions attract energy and focus our attention to what really counts. Experienced Café hosts recommend posing open-ended questions—the kind that don’t have yes or no answers. Good questions need not imply immediate action steps or problem solving. They should invite inquiry and discovery vs. advocacy and advantage. You’ll know you have a good question when it continues to surface new ideas and possibilities. Bounce possible questions off of key people who will be participating.



This simple facilitation tool is powerful in enabling all participants to co-create rich fields of learning, while strengthening` connections between everyone involved in the process. Story harvesting is a valuable method in the field of social innovation because it helps us better understand the systems we are trying to improve, from multifaceted perspectives.



STORYTELLING Participants choose an arc and story they want to listen to, and surround the storyteller accordingly.



ies or st



eposts for in guid n o as va tio n


e storyte r mor ller eo s on


mcic stori es ste sy


e on


eposts for in guid n o as v ati on


e storyte r mor ller eo s on

SPECIFIC THEME mcic stori es ste sy


ies or st

Themes (arcs)

mcic stori es ste sy


- Explanation of arcs, let listeners choose their arc - Synopsis of stories - Clustering listeners around stories

The method is outlined below in 4 steps. It is most effectively used when there is more than one storyteller, but one storyteller is sufficient. Participants choose a theme (arc) they want to actively listen for in a chosen story, then converge to discuss their findings within a small group then the group at large.

eposts for in guid nov as at s ie io r n o s t e t r o o r ytel s or m le

One of the best ways for us to learn is through stories. Stories build bridges between storytellers and listeners. By pooling in the wisdom of listeners, group harvesting unearths a magical sense of deeper understanding, insights and aha moments within stories through collective learning.

SMALL GROUP HARVEST Each participant from every arc shares their findings with their small story group.



ing quest i o rify n s cla

g finding arin s sh

Regroup according to arcs. Discuss the meta-harvest question: a common thread that links all groups (group debrief). Also, what are you (storyteller & listeners) taking away from this session?

ing finding r a s sh

ing questio y f i r ns cla


ing ques t i o rify ns cla

g finding arin s sh



The Four Principles


SPACE TECHNOLOGY The end of boring & unproductive meetings

Whoever comes is the right people



When it's over, it's over

STEP 2 Meeting begins. Diverse People are seated in a circle. People are given a theme to think about.


This approach works best when there are high levels of: Complexity, in term of the tasks to be done or outcomes achieved; Diversity, in terms of the people involved and/or needed to make any solution work; Conflict, real or potential, meaning people really care about the central issue or purpose; Urgency, meaning that the time to act was "yesterday".

When it starts is the right time


By Akshata Malhotra

Open Space Technology is a self-organizing practice of inner discipline and collective activity which releases the inherent creativity and leadership in people. By inviting people to take responsibility for what they care about, Open Space establishes a marketplace of inquiry, reflection and learning, bringing out the best in both individuals and the whole.

Whatever happens is the only thing that could have


Some people raise topics they are passionate about and announce it to everyone


All participants reconvene and discuss highlights and key learnings.

Participants split up into smaller groups according to their interests. They are encouraged to move around if they feel they are not contributing in a session. They discuss the topic over a few hours and at the end, compile the discussion into a report which is sent to their group.

The Law of Two Feet

states that “If at any time during the meeting you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet, go someplace else. �

For further information on O.S.T:

Greeting by facilitaor Theme is restated Participants are invited to identify issues related to the theme.

Participants willing to raise a topic come to the center of the circle and announce a short description of it.

ening p O



Agen da Cr ea

Open Space Technology, A User’s Guide by Harrison Owen


rts o ep

Sig n Up

ns Sessio

Ses si o n R

All discussion reports are compiled in a document on site and sent to participants, unedited, shortly after.

ketplace Mar


n tio

All reconvene an hour before closing to share highlights, "ahas" and key learnings in a Dialogue format.

Each person who is wanting to hold a discussion about their topic- writes down their topic and next to it, a time and space where the session will be held.

The remaining participants sign up for the sessions - for the topics they are interested in.

The individual groups go to work. The attendees are free to decide which session they want to attend, and may switch to another one at any time.

FACILITATOR’S CHECKLIST A focusing statement or question for your gathering. Invitation stating theme, date, place, and time for gathering. Space with chairs aligned in a circle Center table with pens & sheets Marketplace Wall Signages for sessions Snacks & Coffee

Why open space?

The most important issues will be raised

People who really care about the issue will be discussing it. Therefore, the results will be action oriented.

In a short time, all of the most important ideas, recommendations, discussions,and next steps will be documented in a report.

Participants will feel engaged and energized by this process

Action RePLAY Action Replay is best suited to the debriefing of exercises in which there is plenty of action involving the whole group. If the “action” was repetitive, it may be too difficult for particiapants to synchronize their replay. Compared to video work, Action Replay is much quicker to set up, edit, and replay (no technical problems). It can be used almost anywhere, keep involvement and energy high and teamwork.

‘ACTION REPLAY’ involves re-enacting an activity as if a video film of the activity is being replayed. Just as on television, the action is ‘played back’ either to examine an incident more closely or to replay an event worth celebrating. Action replay (the ‘no-tech’ version) is such a versatile tool that story-telling is just the starting point. It may be all you wish to do with an action replay. But having managed a successful replay, there are many ways and purposes in which this tool can be used. It can be a source of fun and entertainment, and/or a means of analyzing critical events, and/or exploring future possibilities. This stretches the dictionary meaning of the word ‘replay’, so the word ‘rehearsal’ is a useful replacement if this technique is used for looking into the future. So ‘replay’ and ‘rehearsal’ are essentially the same ‘technique’ but are applied at different stages of the learning cycle. Action Replay has many advantages over video work: • it is more fun • it is cheaper • it keeps involvement and energy high • it is more convenient and saves time • you can do it almost anywhere • you need no equipment (although some ‘props’ might be useful) • it is an exercise in memory, creativity, and teamwork • it can provide everyone with a chance of leadership (as director) • it can be used as a search technique to find incidents or issues to review more thoroughly


Once the reviewer has demonstrated the possibilities, group members can take it in turns to direct the action. The director has some or all of these ‘controls’ to play with: Rewind, Replay, Selected Highlights, Fast Forward, Pause/Freeze, Cut to a Different Scene, Cut and Re-take a scene, Provide Commentary/Voice Over, Slow Motion, with/without Sound, Sound Effects, Advertisement Break, etc.

Action Replay helps to bring back emotions and provides a second opportunity for understanding emotions and learning from other people. It is also much easier to control or step outside emotions if ‘walking through’ the experience at ground level rather than climbing back up to the same high place - where emotions can be so strong that they take over again.

SOURCE: Roger Greenaway who is owner, Reviewing Skills Training and Professional Training & Coaching Specialist. The text on this page was copied verbatim from his web site.

Find out more information


Juno Lee

Theatre of the oppressed The Theatre of the Oppressed explains and details about a variety of theatrical forms that the Brazilian theatre expert Augusto Boal in the early 1970s, initially in Brazil and later in Europe. Theatre of the oppressed permits spectators to engage with the theatrical action and use theatre as a rehearsal for reality.

Recognizing that humans have a unique ability to take action in the world while simultaneously observing themselves in action, Boal believed that the human was a self-contained theatre, actor and spectator in one. Because we can observe ourselves in action, we can amend, adjust and alter our actions to have different impact and to change our world. Theatre of the Oppressed engages people in discovery, critical reflection and dialogue and the process of liberation! Through Theatre of the Oppressed we can better understand ourselves, our communities and our world. There are several series of techniques, tools and expressions of Theatre of the Oppressed. Game playing is the core of Theatre of the Oppressed. An extensive arsenal of well crafted and expertly facilitated games allows participants to stretch the limits of their imaginations, demechanize habitual behaviors and deconstruct and analyze societal structures of power and oppression. Plus, game playing is fun and builds community! Image Theatre Participants explore issues of oppression by using nonverbal expression and sculpting their own and other participants’ bodies into static physical images that can depict anything concrete or abstract, such as a feeling, issue, or moment. Forum Theatre Performance that functions to transform from spectator (one who watches) to a spect-actor (one who watches and takes action). A short scene by Forum actors presents an issue of oppression and represents the world as it is–the anti-model. Audience members are then encouraged to stop the play and take the stage to address the oppression, attempting to change the outcome through action. The show engages Forum actors and audience members in fun, entertaining and enlightening community dialogue.


Legislative Theatre Extension of Boal’s Forum Theatre techniques and functions to determine the need for, create, and enact laws. Beyond community building and issue awareness, Legislative Theatre uses theatrical techniques to create concrete and specific socio-political impact. Rainbow of Desire Uses Image and Forum techniques to investigate internalized oppression. This highly therapeutic series of techniques asks participants to explore how external oppression causes us to oppress ourselves and helps to identify greater social issues and identify opportunities and even action for change.

SOURCE: The Forum Project, based in New York City, uses theater to help communities create tactics for change. This page was copied verbatim from their web site, as it describes the method and its power so well I won’t try to improve on it.

Find out more information

Juno Lee

What informs behavior? “Behavior is a function of experience.We act according to the way we see things. If our experience is destroyed, our behavior will be destructive.� R.D. Laing

The ability to understand and bring out the best of the material is fundamental to any great design. Design for social innovation is no exception. When we design an improvement in the social fabric we are affecting a change in the ways people behave in relationship to one another and their environment. So we must understand our “material:” human relationships, beliefs, and identities. We often mistake behavior for the person. If someone acts greedy in our perception, we are quick to judge them as being self-centered (or what ever name you want to put here) and want them to change. But where does behavior come from? Where do we learn how to behave and how to stand in relationship to each other? Behavior is a reflection of our internal world. This section of the course looks at how we construct our inner worlds — the values and beliefs that inform our habits and behavior — for better or worse. Students were required to look inside themselves. Before you embark on an inward journey, it is important to know that you are loved, valued and worthy. Students spent time reminding themselves through readings and exercises of their worth, value and belonging. We mapped out how the enculturation process informs our beliefs about ourselves, our relationship towards our bodies, our emotions and our sense of belonging. We learned how our internal voices, beliefs and patterns of relating were formed by our history of relationship to others.

Two forces that shape us


Be ourselves

The drive towards being together with others in relationship.

The drive towards being an individual — one alone, autonomous.

Tillich defines love as “the drive towards the unity of the separated.” So love in this sense is the drive to reconnect and make whole that which has become or appears fragmented.

Tillich defines power as “the drive of everything living to realize itself, with increasing intensity and extensity.” So power in this sense is the drive to achieve one’s purpose, to get one’s job done, to grow.



Becoming our own selves

Moving from

Moving towards

An immature and insecure self

A mature and secure self

– Unable to take care of the self – Depending on other people or circumstances to complete a sense of self. Someone in need of other’s approval to feel secure.

– Capable of taking responsibility for his/her feelings, behavior and destiny. Someone able to extend love and appreciation to others, without needing theirs in return.

Designed by Michelle Kwon Becoming emotionally mature helps us to act with integrity, especially when designing for social innovation; we are free to act on what is right and not because we need someone’s approval. Becoming aware of how much our culture shapes us provided us with a choice to continue believing it or not. Look more into… - Roberta M Gilber: Extraordinary Relationships - Adam Kahane: Power and Love


Enculturation process Enculturation Noun • The gradual acquisition of the characteristics and norms of a culture or group by a person, another culture, etc. • The process by which people learn the requirements of their surrounding culture and acquire values and behaviours appropriate or necessary in that culture.

Who am I? Institutions “Money is important. You become an important person when you make a lot of money.”

Parents “You wanna get married before 30. Don’t you have a boyfriend?”

Peers “You should hang out with us more often. Why are you spending the weekends alone at home? That’s not fun.”

Media “You just look prettier when you are skinny. You may disagree, but we all know it’s the truth.”

Constructing an Inner World - Swar Raisinghani

Ma-ma Ma

The Beginning Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky believed that development of inner voices starts at an early age for human beings.

He believed that the development of inner voices starts at an early age for humans when we learn language by imitating their parents.

Vygotsky goes on to explain this development in detail through his theory of the ‘zone of proximal development.

Development of Internal Voices According to Lakota, social interactions creates stories of ‘how things work’ and ‘what must be done’. These stories are revised again and again to establish a story of ‘who we are’ in a cultural and social context.


As we grow older we learn to have a ‘conversation’ within ourselves without verbalising it and that is how we develop inner voices.

We develop our story on the way as we understand more of these stories. We become aware of emotions and how to communicate. In this way we form a sense of ‘self ’ and a set of ‘beliefs’

How does this apply to Design for Social Innovation? A deep understanding of how internal voices are formed and eventually become the narrative of our belief system is essential to social innovation. An understanding of how this belief system has developed makes us sensitive to understanding the person’s needs. It is very important to understand the belief system of a person in order to invite the person to believe in new stories about them and the world and offer a new perspective.

All learning takes place within this zone which involves one person is the learner and another person who has the skill that the other person wants to learn. Under the guidance of this person, the learner not only learns this skill but also goes on to develop it further. Once the learner can perform the task on his own, he does not the need the experienced other. This concept is also called ‘scaffolding’.

Individuality defining one’s self as separate from others

Togetherness urging one self towards others for attachment, affiliation or approval

There are two forces: togetherness and individuality that drives human nature and leads to the development of the basic self.

Learn more: Mindsight: Daniel J Siegel

Extraordinary Relationships: Roberta M Gilbert

Balance between the two forces

Imbalance between the two forces

High level of differentiation

Low level of differentiation

How we deal with these forces establishes ‘differentiation of self ’ The idea of ‘differentiaton’ of the basic self is key to understanding relationships and emotions and who we are. Healing the Mind through the Power of Story: Lewis Mehl-Medrona

Forming Boundaries

- Swar Raisinghani

What are Boundaries? Boundaries determine what is within our area of responsibility and accountability and what is not. Boundaries are limits but not walls. They are permeable.



Boundaries for Self

Basic self is smaller than the Pseudo self

Basic self is bigger than the Pseudo self

Basic self is the true, unshakable self. Pseudo self is the functional part of the self. If the basic self is developed to be smaller than the pseudo self, our boundaries become more permeable. If the basic self is larger than the functional self, our boundaries are intact and less permeable. Beliefs formed by our inner guidance system become a part of our basic self.

which leads to Permeable Boundaries 56

which leads to less Permeable Boundaries


Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing other. - Brene Brown


Boundaries and Relationships A person with a strong, unshakable basic self is considered being at a high level of differentiation of self. This person’s ‘sense of self ’ is non negotiable in a relationship and his boundaries are appropriately set. A person at low level of differentiation of self has a permeable boundaries and his pseudo self is negotiated in a relationship.

Low level of differentiation

A person with low level of differentiation is likely to have boundary problems like: being an avoidant, compliant, controller or non-responsive. Person with high level of differentiation of self is capable of understanding one’s boundaries and responsibilites and able to communicate them well to other.

High level of differentiation

Focussed on each other’s deficiencies and neither is focussed on self.

Fused together to an extent that they become allergic to each other.

Emotional responsiblity of self: Do not depend on each other for fulfillment or happiness.

They are in ‘contact’ and develop an understanding

One gains self, the other loses self into an adaptive postition

Focus on a third person instead of dealing with relationship anxiety.

Each takes responsibility to communicate for themselves

Being aware of one’s emotions and taking responsibility for it

You can relate these behaviors of low level of differentiation to boundary problems such as: Controller: A person who does not respect other’s boundaries Avoidant: A person who refuses to ask for help

Non responsive: A person who does not respond to other’s needs Compliants: Say ‘yes’ to everything to seek approval or affection

How does this apply to Design for Social Innovation? Understanding what is within one’s boundary makes us realize what we are and are not responsible for. How these boundaries are formed explain a lot of behaviors. As innovators this may be useful to us, since most of the social issues we deal with are the result of certain behavioral patterns, it is useful to understand how these patterns developed. Learn more: Mindsight: Daniel J Siegel Extraordinary Relationships: Roberta M Gilbert Boundaries: Henry Cloud & James Townsend

Understanding transformation “Enabling change has always been the Holy Grail of environmentalists, but it has largely remained frustratingly elusive. ‌It could be argued that one of the reasons for this is that we have never really understood change, how it happens and what it entails.â€? Rob Hopkins, The Transition Handbook, p.84

A sustained change in behavior is the outcome of an internal transformation. When the world view that gives rise to behavior shifts, so does the behavior. But how do these world views — our deeply engrained beliefs and patterns of relating — change? We looked at the process of human transformation as seen from the perspectives of a psychiatrist who studied the grieving process, psychologists embroiled in healing from addiction, a life coach invested in personal transformation and a mythologist who studied the hero’s journey across many cultures. We learned from neurobiologists how our brains form habits that become our auto-pilot mode. We spent time looking at the way we can change habits and beliefs. For this part we drew on mindfulness practices to help us learn how to become aware of our internal world. We leaned on lifecoaching strategies to identify and question our fears and limiting beliefs. We had a difficult lecture and some readings about resolving our past pains and traumas to help us leave behind that which no longer serves us. And we practiced self-compassion — the crucial stance to take while supporting yourself through the difficult and iterative process of transformation. The work of the social innovator is not to ask other people to change their beliefs. A tenet of this work is that we believe each person is free to make his or her own choices. What we can only create the conditions for people to become aware of their beliefs, and provide a safe place for people to be honest about their internal worlds and to shift their perspectives. The practice of creating such conditions is covered in other sections of this course, particularly “approaches” and “facilitating dialogue.”






















HOW HABITS CHANGE How do habits change? Why is it hard to change? It is really difficult to change our habits. We create habits because we want to fill a need. Because of this, when we want to change those habits, we need to find something to fill those needs. Becoming aware that a habit creates suffering may not be easy. When we are in ‘automatic mode’ we are unaware of the consequences of the action, so we are not realizing where this is taking us. But if we notice what the impulse looks like and we allow ourselves to see what is happening, we can start to learn how to cultivate the skill of compassionate self awareness, understanding that is a long term process and that our own psychological immune system is not the only wall we will have, but also society, or people around us, might not accept our decisions.


We can experiment two different issues while we change our habits

Our Internal Resistance will remind us that old habits never really disappear, they can come back suddenly, without forewarning, most easily when we are stressed or feeling uncomfortable. Because of this, it´s important to understand that changing our habits is something very difficult that needs time and patience. Practicing self-compassion can really help you to overcome difficulties such as internal criticism. The enculturation process makes us internalize believes about who we should be. So when we are starting to change, our enculturation can make us feel guilty or judged, as though when we change we are doing something wrong. To compensate, we have to go into our own internal world to learn how valuable and loved we are. At the same time, we are afraid of not knowing what will come next in our lives. To think about big changes in the patterns of our lives is something that scares us! Give yourself the opportunity to focus on what is good and what is right.

Cultural Resistance, According to Bowen, our change will affect our social group, through different stages that start with the feeling of being wrong. The important thing about this process of change is to never attack them when they don’t understand you and always be positive so people will notice it.

This topic is important to DSI because, unless we become the change we want to see, we won´t make any difference.

The brain is built to form habits Covadonga Abril Paredes

*What you do every day is best seen as an iceberg 62


How do habits form? We are not aware of the things that we do daily that are something that we made automatic and starts to be habits. In Charles Duhigg´s words, habits are “choices that all of us deliberately make at some point, and then stop thinking about but continue doing, often every day”. Some authors believe that the decisions that we make intentionally, are also a bit influenced by our automatic patterns. According to Kelly McGonigal “our brains are built to form habits”. Because our brains want to save energy, if you do something enough times, your brain will simplify it and make it a habit. The part of your brain that remembers your habits is called procedural memory. When we work from procedural memory, we find ourselves in ‘automatic’ mode. You don’t think about what you’re doing – you just do it. Our habits can take on different forms. This include habits of how we see the world (our mental models), how we see ourselves and relate to other people (relational patterns), how we behave and what we do. Some habits are really useful – it’s great to not have to think when you’re tying your shoes. Others are less useful and do not contribute to being healthy human beings. The term enculturation refers to the process whereby a person learns and acquires the correct values and behaviors of a particular culture where he has been raised. We look to the conditioned programmed system to know how we should act; creating also different reactions to different responds. These reactions become habits and they are not longer free choices, they start to be habitual responses.


Evolving to survive in a growingly complex world by examining our inner world first.

Mindsight is a skill to be developed. How does our brain shape our experience? How does our experience shape our brain? What fires together, wires together.

‘Oh, you’re so neurotic’

procedural memory

automatic and emotional responses

The physical world

Developing “mindsight’

Experiences and relationships

Reflection and Resilience


Under Construction

Energy and information

Emotional and Social Intelligence

Synaptic connections Strengthen and increase

“Mindsight is a kind of focused attention that allows us to see the internal workings of our own minds.It helps us be aware of our mental processes without being swept away by them, enables us to get ourselves off the autopilot of ingrained behaviors and habitual responses, and moves us beyond the reactive emotional loops we all have a tendency to get tapped in." - Dr. Dan J Siegel




The mechanism by which information flows

‘More than one hundred billion interconnected neurons . stuffed into a small, skull-enclosed space’ Middle PreFrontal Cortex "new mammalian" brain includes: a. Anterior Cingulate Cortex b. Medial Prefrontal Cortex c. Orbitofrontal Cortex d. Ventrolateral Prefrontal Cortex Limbic Region experience simulator "old mammalian brain" crucial for how we form relationships emotional attachment

Corpus Callosum Connects the two halves of the brain to each other Hippocampus short and long term memory Cebellum Amygdala emotional processing structure Part of the medial temporal lobe limbic area.

Brainstem Spinal Chord controls energy and body levels regulates heart rate and respiration controls our states of arousal if we are hungry or satiated, driven by sexual desire awake or asleep fight or flight-freeze response responsible for our survival


The process of regulation for our information

‘In a culture in which mindsight is absent, we can become [...] blind to the internal reality at the heart of our lives.’ Compassion Reflection Emotional Intelligence Anger Resistance Fear Clarity Integration We can ‘lose our minds’

mind and emotional wellness includes bodily regulation attuned communication emotional balance response flexibility fear modulation insight moral awareness intuition Empathy

subjective inner world subconscious healthy mind destructive mind persception perspective intellect awareness more than simply ‘brain activity’

dependent independant connectivity interdependent communication interaction exchange

the need for human connection individuality togetherness emotional attachment


Two or more people being connected, or the way in which we are connected

Relationships to Self Other Family Community The World interpersonal relationships

How do we move from a

State of fear

state of fear can include inability to see others viewpoints reactive; with speed not by what is right driven by emotions inability to listen to ‘inner wisdom’ Into a

State of peace Mind







Sources: Read more about ‘Mindsight’ by Dan Siegal, ‘Brainstates’ by Kelly Mc Gonigal and ‘Extraordinary Relationships’ by Roberta M. Gilbert M.D

state of peace can include perceive our own minds clearly see others ‘mind maps’ correct and clear judgement non-reactive responses listen to that ‘gut feeling’ ROBIN NEWMAN MFA 2013


what keeps us from being our best

Martha Beck and your inner lizard Beck explains that one of the deepest layers in our brains, wrapped around the brain stem is one that first developed in reptiles. This is often referred to as our reptilian brain and its sole purpose is to announce survival fears. These messages can be split into two categories: lack (we are lacking essentials needed for survival) and attack (we are going to be attacked at any moment). These can be important if we are in the wild, or even walking around a dangerous part of town, but more frequently, our reptilian brains are triggered when we are in safe environments, and our fears are either irrational or highly unlikely to come true, and lead only to a lot of stress and anxiety. Beck explains that: “Continued insistence that they’re just about to happen [terrible things] is the sign that your brain is rationalizing the fear your reptilian brain produces constantly, undeterred by rain or sleet or physical evidence.” These rationalizations can be very convincing. In her book Steering by Starlight, Martha Beck give us a step-by-step journey to go from “inner lizard” to “inner wizard”.


Step 1: The Lack-and-Attack Syndrome Knowing that part of our brains is wired to this “Lackand-Attack Syndrome” is the first step in being able to separate yourself from these fears. “When we don’t act from fear, we aren’t nearly as likely to run out of resources as our inner lizards believe.”

Step 2: Your Lizard’s Top 10 Tunes Each of us has our own “top tunes”, which we repeat to ourselves over and over again. Writing them down will make you more aware of them in the future. Some common examples are: “I’ll never find love”; “You can’t trust anyone”; “Someone is always out to get me”; “I’m going to loose everything”.

Step 3: The Name Game In many cultures knowing your enemy’s name is regarded as a huge help when battling it. Martha, therefore, recommends that we name and picture our own lizards, creating a drawing or finding a toy or piece of jewelry that represents you lizard. Then, when you notice that your “top tunes” are beginning to take over, picture your lizard and calm it down. “Caring kindly for the reptile, rather than believing it or struggling against it, is the way out of dread and into peace.”

“Don’t wait for your lizard fears to go away, they never will, as long as you have a brain. You will never realize your best destiny through the avoidance of fear. Rather, you will realize it through the exercise of courage, which means taking whatever action is most liberating to the soul, even when you are afraid.”

Step 4: Find the Ridiculous

Step 5:The “Shackles” Test

Step 6: Steering into peace

Beck explains that: “evil comes from human fear” and suggests that by learning to laugh at our own fears we can learn to conquer our evil, or debilitating tendencies, instead of unconsciously worshiping them. We can thrive by learning to focus on the present dangers with fearlessness and not worrying about the fears that can’t be dealt with because they exist only in our heads.

“When our sense of destiny moves us toward actions that spark lack-and-attack fears – especially when they violate the norms of the people who socialized us – our inner lizards can stop us dead in our tracks.”

By writing down recent choices you made in different areas of your life, you can begin to gain some understanding of the things that feel “shackles on” and those that feel “shackles off”. Beck suggests you think of these not as absolutes, but by imagining a set of oldfashioned scales and figuring out which way it tips.

“To the part of the mind that isn’t a terrified reptile, fear in the absence of an actual physical threat (such as, say, a grizzly bear) is always ridiculous because it’s not actionable – there’s nothing I can do about an imagined danger except develop ulcers and high blood pressure.”

Martha Beck gives us a simple solution to recognizing good courses of action versus a lizard response to something we are scared of: shackles on, shackles off test. When something feels truly liberating, “shackles off”, even though you might feel scared, you know it’s you inner lizard that is acting on fear. The same way, if you are heading in the opposite direction, you will feel a sense of contraction in your body, this is the feeling of “shackles on”. “If you do nothing more than choose whatever feels most “shackles off” to you, moment by moment, you will fulfill your best destiny.”

For more information:


Steering by Starlight

Finding Your Way in a Wild New World

by Anna Luiza Braga

Why is political reconciliation important?

“[...] It provides a context for authentic, free, and fearless speech as a basis for making tough decisions on how to deal with the past in order for a new kind of society to emerge. It makes conversation that reaches across political and other divisions possible. It provides former enemies and adversaries to explore new options for living together [...] political reconciliation is about a willingness to explore way of changing negative

attitudes and destructive behavior. Improved relationships between enemies can provide a new basis for addressing the causes of conflict, implementing goals that are immediately attainable and developing strategies aimed at realizing those objectives that can only be met over a longer period of time […] draw society beyond “the left over debris of national pasts” to a future yet to be realized.” Charles Villa Vincencio – Political Reconciliation in Africa

“It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” -Anne Frank

Holocaust Survivor

“Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking but in the end it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing.”

I set you free I set myself free I am free of you I am free of the pain we shared

― Desmond Tutu

South African Human Rights Activist

How do we make peace with the past? 68

“What I treasure most in life is being able to dream. During my most difficult moments and complex situations I have been able to dream of a more beautiful future.”

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.”

“ The weak cannot forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong”

-Nelson Mandela

South African Human Rights and Anti-Apartheid Activist

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Indigenous Rights Activist

- Mahatma Ghandi Freedom Fighter and non-violence peace activist

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

- Rigoberta Menchu

“And once we have the condition of peace and joy in us, we can afford to be in any situation. Even in the situation of hell, we will be able to contribute our peace and serenity. The most important thing is for each of us to have some freedom in our heart, some stability in our heart, some peace in our heart. Only then will we be able to relieve the suffering around us.” - Thich Nhat Han


Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk

Civil Rights Activist

Sources: Political Reconciliation in Africa - Charles Villa Vincencio Trauma Stewardship - An every day guide to caring for self while caring for others by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky Legacy of the heart - the spiritual advantages of a painful childhood - Wayne Muller The website of the Truth and Reconciliation commission

“And so, im saying that yes, colonialism was terrible and I describe it as a legacy of wars, but we ought to be moving away from that now.” - Waangari Maathai

Kenyan environmental and political activist

open heart and forgiveness Do what is hard Let go of your victim role Change your victim narrative Trust the process of healing Fear and rage must be honored.

Stop Running. Go into your pain. Acknowledge it. Tell your story.

Cultivating Awareness Jennifer Emmons


wareness is the state or quality of becoming aware of shifting your attention to become the non-judgemental observer of your reality. As Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj puts it: “Know yourself to be the changeless witness of the changeful mind. Mind is interested in what happens, while the awarenss is interested in the mind itself. The child is after the toy, but the mother watches the child, not the toy.” Self-awareness is a tool that helps us become aware or more conscious. Our world and behaviour can be better understood when we are aware of what is happening. Once you focus your attention on your emotions and behaviour, you will determine where you go in life. As said by Pathway to Happiness. “Self awareness is one of the attributes of Emotional Intelligence and an important factor in achieving success.” 70

Self-awareness does not happen by reading a book. You can get information and learn about cultivating awareness but it’s about being committed, paying attention to your feelings and creating a world of openness. Its important to become aware because when we only react to events or behavior, we do not create systemic change. Geneen Roth says “Our work is not to change what you do, but to witness what you do with enough awareness, enough curiosity, enough tenderness that the lies and old decisions upon which the compulsion is based become apparent and fall away.” We need to be aware of the situations happening around us and not be in auto pilot because if we are, we will continue to repeat the same patterns.


t is easy to be caught up in our current experience. Here are four exercises to help you shift your attention from being immersed in the present reality to becoming the observer of what is happening.

Some good examples to cultivate awareness are:

Martha Beck gives a great example with “Joy Diet” in which she describes ten behaviors you can add to your way of living and thinking.

But the best information you can get is by becoming aware of your feelings and behaviors through observation and exercises, writing them down and learning from yourself.

She also takes you through a remarkable path to the most important discovery you can make: the knowledge of what you should be doing with your one wild and precious life in her book “The Wild New World”.

A way to practice cultivating awareness is by slowing down, becoming present to the moment, thinking things through before reacting and creating more options to the usual outcomes. By creating awareness we are keeping ourselves out of trouble and keeping ourselves in the present and in to reality.

A great website with activities and information on interesting retreats is by Byron Katie.

This is a great web page by Daniel Siegel to practice and draw your own wheel of awareness.

This is my wheel

Dan Seigel’s wheel of awareness. Making us aware of all the different places we can put out attention at any point.

Cultivating Compassion Self-Compassion Self-compassion is not really that different from having compassion towards others. The first step towards being compassionate to others is to notice their suffering, and then, allow yourself to being moved by their pain. Being compassionate also means being kind and understanding when others make mistakes or upset you, instead of being judgmental. It also means that you understand that failure, imperfection and suffering are part of the human condition; we all experience this in our lives. Self-compassion encompasses having a similar attitude towards yourself as you do for others, whether it is because of personal shortcomings, or traits you don’t like in yourself. Being self-compassionate means that you understand that you are only human, and that you are not perfect. “The more you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life.”

Dr. Kristin Neff


The three elements of Self-Compassion

Examples of Self-Compassion exercises


• “Checking in” with yourself. Are you being too self-critical? Stop and try to understanding.

Recognizing that being flawed, failing, or experiencing challenges in life is unavoidable, and that we must therefore be more kind when dealing with such problems instead of getting angry and frustrated.

Common humanity

Recognizing that suffering and personal failures are a part of our shared human experience, something that happens to all of us and not just to “you”. It also means acknowledging that we are all influenced by “external” factors such as culture, hereditary dispositions and the manner in which we were brought up.


Being in a non-judgmental, receptive mind state, trying to simply observe our thoughts and feelings without trying to control how you feel about them. It is also important to observe our negative thoughts and emotions with honesty and transparency, so that they are held in mindful awareness.

• Write about something you don’t like about yourself. How does this make you feel? Be as honest as possible. Then, write a letter to yourself from the perspective of a compassionate, loving friend. What would this friend say to you about your perceived flaw? • Keep a daily self-compassion journal, in which, every day, you review the day’s events and write down anything that you felt bad about, if you judge yourself, or write about an experience that caused you pain or suffering. For each event use the three elements of self-compassion [kindness, common humanity and mindfulness to process that information in a self-compassionate way. Writing these down will help you organize your thoughts and emotions. • Give yourself permission to meet your own needs, by improving your quality of life. For example: pamper yourself (get a massage or mani-pedi); take a nap in the middle of the day; practice meditation for 30 minutes; go dancing; treat yourself to a nice meal with a friend.

Compassion and Vulnerability Compassion towards others In her research into shame and vulnerability, Dr. Brene Brown found that people with a deeper and strong sense of worthiness were more whole hearted. She associates this feeling with courage; having the courage to “tell the story of who you are with your whole heart, having the courage to be imperfect.” All of this is part of being compassionate to yourself. Only when you can be kind to yourself, will you be able to give love, kindness and compassion to others. All of these qualities allow people to connect to others, to connect through authenticity and be truly seen. In her research Dr. Brown found that being vulnerable was key to connecting with others and explained that these people were willing to say or do something without any guarantee of the outcome, they “believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful.” Brene Brown also explains that vulnerability is the truest measurement of courage and the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. She explains that we cannot be afraid to fail; we must “dare greatly”.

Pema Chödrön is a Buddhist monk, who amongst other things teaches extensively about the practice of Tonglen. This is a meditation practice for connecting with suffering, both ours and of those around us, which helps us to awaken compassion. In order to have compassion for others, we must have compassion for ourselves. It is also important not to be scared of encountering and dealing with difficult emotions, like fear and anger. The practice suggests that we open our hearts to those emotions, feel them as something that will soften and purify. The practice consists of breathing in someone’s pain and suffering and breathing out love, joy and kindness to them. Once you can connect with this, you can expand the practice, by breathing in the pain and suffering of all people who feel the same way or are in a similar situation, and send them joy, love and kindness as you breathe out. Tonglen teaches us to use our personal suffering as the path not only to selfcompassion, but compassion for all. By reversing the usual denial of pain and suffering we are liberated from selfishness and awakened onto compassion.

“What bothers us about others, what we dislike or fear in them, are aspects of ourselves that they mirror back to us, aspects we dislike seeing. Until we make deep peace with such aspects of ourselves… we can’t open to the intrinsic goodness of others that also lies hidden from our view.”

John Makransky

For more information:

Books by Brene Brown: Daring Greatly The gifts of imperfection

by Anna Luiza Braga

Cultivating healthy relationships “She realized that she couldn’t create peace in the world if her inner life was a place of hatred and war. On the other hand, by healing herself, she would become a source of peace in the world.” Martha Beck

One part of the work of healing this world is to heal the internalized power-over paradigm that we have inherited. It is common practice for us to stand in an adversarial relationship with reality. We suppress our appetites and emotions, we avoid our past pain and honest dialogue. We protect ourselves from other people by keeping them at a distance from our true experience. We are constantly striving to change — ourselves, other people or our environment — to fit our picture of ideal reality. This is not only exhausting, it is also dangerous. By placing ourselves at the center of the universe and adopting tactics to maintain that position, we alienate ourselves from reality. We participate in creating a fragmented world characterized by oppression, repression, domination, and submission. This section of the course was an invitation to stop striving, to become still and open ourselves to the possibility within and around us. At the heart of this section is the question, how can we stand in a caring relationship towards ourselves and others? How can we embody and create the thriving and healthy world that we want to see as social innovators? As we begin to see life as our partner, here to create wonderful futures with us, we open ourselves to sources of wisdom and inspiration beyond what we can imagine. Our emotions become guides, telling us about our inner experience. Our bodies become our allies, supporting and leading us. Our souls awaken us to our hearts desires. Our teams become a force for good, collaborating to bring wonderful things into the world. And we become enablers and catalysts bringing out the best in ourselves and in our world.

The Importance of Self-Acceptance & Self-Care Jennifer Emmons


gnoring pain is like disconnecting a fire alarm in order not to hear bad news. It is important to care for yourself, recognize and listen to your feelings. Once you are able to accept and care for yourself you will be able to do the same for others. You will becom a whole and gain profound understanding of what is going on with yourself and with life. As one of our teachers for this semester said “walk into your pain and be transformed. When you are healed, you can tend to those around you with care and understanding.”


Bill O’Brien, CEO of Hanover Insurance also says, “The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor.” In DSI we all want to become leaders and change the world. However, we have learned that to become a leader and inspire people to follow you, one has to learn about themselves. Who you are and what you can offer as a person will be clear to those around you.

“You need to find what is genuinely yours to offer the world before you can make it a better place.” BillPlotkin, Soulcraft



roke b w e A f

It’s a girl! 1987

- ? 9 9 9 1 s heart

First REAL pet 2007

San Diego 2006-2009 I Above is an example of an exercise done the first week of DSI. It was an exercise meant to help us become aware of the journey we are on and all we have done to get here. Even though it is not my entire time line, I listed events that have changed my way of seeing life and have changed me. It helped me to appreciate and be more observant of details around me. Like this exercise, there are many other things you can do. Some examples can be found at: you can also try meditation techniques and/or yoga.

NY -Present Time

“What bothers us about others, what we dislike or fear in them, are aspects of ourselves that they mirror back to us, as aspects we dislike seeing. Until we make deep peace with such aspects of ourselves... we can’t open to the intrinsic goodness of others that also lies hidden from our view.” John Makransky


An unhealthy relationship to

Do emotions drive somebody crazy? Yeah, it’s me... It feels so strong... But I usually choose to suppress it other times they overwhelm me... I try to ignore it and I don’t want to express it My emotions are rotting. I can smell them...

Xintong Liu - DSI - SVA


I understand that I’m the person who can let it go or express it. They tell me about my own experiences. I treasure them.

For more: Eckhart Tolle


I listen to them, I can get the messages behind my emotions. They cannot take over.

A healthy relationship to

Maybe you don’t believe me, but we are friends.

You seems like ready to fight.

Your whole body is nervous.

You believe you are smarter than your body. You starve youself. You frustrate youself.

You Body A bad relationship with


Xintong Liu - DSI - SVA

Too rational to feel yourself.

Your Body A healthy relationship with

For more: Martha Beck, Geneen Roth, Koelle Simpson

Vacate your body, and do nothing.

Eat. When you are hungry.

Your body knows before your mind does. Learn to trust your instincts.

Listen to your body. It tells you what you need.

Rest. When you are tired. Delight yourself. Finding the sweetness. Finding the way into the heart.

Become aware of your posture.

Step on the ground. Connect with the nature.

Healthy Relationships with Stillness and Our Souls

Success driven society

me (Haya Shaath) DO NOT OPEN - WILL CAUSE ANXIETY (138)

Why is it so hard to be still?

Do more stuff Productivity = success Rest = failure

Stillness is difficult and uncomfortable, but it takes practice and discipline. A society that creates individuals with such high regard on productivity creates individuals who have never learned to be still and confront their thoughts and emotions. Our inner minds are in a constant dialogue, overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions.

Why is it important to be still? "To navigate the wild world, you need to move your basic perceptual and analytical thinking out of your head and into the whole inner space of the body… wordlessness allow us to see our true nature, and to heal from the violence of a thought system that cuts us apart, destroying our compassion for ourselves and others." Martha Beck


Technology perpetuates connectivity Constantly doing stuff

Individual Importance Stillness is a time for reconnecting with ourselves; by listening to our souls we can work more meaningfully – moving us towards a new definition of productivity, where we lead more authentic lives.

Collective Importance The social innovation spine is held up by co-creation collaboration, creativity and designing “with”; seeing oneself as part of the system, part of the problem, and part of the possibility for change. Stillness offers a space in which we can become present and aware of our role in the system. As Otto Scharmer notes on leadership; “The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor.”

WAYS OF CULTIVATING STILLNESS “You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something, thatʼs when t he phones are t aken away… j ust s it t here. That i s being a person.” - Louis C.K. There are many ways of cultivating stillness. These practices can be incorporated into daily routines as long as you like.The longer, the better!




Picture yourself entering a cave behind a waterfall

“Peace of mind and body, gratitude of the present moment, joy in living.” - Martha Beck

Choose an activity and be fully aware of every motion that you take while doing it. For example:

Watch the contents of your mind thunder past you like water Whenever a thought or feeling becomes clear, name it: “Worry”, “fear”, “happy” Watch these labelled thoughts and feelings go by

You are observer of your mind.

Go out into nature to connect with the wilderness Wordlessness uncovers the interconnections between ourselves and the rest of the world Connecting with nature and being still and present also makes us happier.

Happy. Thank you. More please!

Activity: loading the dishwasher I rinse out the plates and place them into the dishwasher, maximizing the use of the compartments

To hear from the queen of stillness, reflection and self-healing, read anything by Martha Beck (The Joy Diet, Finding Your Way in a Wild World) Practicing the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle Conan O’Brien interviews with the comedian Louis C.K. - on technology and stillness, or the lack thereof. Watch Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED Talk “My Stroke of Insight”


Serves: The world

How to brew a Thinking Environment by Akshata Malhotra

When you cook a great meal, the freshness and character of each ingredient is key to a wonderful end product. Nancy Kline says that "Our work is to bring out the very best in each person". Likewise, what would be the 'ingredients' that would lead to a nourishing world? Here we innumerate these key secret ingredients. They are the fundamentals of building an environment of inclusiveness, respect, trust, collaboration, integrity and open mindedness. For social innovators, it is imperative to understand these principles. This can create an environment that allows breakthrough thinking to flow between people and therefore, innovation to happen.

Glossary: The Ten Ingredients Attention: listening with palpable respect and genuine interest, and without interruption. Attention is an act of creation. The quality of our attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking. Equality: Giving courage for cutting edge thinking by removing internal competition. It is about treating each other as thinking peers; giving equal turns and attention; keeping boundaries and agreements. Even in a hierarchy people can be equal as thinkers. Ease: offering freedom from internal rush or urgency. The state of ease creates the best conditions for thinking. If we want people to think inside the injunctions of ‘faster, better, cheaper, more,' we must cultivate internal ease. Appreciation: Recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone. The human mind works more rigorously and creatively in a context of genuine appreciation- practicing a 5:1 ratio of appreciation to challenge works best for it. Encouragement: giving courage to go to the cutting edge of ideas by moving beyond internal competition. A Thinking Environment prevents internal competition among colleagues, replacing it with a wholehearted, unthreatened search for good ideas.


Feelings: Allowing sufficient emotional release to restore thinking. Unexpressed feelings can inhibit good thinking. Information: supplying the facts; dismantling denial. Withholding or denying information results in intellectual vandalism. Facing what you have been denying leads to better thinking Diversity: welcoming diverse group identities and diversity of thinking. The greater the diversity of the group, and the greater the welcoming of diverse points of view, the greater the chance of accurate, cutting-edge thinking Incisive Questions: Finding and removing assumptions that limit our ability to think for ourselves clearly and creatively. A wellspring of good ideas lies just beneath an untrue limiting assumption. An Incisive Question will remove it, freeing the mind to think afresh. Place: creating a physical environment that says back to people, ‘You matter’. When the physical environment affirms our importance, we think more clearly and boldly.

Directions 1. Place a wok full of genuine attention on the stove. Get interested to generate the kind of attention that generates creation. Look into others’ eyes, breathe out and get curious about not just what they are saying, but what they’ll say next-- so that they know they won’t be interrupted. It is important to understand that listening to reply is different from listening to ignite. 2. As you see attention rising, stir in equality and keep stirring so that it is properly blended and you can no longer tell them apart. For this, you need to do two thingsFirst, truly regard others as your thinking equal and show them. Second, respect their boundaries. 3. Gently add a handful of ease to this. Ease is an inside thing - it is about slowing down, being still, and focussing on others- letting yourself and others be. It is this ease inside that allows you to think about emergencies outside. 4. Now for the secret ingredient, add in some pure appreciation for the maximum flavor. What works is to see our strengths; to look objectvely at what we are doing well and to build on that. The 3 S’s to help give and receive appreciation are to be: Succinct, Sincere and Specific. 5. Courageously add 1 tsp of encouragement. Make sure it is - it’ll help make your brew long lasting. Encouragement leads to freedom from preoccupation with what others are thinking of our thinking. This freedom to be yourself without trying to be better- than others results in independent thinking. 6. Now, mix in sufficient marinated feelings to this. This will allow emotional release and recondition the thinking brew. There are two aspects to this. First, releasing benign feelings help us think better. Second, the painful ones should be

released in the right circumstances. 7. Peel off denial from information and add it to the brew. Thinking dies in denial. Information resurrects it. The four questions that help to dismantle denial are : What are you not facing that it is right in front of your face? What are you assuming that lets you ignore this? If you were to face it, what positive outcomes might result? If you knew that you can handle the fall out, what steps would you take to love free of this denial? 8. Spice it up with as much diversity as you can. Remember, more the diversity, the better will be the thinking brew. Diversity here refers to both diversity of group identity and diversity of ideas. When we value each other’s identity differences, we value our divergent thinking. 9. Now, from the brew, sieve out all the assumptions using an incisive question. The key is to notice assumptions, replacing the untrue ones with true ones and putting that into the powerful Incisive question. The four questions that lead to the incisive question are: What are you assuming that is stopping you from going forward? Is it true? What is true and liberating instead? If you knew that, how would you go forward? 10. Now, last but not the least, pour the brew and serve it in a suitable place. Be careful in choosing a place that welcomes people; In its simplicity, accessibility and decor, it should whisper to them “You matter”. For every individual, your body is a place where you do your thinking no matter where you are. And when we respect our bodies, our thinking improves. For further information on the recipe: Website Books Time to think by Kline More Time to think by Kline


“When we appreciate each other, we think better. When we think better, we love better. When we love better, we live better.” - Nancy Kline, More time to think (2009)

What is culture

What is the basis of a healthy culture?

Definition: The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.

According to Dr Dan Siegel we function at our very best when we are able to create a secure environment for one another:

Attention Equality Ease Appreciation Encouragement Place Incisive questions Diversity Information Feelings

Feeling SEEN: Each person in the group is seen for the human being they are Feeling SAFE: Permission to be their authentic selves and aligned with the mission of the group. People are encouraged to take risks. Feeling SOOTHED: In a soothing environment people are welcome to bring in all of their humanity (their vulnerabilities, insecurities, emotions etc) and they are welcomed.

“These components, these ways of being with each other, are a creative force. They generate good thinking in people. They generate open-mindness toward each other. They create safety and trust. And thus they elicit people’s authentic selves. They dignify people. They help people to be at ease around others so that breakthrough thinking can flow between them.” - Nancy Kline,More time to think (2009)


How do we change culture?

Each of us is daily creating the culture we belong to. When we go along with what is happening, we reinforce it. When we disagree with what is happening, and keep quiet, we reinforce what is happening and become miserable. When we disagree with what is happening and can talk about it, then there is an opportunity for the culture to change. It’s important in DSI for many reasons, recognizing healthy work place cultures helps us connect to those we are interacting with and creates discovery in research, amplifying our influence in social innovation.

renzo Jorge Perez-ACOSTA

“ ...Culture is less about what we want to achieve and more about who we are.” -Brene Brown from her book “Daring greatly”

How do we intentionally create a healthy culture together? As individuals Focus on cultivating healthy relationships We each have strategies of disconnection that has become deeply engrained in us. It’s our own responsibility to notice when we are disconnecting and to change that patterns of behavior. Ask for what you need by using the frame of Non Violent Communication: Follow the four steps of NVC to help you ask for what you need. Observe, Feeling, Need, Request As a group, ask important questions to help you grow a healthy group culture.

Get clear on the following questions What do we as a team care deeply about? What is our purpose? What is expected of us from our client? What do we see as our goal? What do we expect from each other to attain this goal?

“Culture is the way we do things around here.” -Terrence Deal and Allen Kenedy

How can we help each other succeed? What is our view on conflict? How will we deal with conflict in our group? Method: Ask the question. Give a few minutes for each person jots down what they think on a sticky note. Post it on the wall for all to see. Work towards creating team agreements for each question.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

-Peter Drucker


WORK CULTURES Poor conditions for a group to work in:

We behave at our very worse when we feel insecure in the group that we belong to. Things that contribute to feeling insecure and exposed include: UNSEEN: People are seen as means to get a job done in a certain way, their humanity and creativity is not seen and valued UNSAFE: People are terrorized and shamed by their peers and leaders when they take a risk or step out of line of the cultural expectation. SUPERFICIAL: People are asked to leave most of who they are as humans at the door. There is no place for imperfections, emotions, personal difficulties and stories.

Behavior that does not foster a collaborative culture


Group pressure Dictates authority (communicating desires as demands) Demand threats the listener with blame or punishment if they fail to comply Uncontrollable impulses Associating gender, social and age roles Denial of responsibility Rushing Criticism Neglect Misinformation Limiting & negative assumptions

Unhealthy ways to communicate:

Moralistic Judgements- Insults, biased opinions of others, it hints that the person is unknowledgeable, wrong or less than you. Making comparisons- Making comparison is a great way to make your life miserable. Denial of responsibility- Without taking responsibility over our actions we distance ourselves from those associated with us, and don’t confront our needs if we contribute the responsibility to an outside entity. Communicating desires as demand- This is usually a problem with people of power, causing stress and aggravation to those they hold power over in an organization or relationship.

Why DSI? It’s important in DSI for many reasons, it disconnects us to those we are interacting with and prevents discovery in research, limiting our influence in social innovation. It restricts trust and rapport with those who we are collaborating with, giving our team members the discomfort to share with us their ideas and point of views.

renzo Jorge Perez-ACOSTA

Dictates authority (communicating desires as demands)

Uncontrollable impulses Criticism

Associating gender, social and age roles




Group pressure

Limiting & negative assumptions

Readings and resources

Creating in communities, organizations, and systems

Community, complexity, living systems Peter Block, Community: the Structure of Belonging

Approaches to facilitating shifts in human systems Zaid Hassan, The Social Labs Revolution

Chris Corrigan, The dynamics of living systems

Adam Kahane, Transformative Scenario Planning

John Gall, The Systems Bible Adam Kahane, Power and Love, Introduction Creative process and design fundamentals Dan Brown, Designing Together

C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Leading From the Future as it Emerges Pascal, Sternin & Sternin, The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World’s Toughest Problems The Positive Deviance Initiative: The Presencing Institute,

Bill Buxton, Sketching User Experiences

Reos Partners case studies:

Hugh Dubberly, The Creative Process (poster)

Jason Roberts, How to Build a Better Block

Vijay Kumar , 101 Design methods

Peter Senge, et al, The Dance of Change

Bella Martin & Bruce Hanington, Universal Methods of Design

Peter Senge, et al, The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook

Steve Portigal, Interviewing Users

Dave Snowden, How to Organize a Children’s Party Facilitation Art of Hosting web site: Chris Corrigan’s list: Jenkins and Jenkins, The 9 Disciplines of a Facilitator Adam Kahane, Power and Love Roger Schwarz et al, The Skilled Facilitator and The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook Jamie & Maren Showkeir, Authentic Conversations

Dave Snowden, Combining Complexity with Narrative Research

Readings and resources

Self & team: personal and interpersonal fundamentals

Human nature and our innate worth John Makransky, Awakening Through Love

Creating new habits & becoming still Martha Beck, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World

Wayne Muller, A Life of Being, Having and Doing Enough

Carlo C. DiClemente, Addiction and Change: How Addictions Develop and Addicted People Recover

Desmond Tutu & Mpho Tutu, Made for Goodness Befriending our complexity and becoming ourselves Martha Beck, Steering by Starlight Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection Brene Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead Brene Brown on vulnerability Brene Brown on shame Lewis Mehl-Madrona, Healing the Mind through the Power of Story: The Promise of Narrative Psychiatry Kristen Neff’s web site: Koelle Simpson on befriending yourself: Questioning our limiting beliefs Steven C. Hayes, Get out of your mind and into your life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Byron Katie, The Work Working through past pains and traumas Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others Wayne Mulller, Legacy of the Heart: the Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood Charles Villa-Vicencio, Walk with us and listen: Political Reconciliation in Africa

Kelly McGonigal, The neuroscience of Change, A Compassion-Based Guide to Personal Transformation (audio book) Daniel J. Siegel, MD, Mindsight: the new science of personal transformation Ervin Laszlo, The Dis-Ease of the Western Mind (Huffington Post) Louis C.K. on cell phones and sitting with what is: Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey (watch her TED talk too) Eckhart Tolle, Practicing the power of now Living a soulful life John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A book of Celitc Wisdom Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America Learning to stand in healthy relationships with others Cloud & Townsend, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No Roberta M. Gilbert, Extraordinary Relationships: A New Way of Thinking About Human Interactions Byron Katie, I need your love – is that true? Nancy Kline, More Time to Think Marshall B. Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life

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, Soulcraft

The ability to shift from reacting against the past to leaning into and presencing an emerging future is probably the single most important leadership capacity today. It is a capacity that is critical in situations of disruptive change, not only for institutions and systems, but also for teams and individuals. In the old days, we used to learn one profession and practice it throughout our working lives. Today we face rapidly changing environments that increasingly require us to reinvent ourselves. The more dramatic the changes in our environment, the less we can rely on past patterns, and the more we need to learn to pay attention and tune in to emerging future opportunities. Otto Scharmer

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule I know of, babies: God damn it, you’ve got to be kind. Kurt Vonnegut

Connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. This is what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter whether you talk to people who work in social justice and mental health and abuse and neglect, what we know is that connection, the ability to feel connected, is – neurobiologically that’s how we’re wired – it’s why we’re here. Brené Brown

What you can plan is too small for you to live.

Transparent communication involves… seeing the whole person, rather than the story of themselves which they identify with at that particular moment.

David Whyte

Thomas Hübl

Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future. To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences. To be courageous is to seat our feelings deeply in the body and in the world: to live up to and into the necessities of relationships that often already exist, with things we find we already care deeply about: with a person, a future, a possibility in society, or with an unknown that begs us on and always has begged us on. Whether we stay or whether we go - to be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made. David Whyte

Winning does not tempt that man. This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively, by constantly greater beings.

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.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Sir Ken Robinson

Such a man knows that whatever is wrong with the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day. Karl Jung

A survey of

Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation by the Fall 2013 cohort, MFA in Design for Social Innovation, School of Visual Arts