Always interesting and educational to experience different approaches to bringing groups towards visions and actions. The facilitator for this session was Paul Clark from VisionGain Consulting in Calgary. He laid out the process for the two-day session as follows:
- Development of Framework Model
- Exploring the current/near-term future state of communities
- Exploring the forces and factors shaping Next Generation Communities
- Visioning long-term future state and attributes of Next Generation Communities
- Comparing current and future state – gap analysis
- Impact matrix to search for unexpected innovation and opportunities
- Conceptualization of demonstration projects for new and transitional Next Generation communities
The first step was to decide on a Framework Model – starting out from the typical: economic, environmental, social, cultural and governance. A discussion ensued (amongst 40 people) around the definition of community, what will families of the future look like, what about learning, health and transportation, what about unthinkable visions(!) and the changing face of work/play/home.
Whenever we as humans try to be splitters (ie. Break big problems down) we feel the need to also be clumpers (ie. Bring ideas together and integrate). So not surprisingly we ended up with a model that did both. We clumped Economy and Environment with the logic that they have to go together and we clumped Social and Culture. We left Governance alone and we added “System Connectivity”. And we thought of these as four different doors of the same house.
Before moving into small group work, Nola-Kate Seymour International Centre for Sustainable Cities gave us an overview of the various papers prepared for the conference under the umbrella of “near term future state”. Highlights included:
- Work of Victor Frankl – the value in understanding human needs (Maslow) – but not necessarily a hierarchy
- What does wealth creation look like in the 21st Century?
- The reality of demographics
- The technology is there – we have the ability to do distributed energy, water and food
- We have gaps in connection to other communities and the world
- The nature of work is changing – it is becoming service and knowledge intensive and the ability to work is being enhanced by being in different environments.
- How do we ignite passion and actually keep people at work because they love what they do? How do we mentor In the workplace? And what does the future workforce expect? Gen Y – 17-27y – expect that work and personal life are blurred
- What about the issues of scale in education and investment: 0-K (Human Early Learning Project); K-12; post-secondary; life-long – how do we set habits around learning and recognize different learning styles?
- With the massification of post-secondary learning globally – the monopoly on knowledge (currently enjoyed by western cultures) will disappear
- Knowledge is power; and power is in sharing knowledge.
- How about living well with less?
- What about our financial systems – serious issue around our financial health
And we broke into groups to tackle the key issues in each of the four areas identified in the framework model.