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Democracy Unleashed - Bringing Agility to Citizen Engagement
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Democracy Unleashed - Bringing Agility to Citizen Engagement


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We live in an age of unrivalled creativity, thanks to the Internet. Old institution models are crumbling. This is my experience report on using Innovation Games and other Agile techniques to engage …

We live in an age of unrivalled creativity, thanks to the Internet. Old institution models are crumbling. This is my experience report on using Innovation Games and other Agile techniques to engage citizens in my home town. Read to learn from my experiments and create your own.

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  • The Monday before I came, there was a packed room of people in my home town, gathering for the first SCENE event, a chance for entrepreneurs to connect and share.
  • People like Jennifer came. She said she shouldn ’ t be there, but chose to come, to have chance to help someone else learn from her pain. People are eager to connect, have something to contribute, look for opportunities
  • There is a shift happening in the world (institutions failing, citizens organizing). financial - Occupygovernment - Arab springinjustice - #IdleNoMore
  • This is peak moment in history. We are in an age of creative expression, thanks to the tools powered by the Internet; power of tech to connect, share. People don ’ t want to sit idle Changing conversation dynamics - from blame/shame, to openness, transparency
  • Create an alternative future one room at a time. If you can change the room, you have changed the culture, at least for that moment. This room, this way of gathering becomes a metaphor for the larger world and its possibility. Innovation Games® are tools that help to create this alternative future.
  • ultimate frisbee league couch surf vote swapping design conditions for people to come together and create astonishing results
  • Experience report about my experiments in applying Agile to improve sad state of democracy and citizen engagement.4 examples span in person to virtual, from a large community gathering to small elected city council. Inspired to carry out own experiments, equipped with new ideas, tools and lessons learned
  • # Agile coaches/trainers # people involved in community building / citizen engagement # people interested in getting involved
  • Index card - one question you need answered to make the next 30 min worthwhile If interested in citizen engagement, what is one thing that would help most?
  • image of ??? Look around Small Quick feedback Safe(r) environment Iterate
  • Agile is a powerful drug. After taking repeated hits from highly motivated, empowered individuals delivering astonishing results, there is no going back. And the workplace is not enough. We thirst to experience Agile in all aspects of our lives - our family, schools, churches, our community. We ache all over when people including ourselves are much less than who we are called to be.
  • There is so much untapped potential in our world, just waiting for the right conditions to blossom. <<add something in here from ChangeCamp site>> We can make a real difference. We have a gift the world needs. - Live the Agile values - Focus on what matters - Unleash the untapped potential Live the agile values. As agile coaches, we simply live the agile values.  Openness, feedback, courage, focus, respect.  These create an interconnectedness and purpose between humans, and because of this, humans change the system.  We let our courageous example show the way. Focus on “ for what? ” We know that it ’ s not good enough to use agile to produce mediocre results faster because that ’ s not really progress. Instead, we help our teams and organizations focus on the “ for what ” of it all — for what are we creating this product? … this process? … this offer?  What good will it do, not only for this organization, but for the communities and the world it serves?  This is the beacon of business-value-driven-thinking, and we use it to light every situation we serve. Unleash the untapped potential. Agile coaches know that the real fuel of the world is the untapped potential of every single person we encounter.  We know that by untapping even a small part of this latent potential just lying around in modern organizations, we unleash a torrent of  brilliant ingenuity and solutions which easily change the direction of the world.  We take on the positive, uplifting and necessary work of untapping this great potential.
  • Peter Block is my inspiration. In his words, to create the future we want we must transform the isolation and self-interest within our communities into connectedness and caring for the whole.
  • I believe we are seeing the re-emergence of everyday super heros. We are reclaiming the future for ourselves rather than waiting for the power brokers of society to decide our fate.
  • Experiment #1: Create a small experiment to validate hypothesis that people in Sault Ste. Marie, my home town, are interested in engaging in a new way.
  • For my first experiment, I introduced Ignite to the Sault. Ignite is an event where people share what they are passionate about in 5 minute presentations. It ’ s a proven format, that ’ s lots of fun. For the first Ignite, we personally invited 50 people, from many different sectors in our community. It was an overwhelming success, some saying it was the best event they had ever attended in the Sault. The result made visible a desire and need to connect a diverse group of people around things that matter.
  • Second experiment: validate hypothesis on larger scale, using another event format. Focus on a segment of population.
  • Once again, a huge success. Air was electric, engagement was high. People shared with each other, connected in new ways.
  • Experiment #3. Now getting to a serious topic, one that matters to me. Also testing entire Sault population for interest. Also, how will I do at running my first true open space?
  • Fast forward one year, and we arrive at ChangeCamp Sault. I had the awesome privilege of organizing and facilitating an open space event for the first time. It was held in my home town of Sault Ste. Marie. ChangeCamp Sault is both the fulfillment and start of a personal dream. I attended the first ChangeCamp at Toronto in January of 2009, then my first experience of open space. Over 200 participants actively engaged in answering the question: how can we re-imagine how government and citizens engage each other in an age of participation? It was an exciting day, full of shared ideas, new connections and belief that we can act to shape our collective future. I knew then that I wanted to create that same experience in my own city, which would be something entirely new. In open space, the people who come set the agenda and engage in open participatory dialogue. At the time the idea felt risky – how would people respond? Goals
  • diverse group - students, retirees, politicians, small biz owners, newcomers variety of topics - how to improve health care, how to use brown fields, how to engage community in election process for once, citizens were the focus - setting their own agenda, talking about what they cared about, in a safe, inviting space
  • Results: - experience an alternate form of dialogue, based on inclusiveness, diversity of views, seeking common ground, self organization - greater sense of hope, from discovering others who also care deeply about what you do
  • My great epiphany is that these connections are the seeds of change. No matter our cause, our ambitions, our hopes and our passions, to bring about change, we must also invest in building community, for a connected community is at the root of all the change we seek. I ’ ve spent time on many causes and issues over the years, often feeling like little progress is being made, or that bringing about change is hard, at times gruelling work. ChangeCamp showed me a different path. I ’ m having more fun and feeling more successful by nurturing community, through which change will occur.
  • Soon after ChangeCamp came the municipal election. What better opportunity for citizens and political leaders to engage in conversations about what matters to the community? I set about creating an alternative to the familiar candidates' debates which generate in my view more heat than substance.
  • Experiment was to see if I could interest the City in getting involved in this engagement. In order to scale, to make a difference, I felt I needed to partner with them.
  • The design was simple: everyone participate in a series of short, intimate conversations with candidates and other citizens, building on each other's ideas for what kind of community they want and what it will take to get there. Based on the world café format, I coined it ‘ civic speed dating ’ . Candidates will demonstrate how they can work collaboratively toward a common objective, to bring out the best in the ideas of others while also finding ways to effectively communicate their own. They'll have to make real choices around what to do and when. Real stuff, the kind of work they'll need to do if they are elected. Of course, citizens are a vital part of the conversation and will have to do the same.
  • Small experiment, showed promise. Turnout was much lower than hoped, perhaps reflection of voter apathy. Participants agreed the format was great, and will see its full benefit when there is wider participation. Mayor Amaroso elected, invited to help turn her ‘ Your city, your say ’ campaign into reality and got invitation to help kick start work of council team.
  • The start of a new year means budget time once again. Councillors have dozens, maybe hundreds of choices to make, and the trade-offs aren ’ t often clear. It ’ s a daunting task to make those decisions, especially for new councillors. They want to better understand the priorities of citizens regarding key budget initiatives, but how in a time and cost- effective manner, in a way that people want to participate?
  • Diverse groups of 7-9 citizens sat together, each possessing play money to purchase items.
  • They were presented 18 hypothetical funding proposals and 11 hypothetical reduction proposals which they could work together to “ fund ” or “ reduce ” . The key is that no one has enough money to buy the items they care most about – they have to persuade others to pool their money together, and that ’ s the magic of the game. Each table group could use reductions to free up money to spend, provided they reached unanimous consent to cut something, like the building of a new police station.
  • To help citizens, subject matter experts from the city were available to answer questions. From our perspective, they also observed first-hand the power of serious games.
  • I was there, at the invitation of Luke Hohmann, CEO of Innovation Games, to work as a volunteer observer and learn from the experience, in the hopes of holding a similar event in the Sault. For corporations, this type of event isn ’ t so unique, but for government, it ’ s pioneering stuff. My role was to capture both quantitative data, like who spent money on what, and qualitative data, like why an item was purchased, how the discussions went, what items were easy for the group not to purchase. After 90 minutes I had 30 index cards worth of data from our table.
  • Goals: get to know each other as individuals, what their collective gifts are define what kind of council they want to become rally around a common set of priorities
  • Two of three goals were achieved. The attending Council members left with an increased comfort level in working together, in approaching each other to work on issues. The high resonance from proclaiming each other's gifts has served them well when working through difficult decisions. The process of creating their shared values poster, now signed and displayed in Council chambers is a visible reminder of the kind of Council they want to become. The mayor did not get her list of priorities. In hindsight, it would have been better to review the priority items before hand so they could refine their priority definition to a workable one. Even then, I wonder if the councillors were truly ready. Two of the veteran councillors felt it was too early for new councillors to know what the priorities ought to be. I observed how challenging it is for a large group of high achievers in a political environment to reach consensus.
  • What I was doing is better articulated by a Business Model Canvas, a tool I now use to see the full picture of my efforts. You can use this to map out what you want to do, identifying the key pieces of your engagement model and then validating the riskiest assumptions.
  • I ’ ve re-shifted efforts towards building a collaborative workspace, one that taps into the talents, energy and experience of entrepreneurs and creatives.
  • Called Gangplank, it ’ s a model that seeks to build an economy of collaboration and community. We believe social capital is the currency of the present and future.
  • My current Gangplank business model canvass
  • Transcript

    • 1. January 24-25, 2013 Igsummit.weebly.comDemocracy Unleashed: Bringing Agility to Citizen Engagement Gerry Kirk NuFocus Sault Ste. Marie, ON CAN @gerrykirk Look below for notes on Speaker Notes tab
    • 2. Story of SCENE launch @gerrykirk | Photo credit: (cc) itupictures on
    • 3. SCENE - Jennifer @gerrykirk | Photo credit: (cc) itupictures on
    • 4. Shift - citizens organizing @gerrykirk | Photo credit: (cc) akrockefeller on
    • 5. “We are living in the middle of largest increase in expressive capability in history of human race.” - Clay Shirky @gerrykirk |Photo credit: (cc) jamin2 on
    • 6. @gerrykirk |Photo credit: (cc) changecampsault on
    • 7. Transform city of Sault Ste. Marie @gerrykirk |
    • 8. Engagement Engagement Process Process group group ? Engage in new Engage in newCross section ofCross section of way to connect way to connectSault Ste. MarieSault Ste. Marie on topics that on topics that citizens citizens matter matter
    • 9. Ignite SaultHow much Italian can oneHow much Italian can one community eat? community eat? @gerrykirk | Photo credit: (cc) Plain Can Be Lovely on
    • 10. Engagement Engagement Process Process Group Group ? Barcamp format Barcamp format Creative, Creative, untested locally untested locallyentrepreneurialentrepreneurialpeople in SSM people in SSM
    • 11. Soo PodcampShare & learn in open environment Participants are main actors 50+ attendees 9 sessions @gerrykirk |
    • 12. Problem Problem Process Process ?Building a vibrantBuilding a vibrant Can II design & Can design & community community facilitate an open facilitate an open space event? space event?
    • 13. ChangeCamp Sault @gerrykirk |Photo credit: (cc) changecampsault on
    • 14. ChangeCamp: tools @gerrykirk | Photo credit: (cc) changecampsault on
    • 15. ChangeCamp: Results "Today helped me feel more like part of the community. Im a newcomer, but after today, Im in it." @gerrykirk | Photo credit: (cc) CHANGEME on
    • 16. Change Agent RippleEffect @gerrykirk | Photo credit: (cc) mvcorks on
    • 17. ElectionCafés @gerrykirk | Photo credit: (cc) changecampsault on
    • 18. Key Partner Key Partner City of City ofSault Ste. MarieSault Ste. Marie
    • 19. Election CaféMayor Amaroso World Café + Prune the Product Tree @gerrykirk | Photo credit: (cc) changecampsault on
    • 20. 14 year old Matt Kot: I am making another apple! Okay then, this tree is pretty much the future of the Sault. The apples represent certain factors, factors that will help us propel to greatness. Greatness this city can use! Online sessions ofPrune the Product Tree @gerrykirk | Photo credit: (cc) changecampsault on
    • 21. EC: results get a photo of Mayor elected @gerrykirk | Photo credit: (cc) CHANGEME on
    • 22. City Council Kick Start @gerrykirk |
    • 23. Council kickstart Journey Lines @gerrykirk |
    • 24. Team Values Exercise @gerrykirk |
    • 25. Council: formatProduct Box @gerrykirk |
    • 26. Council: results see notes below @gerrykirk |
    • 27. Story of SCENE launch @gerrykirk | Photo credit: (cc) itupictures on
    • 28. @gerrykirk |
    • 29. @gerrykirk |Photo credit: (cc) CHANGEME on
    • 30. It’s Your MoveGerry Kirk@gerrykirkgerrykirk.netExperience