Alan Atkisson Region Forum: Post-event report

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The post-event report from the Alan Atkisson Regional Workshop. Hosted by the Calgary Regional Partnership

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Alan Atkisson Region Forum: Post-event report

  1. 1. The Pyramid Workshop: Calgary Regional Partnership members explore creative approaches to future building
  2. 2. The Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) recently showcased an innovative planning and team-building technique to help uncover new strategies for growth and progress within the Calgary Region. A focus on collaboration and creativity formed the foundation for an event that captured ideas, solutions and opportunities that will benefit the Partnership and stakeholders for years to come. Background Collaboration has been responsible for some of the greatest successes within the Calgary Regional Partnership. Members of the Partnership worked together to create the award-winning Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP), which provides a guide for the Region’s evolution in an environment of rapid, robust growth. The Plan’s key strategies address developmental and environmental objectives while considering necessary governance and servicing arrangements. In recent years, the Region has focused on the development of a measurement system to monitor progress with the CMP. In 2012, the Partnership collaborated to create a set of key measures (indicators) to track progress toward achieving the principles and vision of the CMP. Recently, staff and members employed a creative approach to generating new and innovative ideas for the future. These ideas will provide the foundation for the four-year strategic action plan that will help guide the evolution of the Region. The Pyramid Workshop process The Pyramid Workshop approach is the brainchild of Alan AtKisson, an internationally recognized expert in sustainability. He has spent more than 20 years working on complex strategic and technical issues in sustainability with companies and institutions around the globe. Through his work in leadership, strategic consulting and professional development, Alan has developed a number of sustainability tools and methodologies that have supported sustainability initiatives in more than 40 countries. CRP staff members were aware of the successful use of the Pyramid workshop approach across the globe, where it has been used to create regional and city plans, neighborhood projects, university campus initiatives, and even national laws. They saw the technique as an opportunity to develop unique strategies for growth within the Region. “Our primary goal for the Pyramid Workshop was idea generation,” says Kelly Learned, Senior Regional Planner, Calgary Regional Partnership. “This purpose of the event wasn’t decision-making exercise. Instead, we wanted to find a fun and engaging way to involve CRP members and stakeholders in generating ideas and actions for the future.” Working with research partners, the Miistakis Institute, the CRP organized the Region’s first Pyramid Workshop, inviting 48 participants from 20 municipalities and numerous stakeholder groups to participate in “Working Together to Build a Sustainable Future in the Calgary Region: A ‘Pyramid’ Workshop for Collaborative Planning.” The event was held March 4, 2014 at the Cochrane Ranchehouse. The Pyramid Workshop: Calgary Regional Partnership members explore creative approaches to future building “We wanted to find a fun and engaging way to generate ideas and actions for the future”.
  3. 3. Exploring the Pyramids During the workshop, participants were led through a series of activities linked to the four levels of the Pyramid. All participants were tasked with answering the question: How can we work together better to implement the Calgary Metropolitan Plan? As participants worked through various tasks and discussions, they witnessed the pyramid being built based on their ideas. The end result was the largest physical Pyramid ever built in this workshop format, boasting four levels and a capstone. Workshop participants embarked on a series of activities designed to highlight ways members could work together to make the greatest possible impact on the Region. Pyramid Level 1: Indicators To build the first level of the pyramid, participants chose one of eight tables, each representing a compass point (N – nature, E – economy, S – society, W – well-being). Working as a team, the participants at each table reviewed the indicators from the CMP relevant to their compass point and were asked to discuss: • What is missing from our formal assessments? • What other key issues/trends/indicators do we need to consider, to work together as a Region, and to implement the Calgary Metropolitan Plan? Each table discussed trends and sketched “getting better/worse” graphs for each indicator that provided the first level of the Pyramid. Pyramid Level 2: Systems, Part 1 - Linkages Next, participants joined different tables to begin exploring the connections with indicators. Each team considered the following questions: • Are there some trends that cause or contribute to other trends? • Do you see any new, missing trends as a result of thinking about what causes what? Each group was asked to capture their key insights in a worksheet and to take note of any patterns and cause- and-effect relationships. Pyramid Level 2: Systems, Part 2 - Leverage Points In the same groups, participants were asked to draw a picture or map of the most important connections among indicators, including any new issues they identified. The groups identified the best leverage points where it would be possible to make a change, or try something new, to positively affect the whole system. The names and descriptions of key leverage points provided the second level of the Pyramid. Pyramid Level 3: Innovation After some quiet reflection, participants were encouraged to wander around, look at the Pyramid and Systems maps and to brainstorm. Areas of focus included: • What are your best ideas? • What kinds of actions, projects, initiatives, or changes would help advance the CMP and the sustainability of the CRP? Participants at each table worked together to identify innovations, describing their ideas and how the idea would change the system. Each group picked three of their ideas, gave them a “catchy” name and presented their selected ideas to the workshop at large. Each of these ideas formed the third level of the Pyramid. “In many ways, this event represented a significant team-building opportunity for the Region together with our stakeholders”.
  4. 4. A “dotmocracy” exercise allowed each participant to vote for the three best ideas that weren’t their own. The most popular ideas and the number votes received for each compass direction included: Nature • Municipal decision support tools (10 votes) • Root awakening – create a set of field-based dialogues on critical themes, for example, poof, ecological infrastructure (5) • Sustainability here and there (4) • Regional smart growth model/framework – see the whole, develop shared tools, leverage provincial/federal dollars (4) Economy • Municipal sustainability bonds (10) • Share the “how to’s” – website expansion and resources (7) • Regional path network and land trust (3) Society • Regional resource hub -– support, tools, practices, action, value added, tech-innovate, information, resources, capacity, people, knowledge generators, incubators (9) • Build beyond code – innovations approval process/incentives (7) • “Heart of the matter” – integrated land use and social planning “collaboration assistance” (6) Well-being/wellness • Guerrilla regionalism – education with action and demonstration (for example, park-ing day, pop-up parks), regional scavenger hunt, CRP concert/event, CRP roadshow, TV campaign (10) • How to share a backyard – CRP providing public education regarding land use planning and opportunities (6) • Social wellbeing – happiness indexing (6) Pyramid Level 4: Strategy, Creating the Capstone Agreement and Looking Forward After returning to their original tables, participants considered one or two of the most popular ideas and had a short group discussion on what it would take to make the idea a reality. As individuals, participants were asked to consider: • What are you willing to do to make one or more of these ideas a reality? If participants were prepared to make a commitment to a follow-up action (on any scale, from hosting a meeting or making a phone call, to launching an ambitious new initiative), they were asked to declare the action. These commitments and actions formed the fourth level of the Pyramid.
  5. 5. The strategies and commitments offered up by the participants included: Nature • Collect and contribute land use/planning photos • Create a list of bylaw resources • Discuss how The University of Calgary might assist with the development of tools and strategies to assist CRP • Structure process for moving the ideas forward into the development of the four-year plan • Capture this process – blog, videos, feedback • CRP Spring Symposium – next forum • Continue to build the knowledge and network in the Region • Attend forums, volunteer, facilitate, organize, help create policy library Economy • Commit to champion the idea of forums to the Board of CRP • Commit to build how-to via brand journalism effort • Offer myself as a resource for all municipalities to build trust and promote a regional lens approach • Share positive feedback about today and attend future CRP event • Plan projects under CMP • Share resources – volunteer to tour centres meet and greet Society • Strengthen alignment between City of Calgary indicators and regional indicators (+ imagineCalgary) • Champion CRP’s agenda through our Region • Sustainable appraisal tool • Communicate and build on today’s key outcomes – regional connections, communication and value • Build a connected community • Commit to embracing new and innovative ideas and technology Well-being/wellness • Explore sustainability network across the Region • Develop decision-making model/process • Put our research results in the context of a demonstration of decision-support tools at the Research Symposium at CRP’s AGM in June • Attend forum • Volunteer for CRP-related events • Contribute to sustainability here and now – technical sustainability, sustainably in the suburban context Following the completion of the fourth level of the Pyramid, a CRP capstone was added to the apex of the pyramid to mark the conclusion of the workshop. “In many ways, this event represented a significant team-building opportunity for the Region together with our stakeholders,” says CRP Chair Barry Williamson “It was a chance for people to share their ideas and brainstorm options, all in an environment that was relaxed, fun and engaging. The process uncovered some really creative ideas for the future—ones that will have a significant impact on the Region for years to come.”
  6. 6. Appendices Appendix 1 - Participation List Rachelle Haddock, Miistakis Institute Douglas Worts, AtKisson Group Mary-Ellen Tyler, University of Calgary Cathy Boddington, Town of Chestermere Alvin Melton, Town of Irricana Lynette Hubert, University of Calgary Rod Ross, Town of Black Diamond Michel Jackson, Town of Black Diamond Les Quinton, Town of Black Diamond Dusty Williams, Town of Turner Valley Ivan Moore, Government of Alberta Allison Williams, Rocky View County Barry Williamson, Town of Valley Wasan Jema, University of Calgary Mike Quinn, Mount Royal University Keith Gibson, University of Calgary Evan Woolley, City of Calgary Patricia Matthews, Town of Chestermere Gail Smith, Town of Chestermere Sharon Plett, CRP Judy Stewart, University of Calgary Nicole Tomes, Town of Cochrane Jim Stevenson, City of Calgary Suzanne Oel, MD of Foothills Christina Fuller, City of Calgary Diane Shearer, City of Calgary Neil Younger, City of Calgary Heather Kauer, Town of Chestermere Chen Peng, Town of Chestermere Michael Ell, Town of Strathmore Rick Everett, Town of Nanton Georgina Sharpe, Town of Nanton Bill Robertson, Town of Okotoks Jessica Letizia, CRP Jillian Green, Town of Chestermere Dawn Smith, Town of Okotoks Ettore Iannacito, CRP Karl Yeh, CRP Joanne Perdue, BRBC Colleen Shepherd, CRP Bob Miller, CRP Jason Parker, MD Foothills Tom Dixon, Calgary Economic Development Sydney Fream, CRP GC Carra, City of Calgary Hugh Pepper, UBBCES Kelly Learned, CRP
  7. 7. Appendix 2 – Workshop Agenda Working Together to Build a Sustainable Future in the Calgary Region A “Pyramid” Workshop for Collaborative Planning Guiding Question: How can we work together better to implement the Calgary Metropolitan Plan? 9:00 Welcome and introductions 9:10 Reflections on the Calgary Metropolitan Plan The importance of a common vision 9:30 Introduction to the Pyramid process How can we work together to make the greatest positive impact on our region? 9:45 Pyramid Level 1: Indicators Reviewing the indicators: What are the key trends we need to consider? What trends are missing from our formal assessments? What’s most important? 10:45 Pyramid Level 2: Systems, Part 1 - Linkages Understanding the connections: What causes these trends? How do they interact with each other? What patterns do we see? 11:45 Plenary check-in: stocktaking and review What have we learned so far? 1:00 Pyramid Level 2: Systems, Part 2 - Leverage points Where can we work together effectively to make positive change at a regional scale? 1:45 Plenary check-in: sharing our insights on leverage points Priority focus areas for common action 2:00 Pyramid Level 3: Innovation Given what we have learned by reflecting on these things together, what new ideas for action and change do we have? What are our best ideas for working together to achieve the future we want? 3:15 Pyramid Level 4: Strategy How can we take the best ideas forward? What will it take to make this a reality? How can the CRP facilitate that? 3:50 Creating the Capstone Agreement and Looking Forward What level of commitment are we ready to make to these ideas? What do we know, today, that we can and will do? 4:15 Closing Words 4:30 Capping the Pyramid, Photo, and Adjourn to Reception!
  8. 8. Appendix 3 – Level 2 Leverage Points – Systems Maps
  9. 9. Appendix 4 - Pyramid Notes by Level and Direction/Segment Pyramid Notes by Level Pyramid Notes by Level - Level One: Each point is a discussion point that carried with it an indication of how the group felt it was trending. Orange Side - ECONOMY (east) • Reliance on natural resources and diversification of energy (balance) • Reliance on temporary workers/outside labour • Reliance of income from around the world (foreign direct) sustainable? • Transportation systems • Education (level) – align to business needs • New business start-ups • Unemployment rate • Workforce attraction – skilled worker • Tax assessment/diversity • Employment diversity (regional and local) • Household income (cost of living) • Benefit corp (climate) social ent. • Job satisfaction (meaningful work) • Income (household) cost of living Yellow Side – SOCIETY (south) • CRP capacity to effect regional outcomes • CRP relevance (benefit to members being realized, being part of solution, at regional level and municipal partner) • CRP popular awareness and support (degree engagement and confidence – brand presentation) • Trust – building • Municipal voter turnout • Participation index (representation from ALL municipalities) • Completion rate – education • Collaboration of inter-municipal grants • Population (varies over time) • Volunteerism • Number of shared service partnerships • Healthfulness of communities (health and wellness) • Healthfulness of communities (lifestyle and recreation • Healthfulness of communities (education and institutions) • Healthfulness of communities (governance and democracy) • Healthfulness of communities (poverty and equality) • Social neighbourliness – influenced by planning and allocation of green space • Connections between society and well being • Building trust – how do we measure it? • Population is neither good or bad • Effect of 9/11 are still not known • Effect of social media Red Side – WELLNESS (west) • Within the CRP and and CMP there is a gap in planning and accounting for “well-being” • Resiliency • Crime rate • Consumerism • Health: birth weights • Access to physical activity opportunities i.e. recreation (passive + organized) • Access to services and amenities • Access to health care (doctors, medical facilities, pharmacies) • Demographics – age mix • Cup of sugar • Mobility issues (walkability, transit – specialized, affordability, commute times) • Arts and culture • It is hard to think about social well-being independent of economic well being • Wave test • Be able to name five neighbours around you • Happiness – general and at-risk population (social connectiveness, sense of community, personal security, financial security, sense of opportunity) • Measure of the gap • Affordability (cost of living) • Ability to borrow $500.00 for self • Ability to donate $500.00 to community • Personal wealth • Participation in community based groups Green Side – NATURE (north) • Greenfield density – flattening • Quantity of water (unclear – what does quantity mean?) • Quality of water – variation in water quality dependent on location • Quality of air (N02) – regional variations • Quality of air (PM) • Ecological footprint • New indicators (open space, asthma rates, riparian land – link environment to other indicators) • Regional water servicing • Ah-has – technology change, everything connected, cumulative • Regional GHG emissions • Storm drainage management – compact soils • Landscape – connectivity • Waste management • Wetlands • Forestry • Fisheries
  10. 10. Pyramid Notes by Level - Level Two: Orange Side - ECONOMY (east) • Economy well being • Opportunity (informed choices – mobility, affordability, jobs, education) • Affordability • Tutorials (retail, safety, walkable communities) • Agreed inter-municipal quality performance/guidelines, targets • Cost of living affects economic stability, trust health – happiness and well being • Neighbourliness – mental health • We can affect change – affects our desire/ability to contribute to our community (economic growth and employment, affects mental health/ physical health, CRP can influence through only members) • Economic development spatial planning • Post-secondary satellite locations Yellow Side – SOCIETY (south) • Governance and decision making – voluntary collaborative action (to share water/water quality) • Settlement pattern (land use) – population distribution more important than population numbers • Transportation (influence on form) • Regional rec facility membership • Healthfulness of communities (health and wellness) • Live, work, play locally • Engagement – connectedness, participation, governance, capacity, opportunity, political will • Regional pathway linkages • Cost sharing – inter-municipal and regional • Governance • Land use regulations • Cost sharing – inter-municipal • Population density Red Side – WELLNESS (west) • Transportation systems • Regional transit • Water systems and wetlands • Community well being • Education priorities • Urban sprawl • Community connectivity • Employment diversity • Healthy communities • Creating long-term goals • Neighbourliness – happiness, well being • Neighbourliness – mental health – physical health, respect, trust – affected by work • Neighbourliness – life balance, safety, cost of living – our desire to be neighbourly • Neighbourliness – recreation/community services • Community wellness • Post-secondary satellite locations Green Side – NATURE (north) • Physical landscape – well being • Systems thinking • Equitable and conservation oriented community design (smart) • Neighbourliness – there are new islands, we are all connected • Ecosystems – landscape, water quality/quantity, air quality • Issues of scale related to region • Wise management (natural capital, wealth, education, community design, cumulative affects management) • Smart regional water management in area of water scarcity • Regional efficiencies
  11. 11. Orange Side - ECONOMY (east) • Promoting your champions – showcase and support small-scale initiatives “in your backyard” (connect to NESW) • Regional decision-making! Sustainability appraisal tool: based on regional goals (work together to assess our decisions, build trust) • CRP help towns with social/healthy communities • Build collective regional voice in advocacy to act as a catalyst for change • Municipal sustainability bonds • Municipal Kijiji • Share the “how to’s” – website expansion and resources • Regional path network and land trust Yellow Side – SOCIETY (south) • Integrated land use and social planning “collaboration assistance,” “heart of the matter” • Visual community-based best practices “community catalogue – Brain Waves” (my town, tool box, life styles, housing, food) • Regional resource hub (support, tools, practices, action, value added, tech-innovate, information, resources, capacity, people, knowledge generators, incubators) • Regional Wiki (crowd sourcing) • “Boots on the ground” – CRP will provide the space for social, public engagement • Build beyond code – innovations approval process – incentives • “Buy into the Region” – project credits for the public, for example, power, transit Red Side – WELLNESS (west) • How to share a backyard – CRP providing public education regarding land use planning and opportunities • Social well being – happiness indexing • Councillor / Admin in Residence program (exchange) • Guerilla Regionalism – regional scavenger hunt, CRP concert/event, CRP roadshow, creating movement, TV campaign, contest • Pay for the true cost of services we receive • Transect – a reframed approach to land use regulation operating systems Green Side – NATURE (north) • The Russians are coming – invasive species management • Root awakening – create a set of field-based dialogues on critical themes, for example, poof, ecological infrastructure • Spring try-outs: CRP pilot projects for proof of concept(s)- CMP implementation • Sustainability here and there • Branding iron – crate of a regional identity/sense of place for CRP residents • Municipal decision support tools • Regional smart growth model/framework – see the whole, develop shared tools, leverage prov/fed $ • Economic incentives / dis-incentives to encourage beneficial practices Pyramid Notes by Level - Level Three:
  12. 12. Orange Side - ECONOMY (east) • I will commit to champion the idea of forums to the Board of CRP • Commit to build how-to via brand journalism effort • Offer myself as a resource for all municipalities to build trust and promote a regional lens approach • Share positive feedback about today and attend CRP event again • Plan project under RCP • Share resources – volunteer to tour centres meet and greet Yellow Side – SOCIETY (south) • Strengthen alignment between City of Calgary indicators and regional indicators (+ imagineCalgary) • Champion CRP’s agenda through our Region • Sustainable appraisal tool • Communicate and build on today’s key outcomes – regional connections, communication and value • Build a connected community • ICommit to embracing new and innovative ideas and technology Red Side – WELLNESS (west) • Explore sustainability network across the Region • Develop decision-making model/process • Put our research results in the context of a demonstration of decision-support tools at the Research Symposium at CRP AGM in June • Attend forum • Volunteer for CRP-related events • Contribute to sustainability here and now – technical sustainability, sustainably in the suburban context Green Side – NATURE (north) • Collect and contribute land use/planning photos • Create a list of bylaw resources • Discuss how The University of Calgary might assist with the development of tools and strategies to assist CRP • Structure process for moving the ideas forward into development of four-year plan • Capture this process – blog, videos, feedback • CRP Spring Symposium – next forum • Continue to build the knowledge and network in the Region • Attend forums, volunteer, facilitate, organize, help create policy library Pyramid Notes by Level - Level Four:

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