This presentation was use to set the context, opportunity and invitation for the event ChangeCampTO: Designing a Civic Engagement Toolkit held at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library on February 16, 2010.
Hi, I&#x2019;m Mark Kuznicki, and I believe that our politics are broken. I believe that the only way to fix it is by building community and changing ourselves first.
ChangeCamp began here in Toronto in January last year, with an event at MARS focused on "reimagining government and citizenship". Inspired by our work, organizers copied the format in Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax.
ChangeCamp spread because we combined engaging self-organized small group conversations with lots of social media content creation and a format that said "copy me please".
As a community, we have two goals:
I believe we are seeing the re-emergence of everyday superheros. I believe that all of us are heroes-in-waiting, that each of us in our how we live our lives can demonstrate the universal myth - the hero&#x2019;s journey.
If each of us is a hero, then there are unsuspecting heroes among us, everywhere. Because of technology, we are able to connect in new ways, and now we unsuspecting heroes can be known to ourselves and each other.
And when you combine community organizing citizen heroes and the social web together with a new style of leadership, amazing things become possible. Previously unimaginable things.
These are our inspirations. Clay Shirky writes about technology and society in his book &#x201C;Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations&#x201D;. Peter Block developed a model for community transformation using a simple method of small group face-to-face conversations.
Peter Block&#x2019;s method is focused on building our connectedness between each other in our communities. He sees problems as an excuse to get together and build that relatedness.
Shirky is highlighting the remarkable transformation happening in our society now that we can all be creators. We can all participate in a global conversation and each of us can participate in multiple communities simultaneously.
This is what we&#x2019;re talking about and this is the quality of our dialogue online.
We focus on images and memes rather than the underlying issues or the emerging possibilities.
We began this process with a back-casting exercise envisioning the front page of the newspapers the day after the 2010 municipal election on October 25th. We then went back from that date to imagine the things that happened to make such a future possible.
So the ChangeCamp community is building a citizen toolkit that combines these ideas and methods: using both face-to-face and online community organizing to convene conversations about the future we want to create.
To do this we need to change how we gather, how we engage in dialogue and how we create things of value. We also need a new kind of community leadership to apply these tools in a way that can transform our communities and our politics.
This is my invitation to each of you gathered here today. How can we use the 2010 election as an excuse to restore and build community relatedness and shift the conversation about Toronto towards new possibilities?
We need to assemble an open toolkit. We&#x2019;re inviting 240 people to help us co-create a set of tools that can enable organizers across Toronto to invite their fellow citizens to this conversation.
We also need to gather a community of community organizers. Some of you are in this room. Some of you are community heroes, and others are heroes-in-waiting. I am challenging all of us to be the heroes that we are.
We will need to connect these organizers and these tools with partner organizations that have networks, knowledge, resources, spaces and the capacity to convene community conversations about the future.
My name is Mark Kuznicki and I&#x2019;m here to invite you. Please join us in changing our politics by changing the conversation about Toronto that happens in coffee shops, at watercoolers and in online comment threads.
ChangeCampTO Feb.16, 2010
Connecting Torontonians to each other &
their civic passions
60 face-to-face conversations
#1 Trending topic on Twitter
100 wiki pages of notes
450 Flickr photos
40 YouTube videos
96 blog posts
6 major media stories
1. help governments become more open,
transparent, participatory, innovative, efﬁcient
2. help citizens become more connected to
each other around their civic passions in the
place they call home
Rise of the Citizen Hero
Millions of people are
Revealing a collective
“The essential challenge is to
transform the isolation and self-
interest within our communities
into connectedness and caring for
the whole.” - Peter Block
“We are living in the middle of the
largest increase in expressive
capability in the history of the
human race.” - Clay Shirky
Engage & Connect Partners
Centre for Social Innovation U of T Cities Centre
Toronto Public Library More...
Toronto Community Housing
Toronto Workforce Innovation
Business Improvement Areas
Toronto City Summit Alliance
My name is Mark Kuznicki,
and I’m here to invite you.
What declaration of
possibility can you make
that would transform this
initiative and inspire you?
What can we create
together that we cannot