Renewing systems and organizations

The activity of our systems -- organizational, community, or societal -- are defined by sets of unspoken rules and assumptions.

When we don't reflect on those rules and assumptions our attitudes and technologies might change, but the systems don't.

For example, an organization can honestly desire innovation yet be trapped by routines that make that ambition seem distant. 

Intervene breaks up the patterns that build up over time, allowing our clients to approach challenges from a fresh perspective.

We point out the unspoken patterns so that we can redesign the moments when you come together to better reflect the reality you want to see. Existing routines often embody old ways of thinking and working and need to be updated with intent.

Sometimes this shows up in simple ways, like drawing a line between what we say and how it makes others feel.

Sometimes the work is more complex, like dismantling structures that systematically exclude that have accumulated over decades.

Building institutions and systems that reflect current attitudes and technologies requires an intentional process of disorganization and reorganization. Piling new expectations on old systems serves neither.

What we do

Systemic Design: Better design for the moments when people come together. We bring approaches and methodologies to advance shared objectives in complex environments with a sharp backbone of process planning (see Decolonizing Canadian Dance as a case study).

Systemic Consulting: Working closely with clients, we initiate the self-transforming and self-organizing capacities of organizations to respond to an evolving environment and renew in a proactive rather than reactive way. Check out our work with Music in the Barns to learn more.

Systemic Development: Through workshops and leadership development programs, we build the capacity of individuals and teams to find their feet and start moving into complexity.  We help our participants operate in spaces where their knowledge is hard to apply and where the context is unknown or unknowable. Find out more and hear from the Regent Park Film Festival about the impact for their organization and events.

Our methods draw our clients’ attention to how they are making sense of themselves, their environments, and the processes by which value is created. We also demonstrate how existing habits lead to cycles of decisions and action that may not be in alignment with project or organizational goals. Until we develop continual awareness of the uncertainty of our environments and the many potential ways of responding to those environments, ongoing change remains difficult and costly.

The self-transforming and self-organizing capacities of your organization are already there. Where many organizations need help is viewing their situation from different perspectives -- not better ones -- but different views that illuminate different opportunities and thereby trigger different decision-making responses. Sometimes it only takes one conversation to uncover the perspectives necessary to take effective action.

Hope Decoded was an imperfect collection of diverse thinkers engaging in an unclear, un-stage-managed process that sought to tackle hopelessness, but instead fostered new empathy for different perspectives. It might lead to new solutions for four battle-tested cause champions. It will almost certainly lead to asymmetrical collaborations that could eventually produce new ideas for far larger societal challenges. And it will most definitely allow dozens and dozens of people to think differently, to ask better questions — personally and professionally — when debating and tackling the issues of our time.
— Simon Jackson, Founder, Spirit Bear Youth Coalition

Sample Clients