On March 7, 2012, Canadian Fellows of the Royal Society for the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA) and Friends of the Society met in Vancouver to discuss the strategic direction for the group going forward. The evening was kindly sponsored by University Canada West. “It was a splendid evening that sparked a great deal of solid, forward-looking discussion from everyone,” stated Dr. Charles McCaffray, who helped to organize the event.

Approximately fifty five people participated and Lynn Broadbent, Fellowship Director from Washington, D.C., joined the group for the occasion.  “It was lots of fun and a really interesting approach to creative thinking,” said Ms. Broadbent.

Around the world, fellows are utilizing design thinking to address social issues ranging from prison reform to revitalization of local libraries. LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ is a great tool to facilitate design thinking processes.  Stephen Murgatroyd and Charles McCaffray reviewed pressing issues being addressed globally, and narrowed the list to nine hot button topics they felt were relevant today in Canada.

Graphic posters displayed around the room indicated the nine areas for discussion. The groups self-sorted by selecting a topic they felt passionate about for small group work. The topics included:

1. Public Engagement and Collaboration: To enhance neighborhood police services

2. Improving Substance Abuse Services: Through the engagement and support of drug users

3. Making Connections for New Canadians:  Working to ensure a sustainable future

4. Transformation of Local Libraries: Creating business hubs for lifelong learning

5. The Social Enterprising Prison: Creating programs for inmates to give back, while building needed skill sets

6. Rethinking Education: Creating systems and practices that are truly learner centered

7. Easing Social Isolation and Loneliness of Seniors: Through service redesign

8. People Centered Cities: Creating better public space that’s lively, healthy, attractive, sustainable, and safe

9. Energy and the environment: The path forward

Small groups, comprised of five to seven people, were formulated and worked together using systematic creativity facilitated by members of the Strategicplay® Group from Vancouver.  Individually and also in teams, the groups used LEGO® bricks to build 3Dimensional metaphors to gain a deeper understanding of these complex issues.  The facilitated discussions allowed participants to see, hear, and experience rich conversations, to unearth perspectives from all participants.

Clearly, from the participation and energy in the room, there was great interest in the topics. Next steps include the formulation of a planning committee, which will work with the larger group to narrow the focus areas down to three topics with the aim of putting serious action projects together. The group also hopes to attract new members. So if these topics interest you, please review the RSA website and consider joining their next discussion: http://www.thersa.org

For more information on Strategic Play with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™

In the America’s visit: www.strategicplay.ca

In EU visit: www.strategicplay.de

 

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