Kathy Jourdain of Shape Shift Strategies Inc. has developed a strong and diverse portfolio of client and community engagement work. Much of this work is done in strategic, collaborative partnerships. She consistently works with partner Jerry Nagel of the Meadowlark Institute in Minnesota as well as other local and international partners. What follows are a few examples of projects and initiatives Kathy and Jerry have partnered on and a few examples of projects or initiatives one or the other has spearheaded.
Jerry and Kathy work with core teams in the larger and longer term initiatives.
Northeast Minnesota – Grand Rapids, Itasca County
In 2013, the Meadowlark Institute received a two year contract from the Blandin Foundation in Grand Rapids, MN to deliver a series of Art of Hosting trainings in the region, to grow the region’s capacity to identify and be in conversations that matter to the health and vitality of local communities. Meadowlark Institute invited Shape Shift Strategies in as a key delivery partner. Community members have responded with curiosity and an enthusiasm that has spun off other initiatives. One is a series of community conversations that has key community members and organizations exploring how they become a stronger more diverse economy with greater inclusion and engagement of all walks of life; exploring how to work together more collaboratively. This initiative is leading to a community wide conversation in November 2014 where citizens will set the agenda for the things they want to talk about and ultimately take responsibility and ownership for moving topics that matter to them forward.
A second initiative that is unfolding is Dialogues for Possibilities that will have the entire region in conversations about the future it wants to live into. This initiative was sparked by the contentious debate between mining and environmental interests and is intended to avoid a polarization of issues, making sure all points of view have a voice in determining the future. The Blandin Foundation asked the Meadowlark Institute to submit a proposal for a multi-year region wide stakeholder dialogue initiative (that Shape Shift is partnering on) and is currently reviewing the submission for funding with the initiative set to more formally start in December 2014.
Collaborative Care/Inter-Disciplinary Practice Initiative in Nova Scotia
In 2006, the College of Registered Nurses of NS embarked on what turned out to be a four year long initiative, using Theory U, Art of Hosting and the Chaordic Stepping Stones, to increase the practice of true collaborative care in healthcare in NS. The initiative was led by a core team, supported by Kathy Jourdain and other colleagues, and included deep sensing interviews, hosting the core team and smaller stakeholder gatherings as well as large scale stakeholder assemblies. The initiative concluded with an assembly were champion collaborative care teams from around the province shared their “stepping stones” for success with other participants.
Cross Cultural Work
Art of Hosting in the African Nova Scotian Community and Worldview Awareness
Shape Shift Strategies Inc. has been partnering with Carolann Wright-Parks, Director of Community Economic Development and Strategic Engagement at the Greater Halifax Partnership, on a number of community initiatives. First, with the African Nova Scotian Community in bringing Art of Hosting patterns and practices to facilitation and community work in a way that is culturally relevant. Then, partnering also with Jerry Nagel, on the first Introduction to the Transformative Power of Worldview Awareness in Nova Scotia as we explore both the personal shift that can take place and the organization and governance practices that can be applied when worldview awareness is a mechanism or doorway into social change that has a lasting impact.
Bridging the Complexity of Cultural Differences in Minnesotan Communities
Shape Shift Strategies Inc. has been invited into work by Meadowlark Institute in a number of communities in MN where cross cultural tension between long standing cultures in a community (Anglo, African American and Native American) and Immigrant and Refugee populations (Latino, Somali, Oromo and others) has resulted in outbreaks of violence and an urgency to bring community members together in ways that invited them to explore the multiplicity of worldviews that exist side by side, to find common ground and engage in community visioning that has them working together to solve immediate and longer term issues, like housing, education, access to healthcare and community development to name a few. Two such projects were in South Minneapolis and St. Cloud where we worked with local core teams to understand the scope of what was required and to co-design and co-host processes relevant to the communities involved. In South Minneapolis, it was a training that also brought community together. In St. Cloud it was community conversations that asked us to bring processes for people to stay in conversation with each other – meet each other in new ways.
Strategic Planning, Change Management, Innovation
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
CBCF engaged Shape Shift Strategies Inc. in 2011 to guide their first strategic and operational planning process that began with an environmental scan. This scan combined more traditional data collection with in-depth one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders and elicited the knowledge and wisdom of the people who work with the issues everyday – CBCF staff. Strategic planning was undertaken with the Board of Directors using engagement methodologies and the plan that emerged was then operationalized with senior staff.
Jerry Nagel organized and led the Meadowlark Project beginning in 2005, which was a two year, million dollar, change lab project utilizing Theory U and other stakeholder engagement methods. He worked with a core team of twenty-five people who were representative of the region. A key element of the work was the development of four scenarios about the future of the region, using the Global Business Network’s approach to scenario development. The scenarios were used to initiate conversations in communities throughout the region regarding possible different futures for the region.
The Meadowlark Project led to the creation and work of the Meadowlark Institute. The Meadowlark Project was funded by the Kellog, Bush, Bremer and Blandin Foundations and the United States Department of Agriculture.
There are, of course, more stories of work with clients and community. Some can be found here at the Shape Shift Blog, others over at the Meadowlark Institute.
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