Skillful Engagement Series

Skillful Engagement is a community of practice for engagement practitioners. The series showcases innovative projects and speakers, provides a forum to share knowledge and challenges, and acts as a catalyst to inspire and support the growing engagement sector. This work reflects a shared understanding that improved engagement of communities, organizations and stakeholders leads to better decisions and stronger, more resilient outcomes.

Skillful Engagement is a partnership between the SFU Centre for Dialogue’s Civic Engage Program, SFU Public Square, and SFU’s Dialogue and Civic Engagement Certificate program.

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In this interactive workshop, Ben Weinlick of the Skills Society Action Lab, along with colleagues Aleeya Velji and Sameer Singh of the Edmonton Shift Lab, will share learning and experience around stewarding social innovation labs, and robust community co-design processes.

Systemic Design is the engine underlying much of their lab work and essentially blends systems thinking and design thinking to help with tackling complex challenges with community. This session will be a mix of story and theory and then learning a systemic design tool you can use and take away into your own practice of stewarding community engagement explorations.

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Public participation is increasingly becoming the norm for government decision-making. More engagement, however, doesn’t necessarily translate into higher satisfaction with the process and outcomes among communities and decision-makers. Oftentimes, this is because their needs and expectations are not aligned or communicated well enough.

This interactive workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to explore key characteristics of highly effective public engagement, such as engaging diverse audiences, creating conditions for informed judgement, and using dialogue to bridge differences in perspectives.

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Our world is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Daily we are bombarded with news and behaviors that disturb, threaten, or upset us. Or we work with others who trigger and challenge us. In the climate, fear and contraction are a natural response. In this experiential workshop, we’ll explore cultivating trust at three different levels:  Self, Group, and System. Along the way, we will tap into the frameworks and wisdom of Trust Theory and Process Oriented Psychology.

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Join us for the 4th installment in the Skillful Engagement Series to learn with world-renowned author, evaluation consultant and thought leader Michael Quinn Patton. Michael will share insights from his most recent work and thinking on Principles-Focused Evaluation, which examines whether principles are clear, meaningful, and actionable, whether they are actually being followed, and whether they are leading to desired results.

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During the third installment of the Skillful Engagement series – Design Thinking for Facilitators – you’ll learn about design thinking, a human-centred, systems-based approach to problem solving that encourages you to step back and explore a problem space with an open mind and an expanding set of methods. Design thinking is an iterative, generative and collaborative process that aims to deeply understand and reframe  complex problems into tangible opportunities for social and sustainable innovation. Similar to engagement practices, design thinking is transdisciplinary and optimistic.

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Getting the right people ‘to the table’ through effective, truly inclusive stakeholder engagement is one of the biggest challenges facing planners, policy-makers and organizational change-makers today. Without a diversity of perspectives, shaped by people with different experiences and backgrounds, engagement efforts are far less likely to lead to innovative, durable or even relevant solutions.

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