Pecha Kucha: A Strategy for Preventing Data Smog?

Data SmogAlthough I am an admitted information junkie I must confess that recently I’ve suffered from a bit of data overload.

Normally I can handle it and even enjoy it, however I do think data is like food – best when served in reasonably-sized portions from several food groups leaving one satisfied but not stuffed.

Today it seems the amount of information is enough to choke the heartiest of eaters, even when chewed properly.

The constant spew of email, voice mail, phone calls, meetings, newspapers, magazines, memos and more is overwhelming.

While there are experts giving us lots of information on how to manage information (ironic isn’t it?), there are those who are simply rebelling by reducing and simplifying how they communicate.

Change Not Chance?


I am blessed to have maintained a precious relationship with three colleagues with whom I worked over a number of years as part of an exciting community development initiative called ACE Communities. Although we are all now self-employed we continue to connect via monthly group Skype calls. Our conversations are a mix of personal and business but always always reflect deep, rich learning, and probably a little too much fun.

In anticipation of an upcoming call this week, one of the group suggested we provide a bit more structure by having each of us address three questions. One question triggered a memory from many years ago that never fails to make me smile. That question was, “What one moment stands out for you that’s been life-changing?”

Another Reason Why We Need More Libraries and Cafes

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Having a Library or Café Down the Block Could Change Your Life.  A new study shows that living near community-oriented public and commercial spaces brings a host of social benefits, such as increased trust, decreased loneliness, and a stronger sense of attachment to where we live. Read more at this link.

New Rural Community Building Course


Starts April 8, 2019

Register Here

Community Building for Rural and Remote Communities provides training and certification for staff, volunteers, or elected officials who want to make a difference and are serving in formal or informal community leadership roles. It is suitable for a variety of organizations, committees, networks, businesses, and sectors e.g. health, social services, economic development, education, justice, libraries, elected officials, recreation, agricultural, arts, co-operatives, environment, faith communities etc.

Free Webinar March 26th: Are you a Future-Ready Commmunity Leader?



“When the wind of change blows, some people build walls, others build windmills”, so runs an old Chinese proverb. However, that proverb could just as easily be applied to today’s era of unprecedented change. While it is tempting to keep our heads down and continue doing what we’ve always done as an existing or emerging community leader, the reality is that there is much less risk if we ensure we are future-ready. Learn what that means as well as how you as a community leader - with or without a title -  can do more to ensure socially innovative, responsive and meaningful programs, products, services and initiatives.  

Roomies with a Twist: A Creative Housing Solution That Works

01 26 2019 Roommates UofTDSC03615 leadThe Toronto HomeShare Pilot Project is a provincially funded partnership between the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly – housed at U of T – and the City of Toronto, that  matches post-secondary students with older adults willing to rent their unused space for the academic year. 

Gene Simmons Raving About Canadian Civility?

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Author's Note: This week a good friend told me that I would always struggle to be understood because typically I was ten years ahead of my time. Thought I'd test that theory by going back into my archives to a blog I wrote almost exactly ten years ago. Found this one written in 2009....hmmm....I'm kind of thinking it might still be relevant? 


Last week American Gene Simmons, best known as the demonic, blood spitting bassist with a creepy waggling tongue in the 1970’s hard rock band called Kiss, was a guest on a Canadian talk show.

Not being a huge fan I wasn’t paying a lot of attention especially when he ranted somewhat about the accumulation of money being the only way to measure success. He did however get my attention when he waxed poetic about the warmth and friendliness of Canada. He also suggested that Canadians could teach Americans a thing or two about one of our greatest strengths – civility.

To SWOT or to SOAR?


Sometimes an oldie can still be a goodie. The SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is a straightforward and useful tool for examining the current state of a program, organization or community.  If that doesn't seem to be a fit, try a SOAR Analysis instead (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results). SOAR is more about addressing the potential of an organization or community.  Download both the SWOT and the SOAR worksheets at this link.  While you're there, you may want to explore some of the many other facilitative tools that are stored in our library. 

Quality of Life is a Worthy Investment

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Much of my paid and volunteer work over the years has focused on community development and community leadership in various voluntary and nonprofit organizations. Yet, regardless of where I worked and the creativity, innovation, and impact of our teams, we continually struggled to justify our work and advocate for the benefits and outcomes we delivered.

Ontario Trillium Foundation Cut by $15M

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The Ontario Ford government is cutting $15M in the current budget (13%). Read more in this CBC article to better understand the significance of this cut. Read Brenda Herchmer's response here.  

Standing Bear: Social Innovation Driven by the Wisdom of Youth


There’s a lot of talk these days about the need for innovation.

Unfortunately, when tackling complex social issues we too often overlook the advantages of having youth involved in leadership roles. Typically when we do involve them, it’s more often a minimal or value-added role.

You Gotta Have Art


77% of Canadians agree or strongly agree that arts experiences help them feel part of their local community. Article from Municipal World: 5 Ways to Build a Culture of Belonging Through Arts and Culture. Read more at this link.

Small Towns That Refuse To Die

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The small towns that refuse to die: Schemes to woo new blood about more than just staying alive. Read more.  

Where Do You Want to Work?

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This blog by Seth Godin is brilliant, succinct and should really make you think about why work is or isn't going well. It will make you think not only about the future of work but where you personally want to be working. Read more at this link. 

Designing to Reduce Loneliness?

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Can we resdesign cities to fight loneliness?  Simple and smart ideas to create more connections in city life.

Read more at this link.

Blog: Risk Averse or Risk Smart?


I am an excessively optimistic person who was blessed with a genetic tendency to look on the bright side of life. As a result, I am struggling to understand my current funky mood.

While my family life is as good as it gets, it’s my career that has me perplexed. Maybe I’m just delusional, but from my perspective, it seems to me that my experience, education, passion for making a difference, and hard work seems to have recently culminated and melded in a synergetic way. I really think I’m doing some of the best work I’ve ever done. 

Is Kindness Part of Your Brand Vision?


Kindness means good business so make kindness a part of your brand vision.  

Read more at this link


Promising Practice: Doctors Prescribing a Dose of Art?


Doctor's Orders: The Montreal Museum of Fine Art (MMFA) partnered with the Médecins francophones du Canada doctors’ organization to let doctors write prescriptions for museum visits. 

Read More at this Link

Is Loneliness Making Us Sick?


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When British Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a minister of loneliness in January, it made news all over the world. Was a ministry devoted to something as intangible as a feeling seriously a thing? The jokes comparing the position to Monty Python’s “Ministry of Silly Walks” almost wrote themselves.

Read more at this link.


Training and Certification for Community Builders

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Read more about our courses here. Attending an online course is easy. Meet for live interactive weekly sessions, apply the learnings in meaningful ways within your own organization, neighbourhood or community, and then share and learn from your cohorts on your own time!

Why is community development training and certification so important? 

Learning Opportunity: Training and Certification

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Our communities need leaders who understand and can serve as agents of change, who can apply systems thinking, be catalysts for citizen engagement, plan using a community development approach, commit to continuous improvement, and advocate for both quality of life and economic development. This how-to course provides an extensive practice-based learning opportunity for those interested in facilitating collective impact and transformation in their neighbourhoods or communities.  It is geared toward practitioners who will be in a position to operationalize the community building work that will strengthen leadership, innovation, and collaboration using a community development process, tools, and resources. Read more about our courses at this link and learn what others have had to say about our training.

Who Has Time for Learning?


We live in complex, fast-paced, constantly changing times. On some level, its no surprise to find training has become less of a priority.

It may be the result of us often equating learning with formal and sometimes irrelevant learning deliverd by a sage-on-the-stage who may sometimes have more wings than landing gear. However,it is ultimately those who are able to accept that leadership is a life-long journey of learning and subsequently make it a priority will be the ones who survive and thrive as future leaders.

Three Tips for Becoming an Energizer


Some people become leaders no matter what their chosen path because their positive energy is so uplifting.

Even in tough times, they always find a way. They seem to live life on their own terms even when having to comply with someone else’s requirements. When they walk into a room, they make it come alive.

Read more from Rosabeth Moss Kanter at this link. 

Three Paths to Help Conquer the Chaos of Change

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Today's workplaces are rarely straightforward. It is especially true of organizations that are looking to grow and innovate. As my colleague Rick Smyre has stated, "We're preparing for a future that hasn't yet been invented". As a result, my community building work typically results in me working with organizations where solutions are complicated and messy.

20 Things a City Can Do to Boost the Quality of Public Life

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Benches, trees, multi-modal transportation, and local food are a few of the suggestions in the Center for Active Design’s new Civic Design Guidelines. 

Read More At This Link. 

Innovation: Who Else is Doing It?


This excellent thought-provoking article by Rosabeth Moss Kanter takes a look at innovation and what it really means. 

Read More At This Link 

The Rapid Pace of Change & Its Meaning for Municipal Leaders



The rapid pace of change – and what it means for municipal leaders via Municipal World.

Why Community Building Training and Certification?


Our greatest learning from inspiring community leaders across the country is that communities get better when their leaders do. The transformation we're all looking for these days needs to originate from within and that means strong and prepared leaders able to think within a futures context.

Canning and Community Building?


Who would have thought a Facebook post would bring back memories of my own grandmother?  

A Different Kind of Profit?


I just read a blog by the insightful American author and former business executive Seth Godin that got me thinking even before I'd finished my morning coffee. 

Is Canada Really a Great Place to Raise Kids?

"In a poll, most Canadians thought that we were a top-five country for kids. We’re far from being a leading country.

Technology is Complicated

Technology is a lot like communities. In both communities and technology there is no one best way of doing things, instead there are many ways.

Time to Refresh and Reboot the Campus


Five years ago, as the result of years of experiencing collaborative learning alongside brilliant colleagues, working long hours, and dipping into hard-earned savings, I took the leap and invested in building this social enterprise known as the Campus for Communities of the Future. 

From Feel Good To Real Good

Great article by Kathleen Kelly Janus. We do need to equip the next generation with the tools if they are going to deliver on good intentions and fulfill their desire to change the world.. 

Neighbours Rallied to Help Family After Farmer Died

While many towns and citiescommunities have lost their sense of community, its presence still exists in Saskatchewan.

A Future Where Machines Will Dominate Work

In a future where traditional employment will no longer be the centre of our lives, we will need to redefine how to have a good life. Clock


Shifting from Treating Symptoms to Finding Solutions

Read this inspiring story about what happened when a hospital made a decision to do more to address the underlying root causes of high health care costs. It began with a decision to treat its local neighborhood like a patient. 


How-To's For Finding Breakthrough Ideas

Stuck? Looking to jumpstart new ways of thinking and fresh ideas? 

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3 Leadership Trends Debunked

One would think that focusing on your leadership strengths, authentic leadership, and taking a stance were tried and true leadership trends.  Research may suggest otherwise.

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Making Use of Technology to Engage Participants

Learn how Participatory Video can be used to engage participants in identifying and analyzing key issues and opportunities in their community. 


And We Thought Uber Was A Good Thing

 A recent set of partnerships between Uber Canada and various car-

Mobilizing the Village

Great article from Baltimore about a program called Thread that is mobilizing the community to ensure kids have hope and success. Interesting to see how they are using an app called Tapestry.


People Show Up in Different Ways

The Windsor City Council Compensation Review Committee was disappointed that not a single member of the public showed up at a meeting this week to say whether the mayor and city councillors deserve pay raises.

Choose Joy

A Tattoo That Made Me Think

While I like to consider myself as one who loves change and embraces trends, tattoos are something I’ve personally never been able to get behind.

Where the sweetness happens

Where the Sweetness Happens

On an intellectual level I understood the community leadership learnings I planned to share were solid, innovative, and grounded by boots-on-the-ground experience. 

Next Community Building Certification Begins Fall 2019

Same Old, Same Old? Time for a New Approach?

Organizations and communities are often doing things the same way they’ve been doing them for years. This is happening despite rapid change, complex issues, and futurists suggesting the "future is local". It is becoming increasingly clear that the communities positioned to thrive will be those investing in the community building that will ensure trusted relationships, networks, and opportunities for "meshwork". 

New Site Launch

We're excited to share with you our new learning portal here at Campus for Communities of the Future!

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