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?”

Gene Simmons Raving About Canadian Civility?

 Gene Simmons


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

nature bird people grass

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.

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.

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. 

Three Paths to Help Conquer the Chaos of Change

Three Essential Paths

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.

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. 

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. 


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. 

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