Toronto Summer Institute 2011 – Part2

So we reviewed the backdrop of TSI in the last post.  Before we get into all of the learning that went on, I think it’s important to explain the brilliance of the design of the week.

No one should’ve been surprised that it was so well planned, as it was mainly hosted by Lynda Kahn, Jack Pearpoint, John O’Brien and Connie Lyle O’Brien.  They literally wrote the book on person-centered planning, so have plenty of experience thinking about ways for lots of people to have a voice in the world.

To begin to understand how the week worked, remember two terms:  modules and marketplaces.  Modules were given a lot of time and were led by the people I consider “the” experts in this work:  Jack Pearpoint, Lynda Kahn, Judith Snow, John McKnight, John O’Brien, Connie Lyle O’Brien, and Alan Sloan.  The marketplaces were led by anyone who had a burning question or idea.

We spent all day Sunday hearing from different people who would be leading modules and marketplace sessions.  In the morning, we heard (speed-dating-style) from 10 people who were going to step up and host a marketplace session.  Then in the afternoon, we heard from the people who were leading the modules.

I call this the “slow reveal” and kept telling Lynda and Jack how genius it was.  We got all of our packets and papers on Saturday night and went over them.  We went over the topics in-depth on Sunday, and then they shared the structure below.  The way they unveiled the week to us was perfect.  We went from totally confused to “with it” in no time:

First of all, understand that this is a VERY rough replication, just to give you a gist of it.  In reality, the times were more flexible…marketplace sessions last about 90 minutes, instead of two hours.  We also had a picnic, a “Glitter Party” (yeah yeah!) and a large-group presentation by Norm Kunc (more on that awesomeness later).  And of course, there was lots of time for us to grab each other for lunch, late-night bourbon-fests, and other impromptu excursions into the city.

But what I want to emphasize is that everyone got the opportunity to work with and learn from the experts (John, Jack, Lynda, John, Connie and Judith), but we also got to learn with and from each other.  (Candice and I decided not to host a marketplace session, though if we had, I think I’d have done something about What’s Next?)

By Sunday afternoon, each of the marketplace openings had been filled by  someone offering an idea, a challenge that they wanted help on, or some other topic of interest.  We were reminded not to have our feelings hurt if no one came to our sessions…that whoever showed up was the exact right people we needed in the room.  It was beautiful and reminded me of “co-creation” and “bottom-up” and all those other great hyphenations.    It was obvious to this rookie that lots of good thinking and intentional planning had gone into the process.

Another thing that was spread throughout the week was art, music, poetry, nature and other things that typically get ignored at workshops.  So if I had to describe the experience of the structure, I would use terms like “whole” or “complete.”

Does this make sense?  Keep this in mind as we move into the rest of week….

UPDATE 7/21:  I just got some pictures from Jack Pearpoint and here’s a photo of the actual schedule, much prettier than what I put up above:

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2 Responses to Toronto Summer Institute 2011 – Part2

  1. Hi Tim,
    It was a wonderful experience and I look forward to further posts!

  2. Susan says:

    Wow, a week in Toronto and you learned things too…………….susan

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