Welcome to our new blog series exploring Scale Deep, an initiative led by The Carold Institute, Ashoka Canada and Timeraiser, with the goal of strengthening efforts for change and building wisdom in social change leadership.
A unique collaboration, Scale Deep is designed to harness collective insight and wisdom in emerging systems that advance civic engagement. Each of the blogs will be written by Scale Deep collaborators, offering first-hand accounts of their unique learnings, insights and perspectives.
We are thrilled to partner with SEE Change Magazine and to have a vehicle to share the reflections we are generating through Scale Deep.
What is Scale Deep?
Scale Deep is a collaboration designed to harness collective insight and wisdom in emerging systems that advance civic engagement. Our hope is to strengthen efforts for change, build wisdom in social change leadership and accelerate impact of emerging and innovative models for engagement.
Scale deep creates a space and vehicle for collaborative reflexivity and a platform to share learning and insights. Our goal is to create spaces for asking good questions in order to facilitate deep learning and sharing on issues within the context of democratic participation.
Our recent Learning Day was an opportunity for change leaders to strengthen efforts for change. Convening opportunities and sharing through an open source approach, Scale Deep aims to create collaborative learning, explore burning questions and provide a space to map patterns and themes across change efforts and emerging systems.
What inspired this initiative?
While there is tremendous enthusiasm, preoccupation, attention and learning dedicated to scaling up and scaling out social innovation, there is also a call to pause, reflect and slow everything down. Today, more than ever, we need leaders who are imaginative, connected, clear and savvy as they develop innovative systemic change. Changemakers and social entrepreneurs are leading the way, innovating new models and new systems.
The pace is fast, we move quickly – engaging new technologies, scaling ideas, working across sectors and working hard to move mountains and create change! It is challenging and uncomfortable to slow down and to take the time to think deeply, gather key learning’s and ask the hard questions to inform how we move forward in our practice and efforts for change.
As scale deep develops,, we are finding over and over again that the concept of “scale deep” resonates. Scale Deep inspires and creates an opportunity to attend to questions of depth in our work and efforts to create systems change.
The Carold Institute is an organization that embodies scale deep. Rooted in adult education history and movement, The Carold Foundation is dedicated to advancing citizen engagement in social change. It is in this spirit that we have begun this journey.
What’s our framework?
As we started the conversation with partners, we began to articulate a framework for reflection. Here is what emerged through that conversation:
• It’s not how you scale from 10 programs to 100 programs but how you could enable 1,000 programs. Danish Ashoka Fellow Thorkil Sonne (Specialist People Foundation) articulates his goal as “enabling 1,000,000 jobs for people with Autism”. That is not to say that he is creating one million jobs, but that he is creating the conditions for that to occur. Al Etmanski talks about “getting into the drinking water”.
• Scaling deep is not about how far you reach outward but how you can make change that deeply effects community, culture and society so that the changes are deep and lasting, beyond the reach of any particular leader or organization. It affects people’s self-perception, re-frames perspectives, expresses emerging values, builds new norms.
• It also requires a reflectiveness and an ability to “let go”. Both letting go of the control over programming and activities and letting go of things that don’t work (the complexity approach of looking at the “back end loop”).
• In order for leaders/innovators/changemakers/entrepreneurs to achieve depth in their scale, we need to stop and reflect on what is truly making change occur as well as the unanticipated consequences and emerging insight and where to put/shift energy and resources to deepen that impact.
• Reflective practices are helpful for changemakers to achieve depth in their scale, creating space for new awareness and learning, uncomfortable insights, self-change, and the development of wisdom.
• Reflection reminds us that we are co-creating systems in every moment, and they are situated within these systems. Scaling deep is supported from the insight that comes from awareness of our own role in the system, the impact on others, and real-time participation in creating more just, thriving human systems.Scale Deep Learning Day
We held our learning day June 14 2013. A survey in advance of the event established some of the themes that informed the day:
- How can we better collaborate with organizations outside of Quebec?
- How can we change the narrative around what it means to ‘be political’?
- Create new space by identifying opportunities (cracks) within current system.
- How to strengthen collaboration and avoid duplicating efforts
- Understand the “system”, interject constructively
- Manage risks and deal with uncertainty
- What are new models/emerging systems of civic engagement
- If information is doubling ever two years, then how do you separate the signal from the noise?
- What conditions are necessary for working across differences and successfully engaging diverse stakeholders? Getting at power issues.
What are our next steps?
Following our first gathering, we formed a community of practice that aims to deepen and build on the learnings after our face-to-face meeting. We will be building new knowledge and documenting case studies about inclusion, diversity and intercultural leadership. We also aim to map emerging models and movements in civic engagement. The goal is to capture and share new learning.
Carold’s next Learning Day is Vancouver in spring 2014. We will be exploring civic engagement and resource extraction. Scale Deep will be a platform to harvest, curate and share all the learning from the process.
Tatiana Fraser is Co-founder and Past Executive Director of Girls Action Foundation. Throughout her career, Tatiana has contributed greatly to the expansion of all-girls empowerment programs across Canada.
In 2010, Ms. Fraser was awarded an Ashoka fellowship and recognized as one of the 100 most influential women in Canada (Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100). She was the recipient of the McGill Alumni James G Wright Award in 2012. She currently serves as Vice President for the Carold Institute and Treasurer for Food Secure Canada.
In 2012, Tatiana stepped down as Executive Director of Girls Action Foundation to reflect, write and innovate new ways to create systems change and influence across sectors. She is passionate about the ability of networks to influence change, scaling deep while scaling up, and women’s role in leadership and social innovation.