#6 – #10

Transdisciplinary Activity #6

Using Improv to Save the World – How deep play can drive innovation

Belina Raffy

AbstractHow do we work together when we don’t know what the ultimate solution is? Or when we know what we want, but we have no idea how to get there? How can we allow ourselves to change and to be generous with others when we are afraid? How can we train ourselves to be masterful at adapting to and including new information in to the story as it arises?

In this experiential session, we will work with either a) the boldest transformation challenge that we’re working with leading organizations in the UK on to solve or b) the most radical vision of the future from the conference – whichever is most inspiring to the group. We will introduce and use improvisational mindsets, principles, and techniques as a powerful technology to support people tackling these issues in doing what improvisers do best: to co-create solutions under pressure, in real-time, with the client watching – joyfully.

Our context is the most important one around – working with business people to fundamentally change how business is done. We support them in shifting the global crisis from something to fear and be mentally shut down by – to something we can work with collaboratively, creatively, quickly and nimbly to create changes now. We develop mindsets and skills so that no matter what emerges, we can respond well, together.

In this session, we will be exploring what improvisation is and how it might be useful in working collaboratively to save the world. Everyone is welcome. No experience necessary.

BioBelina is half French, half American and lives in England. She was made in Paris, born in the US, and raised in the US, Mexico and Canada. She grew up playing in the forests of North America She spent the first part of her professional life as a cross-functional project manager for Citigroup, using her ability to intuitively work with complex systems, connect with people and ask good questions. During this time, she started taking improvisation classes and noticed that her complex, dynamic role felt easier. In 1999, she got an MBA from Cranfield in England and has worked ever since with people around the world to build skills in business transformation, change, improvisational leadership, collaboration, creativity, and communication.

She uses improvisation mindsets, principles and techniques originating in theatre and adapted to business as both technology and content. Her passion and next book topic is to ‘use improv to save the world’ – and for her, this can range from improving the interaction between two people to world work. Belina is the Empress of Maffick Ltd, and has worked with organizations including Charities Financial Directors’ Group, Kew Royal Botantical Gardens, Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Novo Nordisk, General Motors, the Cranfield School of Management, London Business School, Exeter Business School, London School of Economics, and Moscow Higher School of Economics.

To keep her improv skills sharp, she also works with young offenders at the Reading HM Prison. She has also chaired two Applied Improvisation Network world conferences (Portland and Baltimore).

Transdisciplinary Activity #7

Soundwalking Interactions

Dr. Andra McCartney and Don Sinclair

AbstractThe Soundwalking Interactions project investigates how people listen during soundwalk activities and artworks. We will present a public soundwalk, invite members of the public to listen to a recording of the walk during a workshop, and then participate in the creation of a sound work out of that recording that will document the event. Participants are invited to bring audio recording equipment if they wish.

The session will include a 30 minute soundwalk, discussion of listening practices, and demonstration by collaborators Andra McCartney (Concordia University) and Don Sinclair (York University) of ways to work with soundwalk materials to make meaningful environmental narratives. All participants will be given access to a sound recording of the walk online and invited to take part in an internet forum of soundwalk recording and listening exchanges.

Bios: Andra McCartney. Since the mid 1990s, I have been developing an approach to the creation of electroacoustic soundwalk art which integrates audience responses into the creative development of walks and installations. Through my background in ethnomusicology, communication, and cultural studies, I think and write about electroacoustic, sound art and sound recording fields as cultures, considering what kinds of interpretive routines are acceptable within these disciplines, and how aesthetic and professional discourses are established. I transform soundwalk recordings into interactive installations, produced collaboratively in recent years with Don Sinclair, interactive artist and professor at York University in Toronto. I am especially interested in questions of gender in relation to sound technologies. I have written most extensively about Vancouver soundscape composer, Hildegard Westerkamp. The In and Out of the Sound Studio research project investigates the working practices of soundmakers from a range of different professions, focusing particularly on the work of prominent women soundmakers. My present project, Soundwalking Interactions, focuses on the experiences of audiences with different kinds of soundwalk activities.

Don Sinclair is an Associate Professor in the Digital Media program in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University in Toronto, Canada. His creative research revolves around physical computing, interactive sound art, laptop performance, web art, database art, interactive dance, video projection, cycling art, sustainability, green architecture and choral singing. In addition to his internationally exhibited web art and video projects, he collaborates with dance artists, theatre practitioners and sound artists to create works that explore movement-based manipulation of sound and image. See his research creation web site http://www.yorku.ca/dws/research-creative.html


Transdisciplinary Activity #8

Aesthetic Practice on Environmental Crisis

Vera Ivanaj and Paul Shrivastava

AbstractWe propose to explore an original method for organizational development called “Aesthetic Practice” which engages participants in reflection and action on environmental crises. This method uses the artistic medium of painting, to help group members to create a vision and develop a strategy for the future. Participants will gain an embodied understanding of environmental crisis by thinking, acting and feeling collectively. They will use metaphors to gain deeper knowledge of the problem, through active interaction and engagement process. Aesthetic practice methodology is designed to help participants relate to the problem of environmental crisis in a integrated way: 1) through their emotions (how environmental crisis makes them feel); 2) through their senses (how they experience the environmental crisis sensorily); 3) through their rational and logical mind (how the different elements of the environmental crisis are related); and 4) through their intuition (what makes sense to them). We will animate the session by following 6 steps of aesthetic methodology, engaging participants to work in small and the large groups:

Step 1: Define the problem and the desired outcome. We will begin with a brief group conceptual discussion of problem of environmental crisis and the role of aesthetic practices in addressing it. The goal is here to collectively better understand the situation and work on the desired outcomes formulated like a new mission statement.

Step 2: Conceive a “Metaphor”. Attendees, assigned to groups of 5, will apply a metaphor to the environmental crisis situation which addresses their desired outcomes.

Step 3: Paint the metaphor. Each group of 5 will paint their metaphor in large paper pads, by using multi-colored markers and other painting supplies.

Step 4: Extend and refine the metaphor with input from other groups”. Paintings are passed from one table to another, and each group will interpret and explicate the painting of another group, to fully appreciate the meaning. Then the comments are recorded and presented to the full group in order to help groups refine and complete their vision.

Step 5: Add refinements and extensions and apply the metaphor to the reality. Refinements and extensions coming from the others groups are first added into the original group drawing. Then each group applies the metaphor to the “reality” by formulating future actions to be undertaken in order to resolve the problem. Each group presents these actions to the full group and discuss about what these actions mean for change.

Step 6: Realize a full group painting: Participants will paint a full group “art piece”, a painting representing their future vision of the environmental crisis. Each participant will make his personal contribution.


Bio:   Dr. Vera Ivanaj is an Associate Professor of Management Sciences in the Chemical Engineering School (ENSIC) of the Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine (INPL), Loraine University, France. She received her M.S. in Economic Sciences, from the University of Tirana and her PhD in Management Sciences, from the University of Nancy II. Prior to joining ENSIC, she was a faculty member of the ICN Business School and the Business Administration Institute at the University of Metz. She developed curriculum and activities increasing students’ attentiveness to cultural, economical, environmental and social issues they will face in their future professions. She teaches courses in Strategic Decision Making, Change Management, Human Resource Management, Project management, Conflict Resolution, Corporate Culture and Leadership for managers and engineers. She is also actively involved in the executive education courses, conducting sessions on such topics as strategy formation, individual and team performance, empowerment, compensation and benefits and other organisational performance issues. Her current research interests include strategic decision making, art and sustainable development, management education and diversity. She has published several articles and chapters on enhancing capabilities of organizations to take decisions and to perform more effectively. Recently, she worked on a major international research project on “Multinationals and Sustainable Development”, leading to two major publications: “Multinational Enterprises and the Challenge of Sustainable Development”, Northampton: Edward. Elgar Publishing, 2009; “Sustainable Development and the “Multinational Corporation as a Tool of Competitiveness”, Special issue, Multinational Business Review, 2007. Vera Ivanaj is also a contemporary painter and works for public and private organizations with aesthetic practices and creativity methods to resolve management problems. 


Transdisciplinary Activity #9

Strategies for Product and Service Design

Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella

AbstractThis workshop explores and discusses the differences in output and applicability between design approaches that focus on (1) the redesign of the sample product more efficiently by understanding and identifying problem areas (based on an eco-efficiency strategy); (2) the redesign of the functionality of the product more efficiently, so rethinking how else the function can be provided and designed (based on strategies such as closed loop approaches etc.); and (3) exploring the way in which the needs addressed by the given product can be provided differently (based on a sufficiency strategy).

Bio: Carmela Cucuzzella is a professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts of Concordia University. She received her PhD in Environmental Design in 2011 from Université de Montréal. She is a researcher at the Laboratory LEAP and leads the research focus on sustainable development. She is an expert in sustainable design (design for sustainability) as well as on assessment methodologies for analyzing the impacts of designed entities (Life Cycle Assessment – LCA, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – LEED) and has developed several comparative analyses on the repercussions of the introduction of environmental standards in the public space design competitions. Her research interests lie predominantly in integrating concerns and questions related to sustainability with the exploratory nature of design thinking by adopting ethical approaches to the environment (built as well as natural).

Transdisciplinary Activity #10

From genomes to the environment: Can we create a sustainable future? A sticky wiki installation

David Secko, Anne Goldenberg, Anne Gorry, Lisa Gualtieri and David Mason

AbstractThe Genozymes-GE3LS project is a Concordia based science and society group which, among other activities, attempts to trigger public discussion and knowledge building about the environmental and societal dimensions of genomic science, with a special focus on environmental footprints, sustainability, communications and public engagement.

For Balance – Unbalance 2011, this multidisciplinary team will present an installation that plays the role of catalyst for a public discussion on the potential outcomes of genomic research as related to our degrading environment. It will include a three dimensional participatory mind-map that includes diverse material for participants to consider and include in the structure, as well as an innovative synchronized structured wiki interpretation, as a continuous way to openly develop knowledge in this field.

The participatory installation will invite the public and experts to discuss the relationship between science and society, with a focus on the role of genomics. We will use participant-generated content from a previous public engagement event as a starting point and encourage participants to contribute and link ideas, projects and themes. Ultimately, the installation will work to integrate all contributions into a structured wiki to add both permanence and impact to deliberative outcomes on the event. This will make the generated content, which will address our collective future in the face of a global environmental crisis, available for successive projects focusing on linked ideation and the generation of meaningful environmental solutions that respect multiple value systems.

Bios:  Anne Goldenberg has a Ph.D. in communication and sociology. She is a facilitator and a socio-cognitive sculpture that has produced several participatory installations around the word. In particular, the installation ourcollnnectiveminds (http://ourcollnnectiveminds.blogspot.com/ ) is the partial inspiration for this project. She will lead the physical installation.

Anne Gorry is an epistemologist, and specialist in the relationship between sciences and society. She is finishing an MD about scientific mediation and the sciences and society discourse. She will provide analytic resources for the installation.

Lisa Gualtieri is a Research Assistant with the Genozymes-GE3LS project, where she studies environmental sustainability issues related to genomics-based biofuel development. She will provide research support and issue documentation.

David Mason is a long term innovator and technologist, supporting knowledge development, public engagement and digital literacy in fields including the formative Internet, government, health, science and non profits. He will lead the structured wiki.

David Secko is an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism at Concordia University. His research links across journalism, public engagement, science and ethical issues to clarify and experiment with the roles of the public, experts and journalists in the democratic governance of biotechnology. He is the team leader and will add expertise in communications, public engagement methodologies and event facilitation.