Posts Tagged ‘manara’

TRIEC Connector Program – Pilot

Monday, January 26th, 2015

TRIEC, the Toronto Regional Immigrants Employment Council, is launching an interesting new program called Connector. The program creates networking opportunities for skilled internationally trained professionals, and their established GTA counterparts. The idea behind the program is simple enough: business needs talent; talent needs opportunities. Connect offers to provide such opportunities through the network effect. We are thrilled to join the Advisory Board of this interesting project.  Its first meeting will be held on Thursday January 29, 9-11 AM at the offices of TRIEC in Toronto.

Como Innovation Summit 2014 – Authors Retreat

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

The Como Innovation Summit started in 2012 with the objectives of creating an “invisible college” or network of leading professionals in the field of innovation. The focus initially was on innovation education, although the scope is expanding rapidly. In the first two summits held near Como lake in Italy, a number of interesting observations were made about the emergence of multidisciplinary higher education in a multiplicity of forms. The idea was born to collect those observations in a book in order to alert the higher education community to this development, provide guidance on how to start your own multidisciplinary programs, and offer a collection of already successful programs from around the world as examples. The book idea was pitched to the publisher Springer, who agreed to publish the book in its innovation series. In order to complete the contents of this collectively authored book it was decided to dedicate the Como 2014 summit as a retreat of the book’s authors to finish their respective chapters. The book is intended to be available for Como Summit 2015. Our own Dr. Nabil Harfoush is participating in this project with responsibility together with Dr. Paola  Bertola from Politecnico di Milano for a principle chapter plus a collection of invited short chapters describing select multidisciplinary programs from all over the world.

Random Collisions of Unusual Suspects

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Last week I attended the Collaborative Innovation Summit in Providence, RI. Called BIF-6 in reference to it’s organizer, the Business Innovation Factory and it’s sixth occurrence, the two-day event exposes participants to thirty exceptional storytellers in a intimate theater setting. I had attended last year’s BIF-5 and found it inspiring and energizing, so I went for more.

An even greater value in attending BIF-6 is really in the networking that takes place before, after and between the stories. BIF founder Saul Kaplan calls it “random collisions of unusual suspects” because he and his team use diversity and diversification as a core principle to enrich these collisions. Storytellers as well as participants are from every walk of life imaginable: from serial entrepreneurs, to educators, technologists, business executives, high-school students to a twelve-year old girl that set up a domestic grease collection and reprocessing into bio fuel that helped heat the house of needy families in her town.

Daring to be Great

The last presentation of Day 2 of BIF-6 was by Keith Yamashita, titled originally “Change, to the Power of Ten”. Inspired and moved by previous storytellers and encounters with participants, he changed his title to “Is it worth daring to be great?” As he was reflecting on the role of trust between two people in the larger context of teams and organizations, he recounted an incident, when a business partner and mentor (Alan Webber) vested his full trust in him. For 10 seconds he became very emotional and a tear ran down his cheek. He quickly recovered and continued his presentation, but in those 10 seconds I learned about trust and its importance in personal relations and in social networks small and large more than any books or courses could teach.

Random Collision

Later the next day, in the coach taking us to Providence Airport I happened to sit next to another participant, Monika Hardy (@monk51295). With a long wait for our flights, we settled in one of the airport’s seating areas, opened our laptops, intended to get some work done. But the conversation started in the coach did not want to go away. I was still reflecting on my learning experience from Keith’s presentation, and found myself in an amazing deep-dive conversation with Monika, who turned out to be an innovator herself in the field of children education. I was fascinated and encouraged that in a public school system, a space has been allowed to experiment with new methods and ways. Monika described how children choose what they want to learn and are then guided by a different kind of teacher, a facilitator of learning that connects the dots of the child’s interests without imposing an unnatural regiment of learning. In fact, the children go through a “detox” to unlearn some of the old behaviors learned in school.

Emotional Learning

As I was listening to her passionately describe her work , it occurred to me that the “detox” approach might well be applicable to business. We need to unlearn behaviors drilled into us by the existing system, before we can innovate new ways and structures to do business. I am planning on following up on this conversation.

So, what else did I learn? We seem to be wired for absorbing a significantly higher volume of knowledge, when we are emotionally engaged. Traditional learning, however, focuses primarily on information supply, without much of an emotional component. The result is that we learn the information without the full context that gives the information so much richer meanings in multiple dimensions. We do the same in business. As Keith said: “The biggest fallacy of business is that it’s only rational. All business is personal and all business is human”. That’s why one random encounter with an unusual suspect can teach you more than volumes of HBR.

So as I am soaking up all the learning from these two random BIF-6 collisions, the question swirling in my head is: Could we design emotional components to our learning processes at every level? That’s a very intriguing idea particularly as we witness the emergence of a new system of learning based on modules of knowledge that learners can pick and choose from. Imagine if each of these modules was designed to enlist an emotional component of learning.

I’ll be trying to write about the many other encounters that sparked my brain at BIF-6, so stay tuned!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 at 1:09 pm and is filed under The Nabou Chronicles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

monika hardy says:
September 21, 2010 at 2:46 pm

nice capture.

i keep reliving our conversation with my students and others.. so much packed in. important stuff.

on the detox project.
when i got home and studied Keith more… his site is very similar to our detox site.. check it out here:

how rich am i to have met you Nabil… :)

xCAMP Countdown

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The concept of an environmental health clinic (xCLINIC) was created and implemented by Natalie Jeremijenko of New York University.

The concept approaches health from an understanding of its dependence on external local environments; rather than on the internal biology and genetic predispositions of an individual. It directs attention to root causes rather than symptoms. The idea is that by building awareness, initiating behavioral change through action, and ameliorating your own local environmental health, you improve the health of humans and improve the local environment around you. The more people who participate, the greater the cascading effects.

xCAMP is a gathering of practitioners across many disciplines to collaboratively evolve the concept and design the xCLINIC project.

The event is SOLD OUT. More details can be found here.

Post-Copenhagen: What Strategies Now?

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010


Natalie Jeremijenko is an artist whose background includes studies in biochemistry, physics, neuroscience and precision engineering. She is a recipient of the 2008-2009 Van Alen Institute-New York Prize Fellowship in Sustainable Cities and the Social Sciences, and was recently named one of the 40 most influential designers by I.D. Magazine. She is an artist not-in-residence at the Institute for the Future (IFTF) in Palo Alto. Jeremijenko directs the xDesign Environmental Health Clinic at NYU, whose concepts are at the roots of our own xCLINIC project.

Her work is described as experimental design, hence xDesign, as it explores opportunities presented by new technologies for non-violent social change. Her research centers on structures of participation in the production of knowledge and information, and the political and social possibilities (and limitations) of information and emerging technologies — mostly through public experiments. In this vein, her work spans a range of media from statistical indices (such as the Despondency Index, which linked the Dow Jones to the suicide rate at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge) to biological substrates (such as the installations of cloned trees in pairs in various urban micro-climates) to robotics (such as the development of feral robotic dog packs to investigate environmental hazards). Jeremjenko’s permanent installation on the roof of Postmasters Gallery in Chelsea Model Urban Development (MUD) provides infrastructure and facilities for high-density bird cohabitation in an environmental experiment in interaction with the New York City bird population.

Natalie will be in Toronto to attend our xCAMP, a “camp”-style session to collaboratively evolve and extend the environmental health clinic (xCLINIC) concept in Toronto and design its implementation. She will be presenting as part of sLab’s Explorations Series 1:30 – 3:00 pm on Thursday February 25th at sLab (Suite 600, 100 McCaul St.). Don’t miss this unique opportunity.

On The New Year

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

May you have
Enough happiness to keep you happy.
Enough trials to keep you strong.
Enough sorrow to keep you human.
Enough hope to keep you thoughtful.
Enough failure to keep you humble.
Enough success to keep you eager.
Enough friends to give you comfort.
Enough faith and courage in yourself to banish depression.
Enough wealth to meet your daily needs.
Enough determination to make each day a better day than yesterday!

We wish you all A Happy New Year!

Season Finale – Designing with Dialogue

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Leadership in the co-creation of positive change in our organizations and communities facilitated by conversations for meaningful action.

Designing with Dialogue (DwD) is a Toronto community of practitioners that gathers monthly to convene dialogue as a practice in social designing for the purposes of engaging the organizations, projects, and civic communities to which we’re committed.

Manara has been participating regularly in DwD sessions as we see the facilitation methods and tools discussed by this practitioners community as a significant component in the wider spectrum of collaborative design tools required for organizational change.

December’s session will be held the second Wednesday, December 11 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM at the Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) of OCAD. We are reserving this session to meet as a core group of committed participants interested in taking the DwD community to the next stage of its evolution towards serving the community at large. The December session, as an exception, will be dedicated to continuing the work we started in November for envisioning the plans and agenda for 2010.

From January 2010 on, we will meet the second Wednesday of every month at the Strategic Innovation Lab, OCAD, Toronto.

The Business Model Generation

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

After months of hard labor, several writer blocks, and many inspirations co-authors Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur have completed their book Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. It was released hot off the press September 30, 2009.


The book provides an excellent overview of business models, both existing and emergent. It includes the Business Model Canvas tool, which has been put to the test already in a variety of situations with excellent results. Business Model Generation also stands out among similar business books in the care and effort invested in its design under the creative auspices of Alan Smith of The Movement.

Adding to the many interesting aspects of this book is the story of its writing. 470 practitioners from 45 countries collaborated with the co-authors on its content through a wiki-type collaborative environment called the Business Model Innovation Hub. [Full disclosure: I am one of the 470 contributors – No material interest in sales though]. The authors released chunks of their book as they were writing them and hub participants engaged in review, critique and contributions to those chunks. Even designs were put in front of the hub members. On the day of its release there were already 1000 copies pre-purchased in 55 countries!

The result is an outstanding book that is definitely worth reading. The story of the book making is worth telling on its own. We were hoping it could be told at the Fifth Business Innovation Factory conference held next week in providence, RI. Timing problems prevented securing one of the slots for story telling. We’re still hoping to be able to tell this remarkable story on the sidelines of BIF-5 and in other venues.

You can see a 72-page PDF preview of the book here. If you are interested in getting your copy, you’d be well advised to purchase it from the authors site here where the book will be available for limited time at the affordable price of $36. After that the book will be sold through Amazon with an anticipated price of $70.

Congratulations to Alex and Yves on their achievement. We are proud to have participated in this interesting and creative undertaking.