A Few of our Favorite DesignShop Events

New Zealand Education Summits, 2018

In May 2018, Where to From Here, a close affiliate, brought together a total of over 1,400 citizens from all walks of life for two summits aiming to create a 30-year vision for the future of learning. Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, demonstrated a rare commitment to experiment with participative democracy at scale. 

Tomorrow Makers role was to curate and ensure that the more than 30 small team conversations were woven together providing further insights and understandings.  Whole group presentation mode was a mere 60 minutes of each summit. 

Watch an inspiring 3-minute overview of the event: 2018 New Zealand Education Summits, or watch a time-lapse of the set-up process: Setting Up the Christchurch Education Summit.

The Institute of Museums and Library Systems, 2015

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) convened a diverse group of approximately 60 participants to Envisioning Our Information Future and How to Educate for It. The intent of the event was to explore two distinct but interrelated challenges, one of creating a bold future context for libraries, and two of being able to offer exciting relevant instruction to students now and in the future. 

Participants represented a cross-section of stakeholders, including individuals associated with libraries, museums, and archives, those identified as content providers, futurists, and educators, and those with expertise relating to computer or data science, digital humanities, knowledge management, information architecture, or other associated areas. 

Participants were given the freedom to explore, and re-create their understanding for what libraries would need to be as society became more and more digitized in their habits.  Results are far ranging and the entire mode of education and training for librarians grew in scope and importance.

Martin R. Kalfatovic, Associate Director, Digital Programs and Initiatives, Smithsonian Libraries has recorded his thoughts and reflections on the event at UDC 793, where you can also find a number of images.

The World Economic Forum, Davos, 2008

The World Economic Forum, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is an independent international organization "committed to improving the state of the world" by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Since the 2005 Annual Meeting in Davos, Tomorrow Makers, together with MG Taylor Corporation, Architects of Group Genius, and individuals from our knowledge worker network, have been teaching and transferring operational know-how of the MG Taylor System and Method to the Forum.

The principle creation of this multi-year engagement is the Davos WorkSpace, a state-of-the-art integration of environment, process and technology that brings the Forum unprecedented capabilities of collaboration and co-design. First deployed during the 2005 Annual Meeting, the WorkSpace has been an integral part of Regional Summits in Africa and the Middle East and become a centerpiece of the gathering in Davos, hosting well over a thousand participants over the course of 25 sessions during the 2008 Annual Meeting.

“Just wanted to thank you for letting me be part of your team. In my real job I teach (amongst other things) knowledge management theory. Normally we joke that it takes 2 KM people to change a light bulb, one to actually do it, and a second one to travel the conference circuit writing papers about it. So, although I have been reading a lot of KM theory, I have had little experience of KM practice. Even in my own university department where we read all these books about what conditions will enable knowledge creation, we do not practice those things at all.

On the WorkSpace team I saw those principles in action and experienced a true team environment for the first time. As you may have noticed, this way of non-hierarchical working and talking together is not yet a reality in our worklife. Without being overly romantic - the long-term effect of the WorkSpace experience at the WEF summit may just be that it exposed the right people to its mindset/worldview.”

Christiaan Maasdorp, Lecturer, Department of Information Science, Centre for Knowledge Dynamics and Decisionmaking, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Watch a 7-minute video about The Workspace produced by the World Economic Forum:

Catch a glimpse into the Davos WorkSpace experience. Visual images from sessions are interspersed with testimonials and stories from participants of the WorkSpace sessions at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos 2008.

Some of the highlights of our work - with our extended family, the Value Web - at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos.

See Matt Taylor’s record and images of WEF engagement: Collaboration @ the WEF Annual Meeting.

The International Society for the Systems Sciences, 2006

THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR THE SYSTEMS SCIENCES (ISSS) - held its 50th Annual Meeting July 9 - 14, 2006, at Sonoma State University in Rohert Park, CA. Tomorrow Makers partnered with the ISSS and others in the design of the overall structure and sequencing of the week, and with Syntony Quest for a 3-hour participatory session around Social Systems Design & Practice.

How does a community "devoted to interdisciplinary inquiry into the nature of complex systems" design an annual meeting consistent with the principles of those same complex systems?

What experience can be designed to have participants pull forth ideas and work them into stories around democracy, complexity and sustainability - stories that provide us with paths forward?

Helping to create and then unfold the event was a tremendous experience and successful in bringing an unprecedented level of process variety to the mind-boggling content variety this community continues to produce. Now, we are continuing our exploration with a local community of ISSS members, intent on creating and discovering opportunities for this systems thinking to become a vital, shaping force in our everyday worlds.

Global Leaders of Tomorrow

"The highlight of the event: I always enjoy the result of an open-ended question that takes people on a journey to solve a problem. For me the whole summit was about developing us as leaders, not about a final product. We are the product. However, when you put 100 type "A" people in a room with a task, they often need to have a tangible result. The joy of this type of process is that it takes people on a journey deep into real issues that helps them to think much broader about the issues we face today. You did a great job of maintaining that you had no idea what the end product needed to be and in fact, that we should not push toward a conclusion too soon.

What made it work: The continuous breaking down into groups and tasks allowed a for a slow entry into a deeper dialogue. As the group work progressed, the conversations deepened. This is the first time that I have ever experienced facilitators on the side. Usually the facilitators are up front and very strong personalities letting you know that they are leading you to a solution. Your style was much different and much more effective because, though you created a process that allowed groups to feel like they were in control, you really guided the dialogue with your design. It was beautifully unintrusive.

The cubes helped to get group ideas synthesized down to one idea or one concept. The need to visually present the idea also caused people to access their creativity more so than expressing it intellectually. This type of approach always unlocks people's minds and often surprises them with their creative ability. It's also very ironic that you used boxes to get people to think outside of the box. Clever." 

Vicki Saunders, CEO and Founder
Impact a Nation, Canada

"Being used to Professors and Professionals lecturing me for hours, Gail's approach strikes me as different and in many ways more effective. She's much more of a coach than a teacher. Instead of having equipped me with a "package" for my journey beforehand, she guided me skillfully through my own live experiences. In other words, she coached me on the job and she has done it with great competence and often needed patience. I can't think of a more privileged way to learn."

Patrick Frick, Independent Consultant

Identity Commons

"I still feel the same way as I felt flying home that midsummer night - it was the best workshop I've ever attended. It did more to deeply plant the seed of what Identity Commons could become than I think I can even articulate (at least I know it did for me). And the network of relationships that formed there are like a beehive of activity now.

It will take awhile for the flowers to grow from those seeds, but growing they are."

Drummond Reed, Core Designer and Entrepreneur