Author Archives: johnthornburn

About johnthornburn

Masters in Leadership graduate from Royal Roads University. An Engagement specialist engaged in various avenues of organizational and community development. Currently interested in social innovation, planning and engagement.

Social Media: Social Connectedness or Puppy Dog love?

I am enthralled with watching society deal with their addiction to social media. I am as eager to get a “like” on my instagram photo or its tweet to my Facebook RSS like every other guy. But only 1 like? I bet that cute little puppy that my friend posted got 20 likes! Do people like posts that we publish or are they responding to your sense of charm, or perhaps it is their acknowledgement that you are still important to them? Maybe its just a cute puppy dog? Perhaps it is validation that you are being trendy or perhaps even Chic?


What are people really looking for online? Is online social connectedness real? Let’s not kick the gift horse in the mouth – you know it is much easier to stay connected when you don’t have to get out of your chair! Is it the future of our social being to maximize our value with each other by re-tweeting re-posts of virtual videos of how we see the world around us? Are we turning into virtual voyeurs among each other? Is our intent to build connectedness with each other or are we just chasing our {proverbial puppy dog} tails. What do you think?

Why would I want to share leadership? (Community Inc. Final entry 11/19/21)

In this final blog in the series leading up to this Friday’s workshop I aim to present each of you with a challenge: Prove that you can give your leadership away.

A power recap: Blog #1 introduced the four elements of my Friday workshop and extended into the idea that our Community Governors often sit in a corner staring down at their feet with blinders on. Hearing today’s news that Missouri constituents’ call out for civil activists to walk their talk demonstrates the shadow we often feel comfortable sitting in. Reclaiming our voice as trustees and leveraging our strengths is ultimately important for everyone reading this blog. So why do we struggle?

Blog #2 introduced the idea of Non-Traditional Strategic Planning as a method to reclaim citizen engagement, leverage affiliate strengths, and allow community champions to rise all in one big swoop. How? Come to the workshop.

Blog #3 focused on the power of voice. Unfettered, unadulterated, and an unsanctioned voice. The power of creative dissonance, safe spaces, and organic transformative design is being proposed to those who participate in the workshop. Learning insightful new strategies that can help to facilitate powerful community dialogue will be role played by you.


But all three of these only combine to create a powerful social innovation if leadership is shared. Build simple yet powerful models of shared leadership with your partners. Design performance management strategies that demonstrate social returns on investment. Transcend leadership. Is it all rhetoric? Only one way to find out:

Register at:






How to become a Community Facilitator – (Community Inc. field entry 11/16/2014)

I promised four blogs on the Community Inc. Model and why the workshop on November 21st is so valuable. Here’s #3/4. Today, with four days left, we near your last chance to participate in a workshop that will facilitate your ability how to leverage a social enterprise. Of course I am speaking out of turn. It is your next chance to learn the value of leveraging enterprise with those that seek to achieve Vision in Community. So far I have written about the idea of Community Governance: Leveraging the idea of partnerships. I then wrote about Non-Traditional Strategic Planning: Leveraging social assets of a community, Today I talk about Facilitative dialogue, and tomorrow my last in the series: Shared Leadership.

The third in a cycle of participatory action titled Community Inc. uses my Building Better Practice model as a method for community engagement. This cycle of Governance, Planning, Dialogue, and Leadership focuses on engagement. Today I use my story to provide an example of the value of Thursday’s workshop.

I started my career with a small foray into Seniors Services by exploring the idea of volunteering at a Seniors Care Facility. At the time (I was 15) I was not particularly enthusiastic about the idea. This opportunity however left me with the idea that people care for others. Fast forward through a dozen jobs in twice as many years and I found myself using the word Quality of Life. Even though my career took me on a path delivering services to children, youth, and families it was the word Life that has been the thread ever since. As I continue to pull this thread I have found myself immersed in the structure of Life: Community.expo_4In our communities there are thousands of people with different ideas, strengths, experiences, and of course intertwined affiliations. In my workshop Thursday I teach two concepts that will give you the tools you need to connect and leverage the strengths of those thousands of people. Using the methods of Open space, and Transformative Planning I will expose you to the process that leverages the power of the individual, as a collective. Facilitated Dialogue steps outside of the box and will demonstrate your power as a facilitator to engage diverse ideas into a process that leverages change in communities.

Finally, I think the Mayor of Sidney, B.C. Mr. Cross said it best when he acknowledged that people, seniors in his editorial, “bring a wealth of energy and an incredible array of skills ….[that] we could not levy … to pay for their services” (p. 10). I like this quote because it expresses what I hope to give you: a gift to leverage the voices of your community, one that money cannot buy – The skill to facilitate Open and Meaningful Dialogue. See you on Thursday.

Register here:




Cross, L. (2014). Health care and seniors. Zoomer, 30 (8). Zoomer Magazine, Toronto: Canada