Category Archives: Community Inc. Workshops

Social Innovation or Program Design? (Community Inc. Field entry 14-10-01)

Bystander: Hey how was that social innovation webinar last week?

Community Inc: It was okay. A lot of great ideas but I wonder if any will actually get off the ground?

Bystander: Why wouldn’t they happen?

Community Inc: I think a lot of people talk about social innovation but really they are talking about program design. People think of innovative programs that will benefit those they serve but they don’t take a step outside of the box and engage their stakeholders in meaningful ways.

Bystander: But when people think of Policy change it ends up being all talk and no walk, no?

fishingCommunity Inc: Well there are people that can do both but it is very hard to be a “Leader in Action”. It’s hard to catch a fish if you don’t have a fishing pole.

Bystander: Why is that?

Community Inc: Well, I find that many groups, organizations, teams, and board still operate from an insular mentality of territoriality. They think they want to collaborate and perhaps they have some partners but it always seems forced by the funder and not driven by those whom the organization serves.

Bystander: Well that seems silly. Why can’t they develop their programs by asking those that they serve?

Community Inc: A-ha! Now we’re talking social innovation. I agree. Unless you are developing a stakeholder engagement philosophy from the grassroots level then really you are only pandering to the whim of your funder.


Bystander: Well how do I make that change in my organization?

Community Inc: Well I believe there are two ways. The first is that you take a Positive Risk and rethink your Board Governance model. The second is attend our workshop on November 20th in Kelowna or November 21st in Vancouver and learn about the Building Better Practice model that focuses on Community Governance.

Bystander: What is this model?

Community Inc: The model is comprised of four unique parts. I’ll tell you what: I will write my next four blogs on each of the four topics that I will be covering in the workshop on November 20th. But in the meantime they are:



LEAD through a Community Governance model


PLAN through a Non-Traditional Strategic Plan


ACT after you engage in Community Dialogue


EVALUATE with your constituents through Shared Leadership.


Bystander: What will this workshop do?

Community Inc: This workshop will give you the tools to take an innovative idea, develop meaningful partnership with your constituents and develop a Social Innovation using inclusive, welcoming, and outreach strategies. Then you will be ready to change your Leadership style.

Bystander: Cool, I want to sign up. How do I?

Community Inc: you can register here: or call me at 604-307-0454

3 DAYS LEFT – The Paradigm of Community

The Paradigm of Community – A Community Inc. mantra

 Every single one of us have been raised in a community. A community perhaps with: schools, shopping malls, or dirt roads? The paradigm of community is at the epicenter of many of our experiences. The community that cares, a community of support, or a community of neighbours?  When we wake up every day and step out of the places where we call home we step into community! We have an opinion of this community: It’s safe..or dangerous, full of people that care..or those that are rude, it’s clean…or dirty?

New York CIty - May 2014

Whichever point of view you take recognize it as your paradigm of community. If you are not happy with it, only you can unhitch yourself as a victim and exert your temperament of advocacy to impact change. Meadows (2008) believed that the paradigms you control give you the power of mastery, the tools to live in constant joy, and the impact that difference makes (p. 165). Last week I hosted a workshop on Community Governance with a small group of change agents, Presidents and long standing members of community boards. I helped to shift the paradigms in which they operate. I created the opportunity to partner, to share resources, and to build a stronger understanding of affiliative networks. Mahjabeen, Shrestha, and Dee (2009 ) stressed how important it is to create inclusive opportunities to create change with representatives from an entire community. I made a difference by bringing people together to learn, think aloud, and explore their model of governance. If you want to explore your paradigm and look at the model of your role in Community there is only one three days left to sign up. Visit and make a difference in your community.


Mahjabeen, Z., Shrestha, K., & Dee, J. A. (2009). Rethinking community participation in urban planning: The role of disadvantaged groups in Sydney Metropolitan Strategy. Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, 15(1), 45-63. Retrieved from

Meadows, D.H. (2008). Thinking in systems: A primer (Ed. Wright, D.). Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction: VT




What is Community Inc?

Community Inc. is a metaphor for the idea that people can build solidarity in a community. If we all become interested in the business of Community Inc. then we will work collaboratively to ensure we develop strong social leaders. Social leaders however, often fall into the trap of insularism. How do we get unstuck from our past practices and principled experiences? We may talk the talk of shared leadership, but do we really walk the walk?

The founders of the Community Inc. concept are John Thornburn, Reena Clarkson, and Alex Gaio. Together we have a vision that if we can help Board Members, community champions, and citizens who care develop a deeper connection with the power of shared leadership then together, we can all create stronger communities.

To facilitate this communication of our vision, we have developed a Leadership Conference. The conference is a series of four workshops developed by Building Better Practice. Each workshop is part of a cycle based on principles of community based participatory action research.

Be part of our workshop by registering today at  Registration is still only $200 for the full workshop!

Building Better Practice Model

Developed by John Thornburn, M.A.


















LEAD: Board leadership is required for disentangling the isolation of the not-for-profit sector. Uncover your board’s potential!

PLAN: Non-traditional strategic planning creates an alignment of efforts by engaging community stakeholders in actualizing your vision.

ACT: Facilitating engagement through Participatory techniques and methodologies creates new dialogue.

EVALUATE: Ongoing performance management tools help community partners manage their shared leadership.

Community Inc. workshops June 2014 – REGISTER NOW – CLICK HERE