The Convo

“The Convo” was a morning spent facilitating a group of some of Toronto’s best & brightest design thinkers where we explored the idea of “What Next”.

My friend, Michael Lewkowitz, initiated the discussion a few weeks earlier with a post on his blog:


  1. The way of the world is borked.
  2. The web (among other things) is shifting the way we organize resources, ourselves and create new things (W)
  3. From that (in part) is emerging a new mode of organizing where the organization itself (not just the product) is peer produced (PP0).
  4. Design is the essential process of intentionally creating things (D)
  5. ‘Un-borking’ our world means creating our future through W+PPO+D.

The conversation I’d like to have:

  • is this premise (or something close to it) something that we really buy into?
  • if so, what does it mean to put it in practice ourselves?
  • how do we weave it into the practices of others?
  • what are we (each individually and collectively) doing about it?

So I ask, what do you think about the premise, the conversation, and do you want to participate in this conversation (or maybe you are already having it)?

Michael Lewkowitz aka @igniter

For the session I facilitated the group through a series of exercises, and conversations, to help organize our thoughts and draw out the trends/themes that we were seeing. We did a twist on the idea of affinity mapping where we first brainstormed ideas around a central question and posted them up on the wall then, rather than clustering all of the post-its on one wall, I had the participants take the post-its to one of four walls as they were clustered. I then had everyone move to the wall that help the post-its that most intrigued them and they set to work naming the cluster and discussion the idea it represented, mapping them out on a 2×2 grid.

All in all, I think it was an interesting exercise – it was difficult to plan for as it was situation where we had no expectations of where the conversation would take us. Everyone walked away with their own  unique insights and it’s a group that before that day had limited interaction with one another but in the years since many close friendships and working relationships have been formed amongst the participants. You can also see Michael also has a Convo summary on his blog.

I’ve embedded some photos from the session in a slideshow below: