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Within the New Path to InclUsion Network we used the Theory-U developed by Otto Scharmer and the presencing institute (www.presencing.com) as a framework to guide our learning and activities. 

Prototyping in the New Paths to InclUsion project:

Each of the project partners developed prototypes as a culmination of the multiplication workshop with the intention of creating new practices within their organisation which lead them closer to their objective of building inclusive opportunities through person centred practice. To do this partners either worked alone, in teams or with other project partners who shared similar intentions.

 They used the creative process outlined below to think, discuss and plan the ideas which had begun to emerge in the workshop. The prototype was not a fully finished product but was formed enough to be able to try out from which they could learn and develop as necessary.

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Within the New Path to InclUsion Network we used the Theory-U developed by Otto Scharmer and the presencing institute (www.presencing.com) as a framework to guide our learning and activities. 

Prototyping in the New Paths to InclUsion project:

Each of the project partners developed prototypes as a culmination of the multiplication workshop with the intention of creating new practices within their organisation which lead them closer to their objective of building inclusive opportunities through person centred practice. To do this partners either worked alone, in teams or with other project partners who shared similar intentions.

 They used the creative process outlined below to think, discuss and plan the ideas which had begun to emerge in the workshop. The prototype was not a fully finished product but was formed enough to be able to try out from which they could learn and develop as necessary.

Overview:

Prototyping translates an idea or a concept into experimental action. Having established a connection to the source (presencing) and clarified a sense of the future that wants to emerge (crystallizing), prototyping allows an individual or group to explore the future by doing.

Purpose:

So far, we have presented tools and explained the principles that make them work. At this point, the process gets inverted. Use the following principles to determine what you need to do to stay connected to the future that stands in need of you to come into reality and translate this idea, concept, or sense of possibility into action.

Principles:

  1. Crystallize vision and intention: stay connected to the future that stands in need of you to come into reality (Martin Buber). Create a place of silence for yourself every day. Clarify core questions that you want to explore with your prototype.
  2. Form a core team: five people can change the world. Find a small group of fully committed people and cultivate your shared commitment.
  3. 0.8: Iterate, Iterate, Iterate: Fail fast to succeed sooner”, as David Kelley from IDEO says. Do something rough, rapid, and then iterate. Design a tight review structure that accelerates fast feedback.
  4. Platforms and spaces: create “landing strips” for the future that is wanting to emerge. The quality of the holding space determines the quality of the results.
  5. Listen to the universe: always be in dialogue with the Universe. It is a helpful place. Listen to what is emerging from others, from the collective, and from yourself. Take a few minutes each day to review your quality of listening.
  6. Integrate head, heart, and hand: when we prototype living examples by integrating different types of intelligence, we always navigate the process between two major dangers and pitfalls: mindless action and actionless minds.

Uses and Outcomes:

Prototypes are an early draft of what the final result might look like, which means that they often go through several iterations based on the feedback generated from stakeholders. This feedback is then the basis for refining the concept and its underlying assumptions. A prototype is a practical and tested mini version of what later could become a pilot project that can be shared and eventually scaled.

 

Example:

Sonia Holubkova [Slovakia] and Silvia Munoz [Spain] used prototyping to develop the idea for an inclusive community event in their home towns. Their intention was to create a fun day of activities where everyone in the town would be welcome and people would participate together in the planning, organisation and participation. The concept was one of co-support and sharing gifts and skills and being together as equals. In the development of the prototype they considered where they would find local people to support them with the event, where to hold it and how to ensure that everyone would be involved. The first Inclusive Community Event was realised shortly after in September 2015 in Zilina, Slovakia.

 

Set Up:

The tools you use for prototyping depend on the nature of your idea or insight, as well as the needs and context in which you’re operating. Prototyping is a “mini U” process and is specific to each idea and context. Some prototypes are concrete products; others are meetings, processes, services or experiments. Timing will depend on the context and differ depending on the project: a prototype can take a few days, weeks, months or years. You might find it helpful to use one or several of the tools from other parts of the U process (dialogue interviews, sensing journeys, case clinics, etc.) while prototyping.

You might also find the following exercise helpful to align your prototype with the principles outlined above. Worksheet 1 includes questions to help you determine the what (clarify intention) – this worksheet has been amended by John O`Brien.

 

Prototyping Worksheet 1

Brainstorming ideas and selecting the project: Here are seven questions to ask yourself as you brainstorm, select and evolve an idea for prototyping:

  1. Is it relevant? Does it matter to all the key stakeholders involved levels: individually (for the person involved), organizationally, and socially (for the communities involved? Very often, the relevance for each stakeholder is framed in a quite different language and ways.
  2. Is it right? Can you see the whole in the microcosm that you focus on? Get the dimensions of the problem or project definition right. In a prototype you put the spotlight on a few selected details. Select the right ones that address some of the root causes (rather than symptoms). For example, ignoring the patients’ perspective in a health project, the consumers in a sustainable food project or the students in a school project misses the point.
  3. Is it revolutionary? Is it new? Could it change the game? Does it change (some of) the root issues in the system?
  4. Is it rapid? Can you do it quickly? You must be able to develop experiments right away, in order to have enough time to get feedback and adapt (and thus avoid analysis paralysis)
  5. Is it rough? Can you do it on a small scale? Can you do it locally? Let the local context teach you how to get it right. Trust that the right helpers and collaborators will show up when you issue the right kinds of invitations “to the universe”.
  6. Is it relationally effective? Does it leverage the strengths, competencies and possibilities of the existing networks and communities at hand?
  7. Is it replicable - can you scale it? Any innovation hinges upon its replicability, whether or not it can grow to scale. In the context of prototyping, this criterion favors approaches that activate local participation and ownership and excludes those that depend on big infusions of external knowledge, capital, and ownership.