A new program being piloted at Impact Hub Ottawa aims to ignite and incubate sustainable change through facilitated Peer Learning Circles. At its heart is the idea that by providing an open and safe space where people can connect across sectors to exchange ideas, and by guiding this process through facilitation practices, innovative solutions to the challenges facing our communities will be allowed to emerge.

Why? The need for “collaborative” solutions and to take “collective action” are widely talked about but we struggle to find examples and practices where collaboration has been truly successful. We believe that the problem may well lie in the conditions that are being set to such processes: the need to deliver action and solutions without allowing time to build strong and meaningful connections. Through the Peer Learning Circles we aim to allow individuals to build deeper connections first and we believe that this will lead to more sustainable partnerships.

How? We are piloting a 5-step process to help us get there over the course of the next months:

    1. Act Authentically: Often when coming into environments to collaborate we come first with our work self rather than our authentic self. We are encouraging participants to feel vulnerable to act authentically. To come to the circles without answers and replace knowing with curiosity.
    2. Exchange Wants: In order to connect in a more meaningful way we are aiming to connect around our deeper why. Sharing in the realm of possibility – what is the world we are committed to seeing?
    3. Name Resistance: We will then name the barriers that get in the way of achieving the worlds we are committed to in order to rebuild again.  
    4. Collaborate Together: Next, opportunities that emerge to collaborate and take action together will be explored.
    5. Give Support: Ideas and collaborative action that develops through the circles will then be supported through the circle, as well as through the Impact Hub Ottawa community.

Who? We are piloting the program with two circles on the following topic areas: Food & Environment, and Well-being, Inclusion & Equity. Whether you are working in the field or you have a personal interest in these topic, all are welcome.

What’s next? – If you’re interested in learning more, join us for our next meeting!

July 12th 8:30-9:30am for Food and Environment (read more here).

July 26th 8:30-9:30am for Well-being, Inclusion, and Equity (read more here).

Katie Miller