innovating with Angelenos who aren’t all Educators

photo credit: Carla Mays
photo credit: Carla Mays

i love collaborating and design thinking. i thirst to be around creative energies of diverse peoples and appreciate learning from open minds and hearts. this is in part why i have remained in the field of education for as long as i have. and yet, there is often a lack of opportunity to do this within one’s own field with their peers and colleagues, let alone with great minds from other professional backgrounds…

this is why i spent the last two days at the Hub LA space. i was honored to be selected to participate in this 2 day design session (masterfully facilitated by the folks at Learn, Do, Share and freedomlab) bringing together creative minds around the problems of civic engagement, collaboration with local city government, and open data use. this initiative is inspiring to say the least. the Civic innovation Lab and the folks who are involved with it have BIG ideas and visions for how to make Los Angeles a more livable, resilient, connected, and sustainable city.

there are many people in LA that have the desire to do this. and we all bumble along, one way or another trying to build networks and coalitions once we find each other. what was refreshing about this space was… well… that there was a space at all… and that it was the genuinely committed to design thinking, ideation, diversity of voice, and of all things… SOCIAL JUSTICE! admittedly recalling the time in my life where the phrase social justice itself angered me to the point of wanting to erase it from my lexicon, fearing that only a small population of well meaning educators even attempted to understand the words in action… over the last two days i was pleased to be part of a dialogue with city controllers, big data folks, entrepreneurs, business strategists, activists, programers, map-makers, story tellers, citizens, and yes… even other educators. no matter how difficult the conversations around systemic problems of poverty, education, transportation, and housing were… all of these folks kept the positive vision central, and the praxis of “YES! AND…” close by.

some questions i still have going forward:

– how will people ensure that authentic outreach to marginalized communities is taking place?
– how can we combine the power of open data with the power of story?
– how can we empower citizens to take ownership of designing solutions and telling their own stories?

ultimately i believe those whose stories drive the problems our city faces, those stories should also drive the solutions. i am looking forward to seeing what innovative ideas are submitted to the request for solutions soon to come. i am inspired to have met so many folks from different sectors engage in true dialogue around the real issues of civic engagement and community empowerment to realize a better Los Angeles for all… and i only hope efforts like these can continue to build stronger networks and coalitions of creative problem solvers and maintain momentum. today i am proud to be an Angeleno always trying to make meaningful and lasting change for our city.


2 Replies to “innovating with Angelenos who aren’t all Educators”

  1. I really enjoyed working with you this weekend, it’s great to know we have such passionate people like yourself in this group. You definitely opened my eyes to different perspectives in the city that I shall keep as we move forward with this project.

    Stay in touch, I look forward to our next chat and collaboration!

  2. Timothy,

    It was a pleasure to meet and work with you as well. I am excited by these spaces, bringing diverse peoples together for a shared purpose. I was really interested in the story you began sharing about your father being a refuge of the Vietnam War. I think stories are the key to building a more connected and socially just city. I am glad you are part of this effort!

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